Have you ever wondered how to make root beer? Root beer is one of those iconic American beverages. Historically it was made by combining bark from the sassafras root with wintergreen, vanilla and other spices and seasonings. On today’s episode I’m going to share the history of some of America’s largest root beer brands. We will also learn what has changed over time with the recipe.

First Some Announcements

Toasty Kettle started around a simple idea, helping people connect with the past through vintage recipes. A couple of years ago, I was sitting in a Taco Bell during my lunch break at work. I was talking with my sister about blogs and how I wanted to start one, but lacked a good idea. She mentioned diving into vintage cookbooks and bringing old recipes to life. I fell in love with the idea and I have had a lot of fun reading these cookbooks and getting a snapshot on life and nutrition throughout history. I have felt closer to my grandparents and ancestors as I have learned more about what they might have eaten back in their day.

When I started doing this podcast, I had a moment in the kitchen on each episode where I would highlight a vintage or family recipe. Life got busy with a new job and sadly I got away from that. In the next few episodes I will be bringing back the kitchen segment to the podcast and I’m happy to announce more vintage recipes are on the way! I’m also going to be sharing some of the food memories that I have been receiving in a new food memory segment. Again, I want to hear how you connect with your past through food. If you have a food memory of a restaurant experience, a recipe mom cooked or anything else, please send them my way. You can send them to toastykettle@gmail.com.  Finally, I am going to move my weekly podcast date from Wednesday of each week to Thursday of each week. That will ensure I have enough time in the week to bring you all of this great content and more.

How to Make Root Beer: A Simple Recipe

Sassafras used to be a critical component in root beer. In 1960, the FDA banned sassafras in commercial products. It has been shown to cause liver damage and cancer. Even without sassafras, there are many other ingredients that have filled the hole and kept root beer tasting perfect. Here is a simple and fun recipe that kids will love. I particularly love doing this at Halloween time. There is something about the dry ice effect that makes the root beer seem haunted.


  • 2 quarts cold water
  •  1 – 1.5 cups granulated sugar
  •  1.5 tablespoons root beer extract
  •  1 pound food-grade dry ice, broken into pieces

Mix the water, sugar, and extract together until the sugar dissolves. Taste and adjust sweetness and extract to your taste. Add dry ice and enjoy. If you don’t want to deal with the dry ice, you can use cold carbonated water instead of cold water. If you do use the dry ice, make sure you don’t touch it directly. Always use tongs or insulated gloves. Otherwise, you can get a burn.

Make sure you keep listening to the episode for more awesome root beer facts. Today’s show covers the history of the following brands:

  • Hires
  • Barq’s
  • Dad’s
  • Mug
  • A&W

If You Liked Learning About The History of Root Beer, Subscribe To The Toasty Kettle Podcast Using These Links

If you use another pod catcher and you don’t see it here, let me know and I’ll try to get the show added wherever you like to listen to podcasts. Leave a note in the comments or send a message to toastykettle@gmail.com.

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How to Make Root Beer

How to Make Root Beer: The History of an Iconic Beverage
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