And so we have arrived at Root Beer in my series of probiotic sodas.
As I have mentioned before, I’m not the biggest fan of Root Beer - being European and all ... and that cough syrup thing!
However, I have found out that I just don’t like store bought Root Beer. The home made kind is a whole different ball game!
It’s real. It has depth and body. It has character! The flavors are round and compliment each other - not like cough syrup at all! Even to me!
So, much like the Cola, we will make the root beer syrup first and then we will add the syrup to the second ferment of the water kefir.
And this one does actually get to be as dark a color as the original version. But even so, it does not contain any gluten, as we are not using caramel color!
My starting point was a fabulous recipe by Hank Shaw and I adapted it to suit water kefir fermentation, and our taste buds!
Root Beer SyrupIngredients:
- 6 cups water
- 3 ounces dried sassafras roots
- 1/2 ounce dried burdock root
- 2 tsp of orange zest (optional)
- 1 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
- 1 whole star anise
- 2 inches of a vanilla bean
- 3 Allspice berries (whole)
- 1 whole clove
- 1/4 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
- 2 drops wintergreen extract (do NOT replace with mint - it’s a different flavor altogether!)
- 5 cups organic evaporated cane sugar
Put the sassafras and burdock roots, vanilla bean, coriander seeds, star anise, orange zest and clove in a heavy-bottomed 2 quart saucepan. Add the water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low, place a lid on your saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Add the molasses, stir, and return to a simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, add the wintergreen extract, replace the lid and let the mixture cool to room temperature and sit for about 5 hours or overnight.
Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth, place over a bowl or pot and pour the steeped infusion into it to strain. Do not press on the contents, but let the roots rest in the strainer for about 30 minutes so everything can drip out.
Return the sassafras infusion to a pot and add the sugar to the pot. Bring the mixture to a boil one more time, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Pour the hot syrup into mason jars, put on lids and let it cool to room temperature.
Refrigerate the syrup.
It will keep for a year in the refrigerator.
Second Ferment - Combining the water kefir and the syrup
4 cups of water kefir (finished the first ferment, grains strained out)
1/4 cup of root beer syrup (you can adjust the amount of syrup to your liking)
Mix the above ingredients, decant into flip top bottles and leave them on your kitchen counter at room temperature for 24 - 48 hrs. If you have a warm kitchen and the carbonation is really building up, 18-24 hrs. may be enough.
Refrigerate you bottles.
You can also use this syrup with carbonated water to make root beer, or if you have a really fizzy first ferment of the water kefir, forgo the second fermentation and drink it as is!
Personally, I like to get the second ferment in, as it does seem to add to rounding out all the flavors!Pin It