While we don’t encourage drinking soda with every meal, it’s so much fun to drink on special occasions! Homemade root beer using extracts is one of our favorite drinks, especially when we make a big pot for Halloween (adding dry ice is so much fun), or make a big pitcher for grilling. It’s so easy, uses only 5 ingredients, and you can even get the kids involved! Once you learn how to do it, you won’t believe you’ve never done it at home. Making homemade root beer is such a fun kitchen activity you never knew you needed!
What is the root used to make root beer?
Did you know that root beer is actually traditionally made from roots? Root beer used to be made from plants like sassafras root or sarsaparilla. Today, root beer extracts are made from a blend of vanilla, licorice, and other flavors.
We use plain white sugar for this homemade root beer recipe. That said, if you have a sugar substitute you like, feel free to use it! If you’re not sure which one will work best, here are some ideas:
- Palm sugar
If you’ve never made root beer before, chances are you’ve never heard of root beer extract. You can usually find it near other extracts in the baking section of your grocery store. If not, check it out online! One thing to keep in mind is not to confuse root beer extract with root beer concentrate. We prefer to use the extract, but you can always use the concentrate if you have it on hand. If using a concentrate, be sure to reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.
Is dry ice safe to eat?
Dry ice is colder than standard ice, which is why it steams and “smoke” when taken out of the freezer. Fear not, it’s just the cold of the ice reacting to the warm outside air! It’s perfectly safe to add dry ice to your homemade root beer recipe. That said, you should never consume it yourself, or even touch it with your bare hands! Before you put the ice in the soda, you’ll want to hold the ice cubes with tongs so you don’t burn yourself.
Alternatives to dry ice:
If you don’t like the idea of adding dry ice to your root beer recipe, or if you can’t find any dry ice, you can substitute club soda for the dry ice and regular water. To do this, put 4 cups of soda in a drink machine along with sugar. Stir to remove any sugar granules, then add remaining 12 cups soda. You don’t want to add all the liquid at once, as the stirring step will remove most of the desired carbonation!
If you’re making this drink for Halloween or a costume party, we love the idea of serving it in a cauldron-shaped drink dispenser! When you add dry ice it looks like a smoky witch’s brew – so much fun! You can also serve it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream for a root beer!