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73 responses to “Sassafras and Homemade Root Beer”

  1. Tony Figorski

    Silly question…when list ounces, I assume that is weight, not volume…

  2. Michael Rogers

    I have made this numerous times now and it always comes out great. Don’t rush the steeping time ( between 4 & 5). That and the winter green extract is what brings it home!

  3. Dedra

    I cannot wait to try this with my little kids. They love the woods and this will be a great treat for them to forage and make something they love. Thanks for the recipe! Look forward to more foraging recipes.

  4. Deb

    If you are up this way in MA to get Sassafras you should grab some wintergreen leaves and berries at the same time.. I personally like them better than spearmint and peppermint. We have tons growing around our many Sassafras trees and saplings.

  5. Jack

    You can also make tea out of black-birch, but im not exactly sure how to make it :]

  6. Mike

    Another recipe I saw substituted vanilla extract or half a vanilla bean for the wintergreen. Anyone tried it?

  7. Louis


    I’ve been hunting for sassafras root – being in Alberta, Canada it doesn’t exactly grow in my back yard. What area do you reside in? Know any place which would be willing to ship some my way?

  8. JessieB

    Thanks for this article. I’ve been perfecting my own root beer– fermenting and making the soda– but since each batch is so radically different & since I’m not using stabilizers, when a batch ferments the flavors continue to change, I’ve wondered about trying syrups. I would point folks to Mountain Rose Herbs for a good source of sassafras root. I hate yanking up a seedling so I use the already dried, organic root. I didn’t think about gathering twigs though from the trees, which won’t kill the seedling. Thanks again.

  9. PAULA

    I have so many saplings that I just go yanking them out of my flower gardens. We have 3 large trees. As bad as acorn saplings! Oy Vey.
    I never thought to make tea.
    Milford, CT.

  10. Joe Keough

    Love the tea. Hot or cold.

  11. Mark Preston
  12. Monica Wilson

    I’m using dried sassafras and burdock. Should I use less to account for water loss?

  13. Valerie Anderson

    Thanks for the recipe! I had some amazing small-batch root beer recently that is only available on site at a local pub and I’m dying to recreate the experience at home.

  14. angie cali

    I am trying out a recipe for root beer kefir. I bought Sassafrass bark and sarsaparilla bark at my local health food store. Both barks were quite expensive and I was wondering if I can rebrew the bark? I spread the barks out thin and allowed to dry completely – considering placing in the dehydrator to ensure dryness. I know typically I can rebrew with traditional teas but was uncertain about this.

  15. carmen

    I thought root beer is made with sarsaparilla roots, I looked online and the sarsaparilla plant looks different from sassafrass. what’s the difference between the 2?

  16. Kelly

    Thanks for your post! I often make root beer, very close to your tea, but I use a ginger bug to carbonate the beverage. You can find directions for making a ginger bug online at cultures for health or many other websites.

  17. Janet Mooneyham

    Thanks for sharing you recipe, I can’t wait to try it, I live on a farm and have alot of sassafrass trees.

  18. Scott

    We Cajuns in the bayou country of south Louisiana have been making file for gumbo and
    sauces for generations This is what my grandmother taught me: pick sassafras leaves in the month of August and hang them in a sack in the smokehouse or other out building to cure and dry. In the winter my grandmother would remove and discard the leaf stems, place the leaf pieces in a dish towel and crush them with a hammer until they were powdered. Each generation carries on the age old tradition except now we have food processors to crush the leaves.

  19. Hayley

    What kind of flavor does the star anise give to the root beer??

  20. Kaiji

    I have an abundance of sassafras saplings around, so I want to make some root beer for myself and the kids ( So it must be alcohol free) So I plan to follow my own variation of the recipes I have looked through, and have decided on my own twist of flavor including almond oil, sassafras root bark, clove, anise, burdock root, coriander seed, and a mixture of evaporated cane juice with molasses. I will use that to make a nice root beer syrup, which I can then add with sparkling water to give root beer soda pop. :)

    I hope it goes well :) I plan to put it to action in a few weeks, I will have to post the taste results from me, my niece, and nephew. See ya then.

  21. Jeremy

    Star anise is black licorice flavor.

  22. andrew

    I tried this recipe using dried sarsaparilla in place of a sassafras.
    I subbed a bit of dried wintergreen leaves for the extract too.

    It turned out really well. The decoction itself was so intense and amazing!

    The only problem was that after simmering the decoction for 15 min, I lost a lot of water and so the 6 cups of sugar ended up being almost twice as much (if we are matching to volume). I made one at full 6 cups of sugar and it was too sweet, and ended up seizing when mixed with ice and soda (not mixing well!). I recommend matching the sugar after you simmer.

    On tasting notes, I might add a bit more spice to it via a piquant cinnamon or with ginger etc. I also might reduce the molasses a tiny bit, unless you subbed a spicy smoky heat to balance out the burnt taste.

    I also tried to reuse the boiled spices just adding a new amount of molasses and it was horrible. Definitely can’t reuse the mash!

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