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henry happened: Homemade Root Beer Float

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Homemade Root Beer Float

Is there anything better than a root beer float? I worked at A&W and let me tell you, we take our root beer VERY seriously. A&W restaurants make their own root beer all the time (who knew, right?) so I figured I could make it at home.

I wanted to make something new for cooking week but was having trouble deciding. Then I happened on Gwyneth's recipe since all the pages from her cookbook are floating around from the interview that never happened. :( Something good should come from that major disappointment, right?

Surprisingly, I had most of the needed ingredients on hand. Sassafrass extract was another story. I bought it at a local health food store and was charged an outrageous mark-up. But you can buy it online here for a bargain compared to what I paid. I went light on the sassafras because the granolas at the store warned me it was very strong. You don't want weak root beer. Stick with a full 1/4 cup.

After simmering the ingredients for 10 minutes I wouldn't say it had turned into a syrup. I let it go longer and the consistency never really changed. Assuming it was done we strained out the solid bits but were a little too impatient to let it fully cool down. And just look at that foam! The best part, in my opinion. Caroline, I think, was partial to the ice cream.

Homemade Root Beer Float
Recipe from My Father's Daughter

2 cups water
2 cloves
8 peppercorns
1/4 cup sassafrass extract
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and crushed
Carbonated water
Vanilla ice cream

Combine the water, cloves, peppercorns, sassafrass, sugar, and ginger in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium and simmer for at least 10 minutes. (GP says a syrup will form but mine never looked very syrup-y.) Let the syrup cool and strain out the solids. Divide between glasses - frosted mugs are ideal. Add carbonated water (GP recommends 2/3 cup). Add a scoop of ice cream to each. Grab a spoon & a straw and enjoy.

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