Back in the day I was somewhat of a Sarsaparilla and Root Beer junkie. I wasn't grabbing a Mug or A&W root beer. No, no. I was going super gourmet and finding small batch brews with unique flavors.
I used to have access to fresh brewed Sarsparilla and it sort of spoiled me. Seriously. Nothing like it.
Aside from my love of root beer and the like, I was not a big soda drinker. So it wasn't *that* hard to give it up once I made the switch to a real food/unprocessed lifestyle. But every so often, I would get a deep yearning for some old fashioned Sarsaparilla or Root Beer.
I have been making fermented beverages for a few years now but had not mastered the art of making probiotic rich root beer. I tried again recently but wasn't very impressed with the results. But then, a little light bulb came on.
Why not make Root Beer Kombucha or Sarsaparilla Kombucha?
So I did.
And the sun shown down so brightly that day because the universe knew that I had just created a life changing kombucha.
I suppose I could have looked up some recipe ideas online but being impatient for the glorious taste of Sarsaparilla, I tried the path of least resistance and came up with a winner!
Now – part of the reason why this tasted so amazing is that my base Kombucha is made from an incredible tea blend. I am not sure how great this would taste if your tea blend produces a strongly flavored kombucha. My kombucha is pretty mild, easy to drink plain, and agreeable to a wide variety of second ferment flavor combinations. It soaks up the flavors added to it very well! (If you want to try the tea blend I use, head over to my affiliate partner Kombucha Kamp and pick up a bag of Hannah's Tea Blend. I promise you will not regret it!)
Ok – back to the Sarsaparilla. You ready for the simplest recipe on earth? Here you go!
- Approximately 16 ounces of plain Kombucha
- ½ cup of hot (or boiling) water
- 2 tablespoons Indian sarsaparilla root (Amazon affiliate link)
- Heat ½ cup of water
- Add the sarsaparilla root to the water and let it steep for 30 minutes
- Strain the root out of the water
- Allow the sarsaparilla water to cool to room temperature
- Pour the sarsaparilla root water into your second fermenting vessel (I like to use these flip top bottles)
- Add up to 16 ounces of Kombucha.
- Put in a dark spot and allow to ferment another day or two. This simply increases the carbonation. You can also put it in the fridge and let it sit for a few days as well. I find it taste great either way.
- You can adapt this recipe to fit whatever size bottles you do your second ferments in. The end product will be light in color. It won’t look like Sarsaparilla but it will sure have a wonderful taste!
So that's the easy recipe! Ready for the more complicated one?
- 1/4 cup sarsaparilla root
- 1/4 teaspoon wintergreen leaf (DO NOT leave this out! It is the most important ingredient!)
- 1/2 cup unrefined organic cane sugar (I used a turbinado sugar like this one)
- 1 tablespoon molasses this is the one I use)
- 1 teaspoons of natural vanilla extract
- 6 cups filtered water
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- Put the sarsaparilla root and wintergreen leaf in a medium pot.
- Add the filtered water and turn on high heat.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
- Strain through a fine mesh strainer to remove herbs.
- While warm, add the sugar, molasses, vanilla, and lime juice and stir until dissolved.
- This will create enough root beer infusion to use in a LOT of second ferments. Store the leftovers in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.
- Add ½ cup of the root beer infusion to every 12-16 ounces of kombucha.
- You can leave the second ferment out for a few days until it gets the carbonation you like. Alternatively, you can put it in the fridge and drink it after a few days.
- I like to add a few raisins and a wee slice of ginger to the bottle I am putting the Root Beer Kombucha in. It seems to add something to it. But it tastes great without it as well!
- This method will create a much darker tinted Kombucha – more akin to the color of root beer!
Give one or both of these recipes a try and let me know what you think!