What Is Root Beer Made Of?

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By: Tom Valenti


Root beer is one of those classic drinks that brings a smile to many faces, but do you know what root beer is actually made of? 

Join us as we dive into the history, ingredients, and uses of root beer to discover exactly what gives this refreshing beverage its unique taste and why it continues to be enjoyed around the world for generations.


What Is Root Beer?

What Is Root Beer

Before learning what is root beer made of, it is necessary to understand what root beer is.

Root beer is a  type of soft drink with carbonation produced from fruits, roots, herbs, tree bark, spices, and other ingredients. The precise procedure varies based on the brand or recipe utilized, but the majority of root beers are tasty and sweet with a unique earthy taste that distinguishes them apart from typical soda variations.

Root beer’s colors may range from red to deep brown. Due to the fact that the ingredients are brewed like tea rather than filtered before being added to the soda, root beer was once known as “root tea.”

History of Root Beer

History of Root Beer

The original root beer cans appeared in pre-colonial periods when native cultures frequently made drinks and medicines out of sassafras root. Root beer that we know today is a descendant of “small beers,” a group of drinks made by American colonists out of ingredients they could find readily available. Locally cultivated roots, bark trees, and herbs were used to flavor the beverages, which differed according to locale.

Similar to how it is now, root beer had a distinct flavor that came from a specific blend of ingredients. Even now, coupled with additional carbonation, root beer still contains a lot of these components. 

Type of Root Beer

Root beer comes in a wide variety of flavors, from traditional sodas to locally produced beers along with non-alcohol versions. The most typical kind is a fizzy beverage sweetened with chemical sweeteners, though certain manufacturers utilize honey as well as molasses as natural sweets.

Additionally, there are alcoholic root beers that contain between 3% and 7% alcohol by volume.

What Does Root Bear Taste Like?

Root beer frequently possesses the distinct flavor of the ingredient that was used in the recipe. It means that root beer has the taste of what is root beer made of. Root beer normally has a taste all its own that is hard to define, although it is typically sweet and mildly acidic.

What is Root Beer Made of?

What is root beer made of? The truth is that there is no absolute answer to this question because root beers can be made from so many different ingredients

Generally speaking, these are the most commonly used ingredients: sassafras root bark, wintergreen leaves, aniseed, licorice root, nutmeg, and vanilla.

Other common additions to root beer include brewed ginger and cinnamon, calcium phosphate, caramel coloring, and artificial sweeteners such as saccharin or corn syrup. Root beer also contains carbon dioxide, usually from a pressurized can or bottle.

The exact recipe of a root beer brand varies depending on its manufacturer and the ingredients used. However, thanks to their unique taste and distinctive flavor, root beers have become an increasingly popular beverage among consumers around the world.

How Is Root Beer Made?

Root beer is typically made by combining the ingredients with carbonated water in order to produce a fizzy beverage. Then, this mixture is boiled and cooled so that the flavors of the ingredients can infuse through.

Afterward, the ingredients are brewed together and then filtered to remove any particles before being bottled or canned and carbonated. The final product is a delicious, bubbly beverage that can be enjoyed as an alternative to sugary sodas.

Root beer can also be made with natural yeast, which ferments the beverage over a period of time. This type of root beer is usually bottled or canned and then left to ferment in order to fully develop its unique flavor.  

Despite the different recipes used by manufacturers, all types of root beer share the same distinctive taste that has made it popular throughout the ages.

Brewing Tips for Making Root Beer at Home

If you don’t want to buy root beer from a store, you can try making it at home. The good news is that root beer isn’t complicated to make and requires few ingredients. 

The most important thing is to use quality ingredients in order to produce the highest-quality beverage.

Also, it’s important to make sure that the carbonation process is done correctly so that the finished product is fizzy and flavorful. Here are some tips for making superior

Initially, use cold water. Herbs’ proteins may seize if they are dropped directly into hot water, inhibiting the entire release of the aromatic components and phytonutrients. This procedure is made easier by cold water.

Only until the herbal mixture has cooled do you add your starter. The heat from adding your starting will destroy any yeasts and bacteria that are present in the hot herbal brew. Therefore, do not add the cultures until the decoction is down to the external temperature.

Use bottles with a flip-top. Flip-top containers efficiently absorb all of the carbon dioxides that accumulate during the fermentation procedure, giving you an effervescent beverage.

Keep an eye on the kitchen’s heat. The higher the temperature, the faster the fermentation rate.


What is A&W Root Beer Made of?

A&W Root Beer is made from carbonated water, cane sugar, caramel coloring, sodium benzoate (a preservative), and a blend of natural and artificial flavors including vanilla, wintergreen oil, anise oil, cinnamon oil, clove oil, molasses extract, nutmeg oil, pimento berry extract, and yucca extract.

Is Root Beer Still Made from Roots?

Most commercial root beers are no longer made from roots because the US Food and Drug Administration considers certain roots, such as sassafras root, to be carcinogenic. Therefore, many brands use artificial flavors instead of actual root extracts in their root beers.

Is Root Beer Healthier than Coke?

The answer is yes. Recent research made a surprising discovery: root beers aren’t as acidic as their soda-drinking competitors! This makes it a possibly better choice for individuals seeking something sweet because it is far less likely to harm the enamel of their teeth. So feel free to drink root beer because it will not really adversely affect your physical health.

Can a Child Consume Root Beer?

Generally, some root beers, especially those with minimal alcohol content, are suitable for consumption by kids of any age group. However, to ensure health and safety, it is advised to avoid giving other mass-produced businesses to young kids because they could contain more sugar.

Why is The First Root Beer Illegal?

The initial root beer formulation is prohibited because it includes the carcinogen safrole. Sassafras and sarsaparilla roots, two fundamental components of root beer, provide safrole, a vital oil.

After researchers discovered that lab animals administered the chemical safrole developed cancer of the liver, studies on the substance were carried out in the 1960s. The truth is safrole may also be harmful to people and result in diarrhea, vomiting, a fast heartbeat, and even a coma in big doses.

Does Root Beer Taste Like Toothpaste? 

Many people may wonder why root beer has a remarkably similar flavor to toothpaste — this is generally owing to the same component of wintergreen, which can be seen in both items.

Although not all brands of toothpaste have it as a component, it’s still rather widespread and provides many products with their distinct flavor. Wintergreen is also a fairly common ingredient in root beer recipes, which is why some root beers will tend to taste a bit like toothpaste.

Is Dr Pepper a Root Beer?

No, Dr Pepper is not a root beer. Root beers are normally brewed with roots and spices whereas Dr Pepper includes high fructose corn syrup or sugar as its primary sweetener.

Additionally, while root beers have a distinct flavor profile due to the presence of spices like vanilla, wintergreen, clove, anise, cinnamon, and nutmeg; Dr Pepper is usually characterized by its unique blend of 23 flavors that includes cherry, licorice, and amaretto.


Root beer is a popular and unique beverage that is loved around the world. With its unique combination of spices, sugars, and roots, it brings a wonderful flavor to what it is made of. As an added bonus, root beer can also be used to make alcoholic drinks like root beer shots, making it even more versatile in its applications.

Whether you prefer something sweet or something more spicy and earthy, root beer has something for everyone – and can even be made at home! So why not give it a try? With its rich history and the multitude of uses, this flavorful beverage will have you coming back for more.

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Tom Valenti

Chef/Owner of both Ouest and ‘Cesca, and the Executive Chef of Le Cirque, Alison on Dominick, and Butterfield 81.

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