Root Beer Recipe From Scratch || Glen & Friends Cooking


welcome friends since we started making
pop a lot of people have been asking for a root beer and I’m about eight
variations in at this point and I think I’ve got something that works pretty
well so I’m gonna show that one to you today in this pot I put 1 liter of water
and some ginger that I have chopped up fairly fine
now you could grate the ginger if you wanted to just to extract it a little
bit more flavor and I’m going to put in one cinnamon stick and yes I know this
isn’t true cinnamon this is cassia if you can get true
cinnamon use it but I think the cassia actually brings the punch to this that
we’re looking for so I put this in a pot and I’m going to bring this up to a boil
and I’m gonna boil it for two to three minutes to extract as much flavor as I
can from those two ingredients now we’re gonna talk about the roots since this is
root beer now this is sassafras and sassafras is the major main flavor
component in root beer and I saw a lot of root beer recipes out there on the
internet and in books where this was the only ingredient beyond sugar and water
relied extremely heavily on this one flavor and I thought it made a pretty
good tasting beverage but I wanted a little bit more complexity so I started
looking at other recipes that added other roots and the next most popular
route is sarsaparilla and if you watched a lot of old westerns you would know
that the cowboy would go in and he would ask for a sarsaparilla and that is a
variation on root beer that is only made with the sarsaparilla root and I like
the flavor of both of these next flavor component thing going to use is licorice
root you know what licorice tastes like that sort of anise seed dark sweet
flavor and then I’m gonna put in some wild cherry bark now other components
that I saw in a lot of recipes and I tried and I didn’t like was birch bark a
lot of people put in burdock root or dandelion root or all three of those and
I thought they brought kind of a an extra bitterness that I didn’t want
in my root beer so that’s the combination of roots that I landed on
and I would suggest that if you’re going to make root beer go out and look at all
of the recipes and take each of the individual roots and make a cup of hot
tea with it put in a little bit of sugar and taste
it just so you can get an idea of what that individual root tastes like and
what it’s going to bring to the eventual end product I think that’s very
important to sort of understand what all of the components are and I’m also
giving you this by weight I came across a lot of recipes that said to use a
tablespoon of this and a tablespoon of that and that’s great but not all of
these roots are ground to the same way or chopped the same way and so you would
get a big variation in the amount of flavor that you’re going to get in the
end result which isn’t good either weight is always going to give you the
same amount of flavor so this has come to a boil it’s boiled for a couple of
minutes I’m going to turn it off I’m going to take it off of the heat and I’m
going to add these in I’m gonna give it a stir and then put the lid back on and
I’m gonna let that steep for 15 to 20 minutes just to extract the flavors now
this is where I diverge from a lot of the recipes that I found I tried it by
putting all of the roots in and boiling it like I was told for 10 15 20 minutes
and then letting it steep for 2 or 3 hours and I found that it extracted an
astringent see almost a bitterness well a lot of tannins that caused an
unpleasant feeling in my mouth that I just didn’t like a flavor that I didn’t
like it wasn’t bright and it wasn’t cheerful like a root beer should be and
I found that if I never boiled the roots if I boil the water and then add the
roots and only let it steep for 15 to 20 minutes you’re going to get really nice
bright flavors without sort of the tannic astringency so we’re gonna let
this go 15 20 minutes and then we’re going to strain it out okay smells amazing now we need to
filter out the solids and this is a very important step if the solids stay in too
long they will continue to release their astringency and over time it’ll start to
taste really dull so we need to strain them out and we’re gonna use a fine mesh
strainer to get the big bits out look at that color great now that we’ve got the big bits
out we’re going to strain it through a coffee filter now I have used paper
coffee filters I’ve used double thickness paper coffee filters I’ve used
double thickness paper cup four filters with this micro mesh filter and I found
that the micro mesh filter on its own gets just as much as the paper filters
or any combination thereof so we’re going to pass it through the coffee
filter great now I’m gonna put a lid on this and I’m going to chill this as
quickly as possible in a cold water bath I’m going to bring the temperature down
fast and that’s going to help whatever is left in here to precipitate out
it’s almost as effective as a filter and in some ways it’s our second or third
method of filtration and as soon as that’s done we’ll move on okay now that it’s chilled down we need
to sweeten it and we’re going to use two different types of sugar but first we’re
going to very carefully pour the chilled liquid into this pot and you don’t want
to swirl it you want to pour very carefully because at the bottom there’s
going to be quite a bit of sediment left and we don’t want to transfer that to
the pot okay what’s left in there is sediment
and that will just make the drink bitter we don’t want that now next in is the
sugar we’re using two kinds of sugar and I found that sugar for pop making seems
to be very vexing to a lot of people the first thing I’m going to put in is brown
sugar and we’ve got this on a medium-high heat
and we just want to bring this up to a low simmer so that we can dissolve the
sugar into the liquid we don’t wanna bring it to a boil again
because that could introduce bitterness just a low low simmer and I’m using
brown sugar a lot of the recipes that I found use brown sugar or molasses or a
combination of brown and white sugar or just white sugar or white sugar and
molasses it was all over the map and I think it comes down to the flavor
profile that you’re looking for I’m looking for that little bit of caramel
flavor that comes from the brown sugar so I’m using all brown sugar as the
sweetener if you want to use another sweetener a non sugar sweetener like
stevia I’m sure that’ll work I don’t know what the proportion would be this
is something that you can play with and make it as sweet or not sweet as you
want but know this if you’re going to do this as a naturally carbonated root beer
which is part of the process that we’re going to move on to stevia won’t work
the yeast needs sugar so as this comes up the temperature I’m
gonna put in lactose and obviously if you’re lactose intolerant you’re not
going to put lactose in I’m gonna put lactose in for a bunch of different
reasons I use it in actual beer brewing down in the brewery and as much as it’s
a sweetener it’s not gonna bring a whole lot of sweetness to this drink
and so the lactose is going to do a few things for us the first thing it’s going
to do is it’s going to give that nice white creamy frothy foamy head that we
all associate with root beer as it spills over the top of the glass in all
of the advertising the second thing it’s going to do it’s going to create a nice
unctuous mouthfeel a really luxurious kind of stays in your mouth mouthfeel
that we all associate with root beer and as much as I said that it’s not going to
add a lot of sweetness if you end up doing a natural ferment or naturally
carbonated version with the with the yeast yeast don’t eat or the East that
we’re using anyway these that we’re using won’t eat the lactose or milk
sugar which will in the end help to preserve some of the sweetness okay I
think everything is dissolved and we can pour this into this glass container and I’m just going to let this cool before
we move on to the next step now there’s one last ingredient and that is vanilla
extract now we’re gonna put in about a tablespoon
I found that anywhere between a tablespoon and a tablespoon and a half
gets you where you want to be and a lot of people are gonna ask if you could use
vanilla bean and I’ve tried it with vanilla beans I’ve tried it with double
vanilla beans I found that by the time i steeped the vanilla bean to get the
flavor I wanted I pulled out too much astringency from the roots and so the
best way to get that vanilla flavor is with the extract that I found and you
give it a try if you want to try it at home please do so that’s all mixed
together now we’re gonna diverge this is your root beer syrup and you mix one
part of this with three parts of carbonated water and you get a root beer
pop just like you would at the corner store I’m also going to do a version
where we ferment it with our ginger bug our wild ginger bug so in here I’m gonna
put about five hundred mils just like that and the rest is going to go into
this jug okay now for the naturally fermented or
naturally carbonated ginger beer I’m going to use about a third of a cup of
my ginger bug and my ginger bug is is pretty active it’s in good shape and I
think that should be enough to get us where we’re going so I’m gonna put that
in and I know from previous test that this yeast is only going to give me
somewhere between one and a half and two percent alcohol by volume when it what
it ferments out I’m just gonna putting a little bit more I think a little bit of
the yeast settled in the bottom and so I want to put some more in okay stir that
in now I’ve got flip-top beer bottles these are really strong actual beer
bottles that will take the pressure there cleaned and sanitized yes of
course I’ve sanitized my bottles and we just stir in the ginger bug to make sure
that it’s evenly distributed and then we just pour it into the bottles now when
you pour it in you want to leave enough headspace for the expansion of gas while
these ferment so I just bring it up just a little bit past the shoulder and that
should be fine close it up and move along okay so last one seal it up I’ll
leave these on the counter for two maybe three days to allow them to ferment and
carbonate and then I’ll stick them in the fridge and I’ll see you in a few
days and we’re gonna do a tasting of both versions okay so there is carbonation so this is
root beer two ways this is the syrup that I’ve mixed with carbonated water
and this is the one that we put the ginger bug in is it carbonated mmm not
so carbonated light carbonation so I should have left it on the counter
longer oh but when you give it a moment yeah
it is it is carbonated so that was three days on the counter before I put it in
the fridge maybe four days would have been better no so let’s taste it
color is different yes okay so I’ll try this one first I’ll try this one first it’s a very pleasant flavor I think that one’s more rootbeer II
completely different our thing that we drive missing root beer I would say that
one this one always a very pleasant flavor it’s just super I think the so it
seemed to me the fermentation with the ginger bug okay has taken some of the
chop flavors off the ones that use that are there that initial oh this is root
beer that I’m drinking oh that’s that’s a lovely root beer that’s full-on root
beer isn’t it this is this is something that you would but that’s quite their
book it’s very refreshing and pleasant I mean some more bubbles would be nice
they’re both great in their own way so dare two more on the counter in order to
ferment that to bring up the level go ahead I was gonna say we did a bunch of
did we do multiple different days in this no I just put it over for three
days and said three days should be okay so probably so I’m gonna I’m gonna pull
the rest of the bottles out of the fridge heat them up again and just let
them come to room temperature go for a couple more days and then put them back
in the fridge which is something you can do to test your fermentation as you go
along anyway so this is a very basic root beer recipe and there’s so much
more that you can add to it as you as you look at the labels of other root
beers there’s so many other things that people put in it other than just the
roots so there’s aniseed or I mean like they’ll put in a whole bunch of other
things and we put licorice root in here so the anise seed would bring that
licorice flavor up yes it would sort of enhanced that but I think that is sort
of the classic root beer flavor that most people mm-hmm now we need to test
it against other root beers so I’ve got a half-dozen other root beers and we’re
gonna do we’re gonna do a taste-off between all of them so come on back and
and see that video and give this recipe try thanks for stopping by
again soon you

  1. Glen & Friends Cooking

    Thanks for watching. If you liked it – subscribe, give us a thumbs up, comment, and check out our channel for more great recipes. Please click that share button and share with your friends on Reddit, Twitter, and Facebook.
    ^^^^Full recipe in the info section below the video.^^^^

  2. Tobias Költzsch

    Hey Glen, thanks for the great videos. In Europe, getting sassafras for food purposes is not easy. Do you think it'll be possible to take anise instead? And, if I don't want to use lactose, do I have to substitute it with more sugar?

  3. Barry Lab

    But putting the bottles back out from fridge, is the yeast still alive? Is that gonna be as effective? Great video btw, you know your food science very well. Thx again!

  4. Bob England

    used to be able to buy american A&W root beer from the USAF base here in England , cant get it anymore so im looking for a recipe that can get close to that, thanks.

  5. P West

    Coincidentally, have been pondering making root beer, as my dad used to do. I like your recipe, I will save it and try. Thanks for your efforts.

  6. FrippTricky

    Just made this tonight. Switched the ratios of sassafras and sarsaparilla, traded licorice for star anise, and then added about 5g-10g each of dried orange rind and coriander, and a couple kaffir lime leaves. Excellent recipe!

  7. Robert Pryor

    Sassafrascontains safrole, a volatile oil, which showed anticancer effects in lab and animal studies, but it is also a carcinogen (!?), They're beautiful trees.
    Great topic, root beer flavor should be in more foods!

  8. ce_eff

    I tried my hands on this recipe and made Ginger bug and root beer syrup (I deviated there a bit by using only sarsaparilla since I could not get sassafras easily, and I used star anise instead of licorice). After three days of bottle fermentation, the bottles pop when opening but there is very little carbonation, and the liquid is very thick, almost like egg white half and half with water. This is weird; the syrup is diluted 3:1 and definitely not as thick before fermentation. The taste is kind of sweet and not very root beery but there is definitely yeast inside, it's even visible.

    I was expecting a fizzy soda, not a thick sauce… Maybe the YouTube comment section is not the right place to ask for help, but does anyone know what happened here (what I did wrong?). I have made tepache before and never had this problem there.

  9. Nelo Angelo

    Really interesting and inspiring, I'd like to do it, but in my country those ingredients are hellishly expensive 🙁
    Nice video

  10. th3m4dj4ck

    Out of curiosity, what's an estimate of the temperature where you left the root beer to ferment? I expect a warmer or cooler kitchen is important when considering whether or not to ferment the extra day

  11. iedreams

    Hey heads up about that sassafras root you added. It contains Safrole which has been known and banned by the FDA since 1960 for causing Hepatocellular carcinoma.

  12. vigo pepper popper

    Against all odds:
    I haven't had any type of "soda" in decades.
    I normally look for quick and easy recipes.
    I usually seek ways to use things that I grow.
    I want to try this recipe more than any one that I can remember.

  13. Sami Lahtinen

    Just a warning, if you have a hot liquid in a glass jar do not try to cool that jar in cold water, as the glass will shatter. I got a raelly deep cut on my finger this way once needing 4 stitches. If you need to do this, please use plastic containers.

  14. Eric Williams

    You have to be Canadian!! Absolutely nothing wrong with that. It's just how you pronounce certain words, and your "accent" with how you say those words. Like "about"…or you are just further up North from me.
    Anyway, thank you for sharing your recipe for root beer!! Love home made root beer!!

  15. Macnutz420

    I am somehow pleased to learn that there is root beer containing alcohol. I had always wondered about the name. In earlier days, that would be referred to as "small beer", a reference to low alcohol kitchen beer commonly made by farmer wives, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries. the "small" refers to alcohol content, not portion sizes. 🙂

  16. fugithegreat

    My grandma carbonated root beer with dry ice. It didn't actually make it very bubbly, but the cloud it made was super fun and it was good and cold.

  17. Oddwin

    I really dig this. Whats the shelf life for both versions? Do you store the Syrup in the fridge? Thinking about doing this as a yearly family gift.

  18. Dark Phoenix

    both versiond look great, but seems like a lot of work. I guess that's part of the fun, more of an authentic taste of root beer.

  19. I'm Only A Man And I Will Die Some Day

    "A pleasant flavor, but it's not rootbeer" "Very refreshing and pleasant"

    Financial opportunity detected.

  20. Sir Doctor

    When you're testing and refining a recipe like this one, do you always make full batches with the same quantities of ingredients as shown in your final video?

  21. Scott Stalcup

    Thank you for explaining the base syrup. Big fan of maple syrup root beer and it's becoming the proverbial hen's teeth on store shelves. This gives me room to boogie.

  22. Eric Laursen

    Killer videos. For Sure. Thanks for making such articulate && personable videos!
    You deserve a metal for either (a) editing out a severe amount of belching or (b) NOT burping after tasting.

    I Made the root beer per your video a few times && I'm currently satisfied with ….:

    Recipe Mods
    – Cut the recipe in half (for trial && error testing): ingredients && water both 1/2
    – Steep for ~10 minutes -> Any longer and the astringency became unbearable. Maybe this is due to the change in ingredients?!
    – I use Goat Lactose instead of cow lactose (I'm "lactose intolerant" but wanted to see what the deal was with that in the recipe!)
    – use a Sodastream ( The video does note that perhaps not enough bubbles will be introduced, but this seems to be ok for me for now -> I don't have a full carbonating setup )
    – mix about 1/4 syrup to 3/4 bubbly water ( I think thats the ratio recommended )

    Results ->
    – the foam goes CRAZY && grows for a full minute. Not NEARLY as subtle as the video
    – Tasty!!! Very nice!!
    – I'm going to add some molasses (couple tablespoons at first) && remake && update this comment if I can 🙂

  23. TR Cross

    Love this video and the whole soda pop series! Has anyone tried this recipe using brewers yeast rather than ginger bug? Wondering how much to use.

  24. bjfbnbnsu

    For your sarsaparilla did you use the indian or mexican root? I see on herbco there are 2 types and wasnt sure if it would make a big difference or not. Awesome vid!

  25. artistpw

    Someone on a kombucha group on fb, about making Dr. Pepper in a batch of k. I found that on pinterest and there was post about adding 4 prunes and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract. Wild cherry bark has amydgalin that turns in cyanide in our systems. It is much better to just steep tea, too.

  26. bartofilms

    A root beer float is one of my favourite deserts. Got a funny thought: Red Green trying make one of these recipes in his shop.

  27. Waylon Square

    Have you ever been watching tv then look back at your phone and scroll threw like your going to find comments about what was on.

  28. Hydden N. Plainsyght

    My question is; when you said 'taking off the top flavors,' I am wondering if the flavor is more similar to say, cream soda?

  29. Dreadful Viking

    I remember in 7th grade science, my teacher took us out behind the school to find a root (I think it was burdock), and it tasted pretty close to rootbeer already. I remember her saying they took it (or maybe one of the other roots) out, because it was thought to have caused cancer, and that's why the artificial flavors are used… as if that's any better.

  30. Sir Doctor

    I made a batch of this exactly as laid out by the recipe and it is one delicious root beer!

    I also made a second batch that was sugar free, using a monk fruit/erythritol blend that's 1:1 with sugar in terms of baking and such. The color was a bit lighter and just slightly different tasting, but still very good as well. One thing I noticed though is that the monk fruit somewhat came out of solution after a few days in the fridge and recrystallized on the bottom of the jar. I'm also not sure how long the sugar free version will keep compared to the brown sugar version.

    Overall though, both versions were great. Thanks for sharing another great recipe.

  31. Yves-Andre Schaeffer

    So I’ve just bought the various roots etc to try this out.
    I’ve always been intrigued by root beer. It’s not really a thing in the UK. I’m especially intrigued by the sarsaparilla of silver cowboy fame.

    One, perhaps silly, question I do have is regarding the ginger bug to produce natural carbonation, that I can’t find an answer to. Does it make the drink actually taste of ginger? I ask as I simply can’t stand the taste of ginger in anything.
    If it does taste of ginger, I see that turmeric bug is a thing too. Any experience of using that as an alternative?

    Keep on making these lovely informative videos.

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