Root and Soda

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What and soda? Root and soda. Oh. Have you not heard of Root before? I hadn’t. But a few weeks ago, I was chatting with one of the ladies who works at the front desk of my apartment building and we were discussing the spirits we enjoy sipping. She asked me if I ever had Root and then went on to describe it to me. Well, let’s just say every ingredient in it sounded like heaven and also that I went out and searched for it that very night. It was easier to find than I expected and I just hope I’m not the last to hear about this magical spirit.

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What’s in Root? Birch Bark, Black Tea, Cane Sugar, Sassafras, Citrus, Allspice, Anise, Cloves, Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Cardamom. Done and done. All the things that float my boat. But besides a stellar ingredient list, I love a liquor with a good story. If you’re thinking Root sounds a bit like Root Beer, you’re on the right track. See, Root is actually what Root Beer was before it was Root Beer. Before prohibition.

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Back in the 1700s, it was called Root Tea and the recipe was taught by Native Americans to colonial settlers. But then along came the Temperance Movement and Root Tea could no longer be enjoyed. Boo Prohibition! So, a Philadelphia pharmacist simply removed the alcohol and called it “Root Beer.” You know, in an ironic way, since there’s no liquor in Root Beer. The pharmacist introduced Root Beer at Philadelphia’s 1876 Centennial Exhibition and it was enjoyed by all… But probably not as much as Root Tea had been.

So then, Prohibition ended and alcohol was allowed once again. But somehow, it seems, Root never came back into style. Until, Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction decided to bring it back. They recreated Root, made a really pretty bottle for it, and gave me my new favorite spirit. Thank you, Art in the Age. I also love that it’s organic because, as Art in the Age says, everything was organic back then. Good point.

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Check out this super cute video if you want to learn a little more:

There are many different ways you can enjoy Root, but on the rocks is probably the best. I, however, am a major lightweight, and prefer mixing it with soda so I can enjoy a glass full. And, like I said, it’s pretty awesome. Yes, it tastes a bit like Root Beer, but it’s a whole lot stronger and much less sweet. Not for children. Or wusses. It’s majorly aromatic, which is exactly what I want in a nightcap. Or an afternoon-cap. Or whatever the case may be.

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I haven’t gotten too crazy with my Root recipes, but the bottle came with a little booklet containing tons of innovative recipes, including concoctions like a Root Float (Root, birch beer, and vanilla ice cream), Root “Beer” (Root and dark beer), and Root Raspberry Lemonade (Root, raspberry jam, soda water, lemons, and mint), and lots more.

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Yup, Root is my newest cocktail obsession and exactly what I’m sipping on this Cocktail Friday. But now that I’ve explored Root’s beautiful website a little bit, I desperately want to try their other spirits: Snap (ginger snap) and Rhuby (rhubarb). And I’m mentally planning a trip to Philadelphia so I can visit Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. You know how I do enjoy planning my travels around my cocktails and beer.

Happy Weekend, friends! Here in Boston, we are lucky enough to have a little holiday called Patriots Day on Monday. And since this is the first year in a long time that I’m not working freelance, I actually get it off! It’s also Marathon Monday, which, let’s face it, is the real reason we have it off. I’ve lived on the Marathon route for 7 years and since this will be my last year here (tears!), I’m definitely taking full advantage of it. Good luck to everyone running! I’ll probably be drinking Root instead :)

What are you sipping on this weekend?

[Sues]

19 Comments

  • Oh this is SO interesting! wow! I never knew!…

    April 14, 2012 6:07 am
  • Penny Wolf said:

    I have all 3 and I love ROOT but SNAP is a very close 2nd. In fairness
    i have not given proper attention to RHUBY. As the weather warms
    that will change! This trio will change your ice cream, your fruitcakes,
    your whatever you can imagine.

    April 14, 2012 8:35 am
  • Joanne said:

    I’ve never heard of Root before but it sounds like spice heaven. The possibilities for what you could do with it are endless!

    April 14, 2012 8:41 am
  • Shannon said:

    never heard of it, but now i want to try it!!!

    April 14, 2012 10:03 am
  • Michelle said:

    This sounds awesome! I really want to try Root!

    April 14, 2012 10:09 am
  • i can tell you that root has been raging in the chi-chi cocktail bars for a year or so now… but i’ve never had it! i’ve heard it’s quite stellar with bourbon and other all-american boozes. glad to hear you like it!

    April 14, 2012 7:27 pm
  • Shannon said:

    I love all things Rhubarb so I think I have to find this (and I definitely want to try Root as well). Where did you find it in the Boston area?

    April 15, 2012 9:50 am
  • I’ve never heard of Root before! I’ll have to look for this next time I’m at the grocery store.

    April 15, 2012 11:57 am
  • Root sounds right up my alley! Weird that I’ve never heard of it. These cocktail photos are great btw!

    April 15, 2012 2:19 pm
  • Megan said:

    That Root float sounds awesome! You definitely have to try Snap too. ArtBar makes a drink called a ginger oatmeal flip with it, and it’s amazing!

    April 15, 2012 5:55 pm
  • Kate said:

    I live in Philadelphia and these spirits are in cocktails all over the city. Root is wildly popular, but I personally love Snap the most, especially in warm apple cider during the cold months. I also love Snap and sparkling wine with a twist of orange. Rhuby was a bit of a let down for me. I, too, love all things rhubarb, but this spirit was far too sweet in my opinion. I ended up mixing it with lemon, soda, and a sprig of fresh rosemary to balance it out. I know they sell Root in NH (saw it there the last few times I was home visiting my parents), so maybe they’ve got Snap now. Rhuby is hard to find sometimes even in Philly. FYI you can’t actually buy these spirits at the Art in the Age store due to PA liquor laws, but you should still plan a trip to Philly- the food/beer/cocktails are amazing.

    April 15, 2012 7:09 pm
  • Lane said:

    I think Root Tea is ironic as well…just sayin’

    April 15, 2012 9:06 pm
  • Catherine said:

    After reading this post I immediately started calling local liquor stores to find it! I made the Root Rasberry Lemonade – and it was really great! I am going to have to hunt for the Rhuby now!

    April 15, 2012 10:07 pm
  • Scott said:

    ROOT is pretty awesome stuff. I first had it in a cocktail at Russell House Tavern (Root of Rebellion) and had a sip of it straight up. It took me a while to find a liquor store that carries it but I finally found one by my house in Framingham. I just kicked the bottle this weekend, time for a new one!

    April 16, 2012 10:10 am
  • I have never heard of that! Now I will be definitely checking this out soon – YUM!

    April 16, 2012 9:08 pm
  • I’m so glad you introduced us all to this. I have never heard of Root and the history is quite interesting! I’m heading straight to my liquor store after to work to see if they carry it. The ginger and rhubarb versions sound good, too. Oh, and I’m going to be in Philly soon so I’ll have to check out Art in the Age. Thanks for this post!

    April 17, 2012 11:05 am
  • sharon said:

    Thanks for introducing us to something new & different. When I arrived home from vacation, I found a bottle on my counter and wondered what the heck it was. I can’t wait to try it…great job, Sues!

    April 18, 2012 7:14 am
  • Gia said:

    Called my liquor store yesterday and will be picking this up today! CAN NOT WAIT TO DRINK ALL OF IT!

    April 19, 2012 9:30 am
  • Michelle said:

    Love the Root! Thanks for sharing something new!

    April 19, 2012 9:14 pm

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