This article introduces you to root beer flavor three ways. You can have a good time with each:
- How to make homemade root beer
- How to make Bubba's Friday Night Root Beer Popcorn
- How to make root beer cake
And if you can make root beer, you can make other soda pops. In fact you can make better sodas than you can buy.
This is the flavor of my youth. After the Friday night ball games, we would drive up and down the boulevard in Stevie's Ford, spotting all the pretty girls. If we knew them and were brave enough, we would honk or wave. After the requisite number of trips up and down the boulevard, we would pull into the drive-in where another pretty girl would take our order.
I was shy. I never got a date doing that but I had lots of root beer floats. And it was fun time with our buddies.
This is a fun flavor. Use your imagination and you'll have a lot of fun with it. These ideas will get you started.
Old Fashioned Carbonated Root Beer
Caution: Handling and using dry ice can be dangerous. Please read the safety precautions before proceeding.
- 7 cups granulated sugar or to taste
- 4 gallons cold water
- 1 2 ounce bottle of root beer flavor, Marsden Bathe or equal
- 4 pounds dry ice
- In a large container, mix the sugar and about half of the water together. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add about the root beer flavor and the reminder of the water. There should be several inches of headroom in the top of the container to allow for gaseous expansion.
- Taste the beverage for flavor and sweetness. Different brands of root beer flavor will differ in concentration. You will likely want to add the remainder of the flavor but taste it first. You may want to add more sugar.
- Being very careful not too touch the dry ice, with gloves, add the dry ice. (Dry ice will burn badly when it comes in contact with your skin.)
- Loosely cover the container and let your root beer brew. As the dry ice “melts” it turns to CO2, a gas, with a much higher volume. The gas in the liquid creates the carbonation. If the lid is tight, the expanding gas will cause the container to explode. If the container is not covered, the gas will escape without carbonating the beverage.
Some gas must escape and the expanding gas must be able to “lift” the lid without the vessel exploding. Do not use a tight fitting, air tight lid. Set the lid on the top without fastening it down. Monitor the venting carefully.
Your beverage should be carbonated in about an hour.
Yield: About five gallonsSafety Precautions: Misuse of dry ice may be harmful or fatal.
- Supervise children careful when using dry ice.
- Use in a well-ventilated location. Dry ice ‘melts” to create CO2. If you are transporting or storing dry ice in the car, ventilate the car. If you have trouble catching your breath or if you begin breathing rapidly, your room is not ventilated enough. Leave the room immediately.
- Use cotton gloves or towels to handle the dry ice. Do not let the dry ice touch your skin.
- Store dry ice in an insulated container. Do not put a tight lid on the container or the increasing gas pressure may cause the container to explode.
Other Carbonated Beverages
It's not just root beer that you can make; you can carbonate almost anything. If you carbonate frozen juices, that's better than you can buy. Any of the packaged punch drinks can be carbonated.
Bubba's Friday Night Root Beer Popcorn
We made the mistake of serving this in our store before we had the root beer flavor on the shelf. Oh, oh. Folks were really disappointed. But get some flavor and you and Bubba should have some great Friday nights.
1/2 cup unpopped popcorn kernels
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup white corn syrup (Karo)
1/8 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 teaspoons Root Beer flavor
1 drop of Americolor Orange food coloring gel or equal
Yields 14 cups of candy popcorn. This recipe can also be doubled successfully.
1. Pop the popcorn kernels. Set aside in 2 large bowls.
2. Over medium heat, melt the butter in a medium sauce pan.
3. Add the corn syrup and water. Stir.
4. Add the sugar. Make sure not to let any sugar stick to the edges of the pan.
If one grain of sugar is left undissolved, it can cause the whole batch to
5. Bring to a boil and continue to cook until the mixture reaches 235-245 degrees.
(Please use a candy thermometer). It is important for the mixture to reach this
temperature, if it doesn’t the candy will not harden properly.
6. Add the baking soda and stir quickly as the mixture begins to bubble. Once
bubbly and frothy, remove the pan from heat.
7. Add the flavor and food coloring until mixed in.
8. Pour over the popped popcorn in both bowls. Fold into the popcorn until evenly
Root Beer Spice Cake Recipe
This interesting cake has just a touch of root beer flavor but it comes out light and moist. Be sure to use root beer with sugar in it, not sugar-free.
3/4 cup shortening
1 3/4 cups brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 tablespoon root beer flavor
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 tablespoons dry buttermilk powder
1/2 cup milk
1 12-ounce can root beer, not sugar-free
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and dust with flour a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
- Cream the shortening and sugar together. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each. Beat for five or six minutes so that the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the extract.
- In another bowl, mix the flour, spices, salt, dry buttermilk, and baking soda together.
- In three or four additions, add the dry ingredients and the liquids to the creamed mixture alternately starting and ending with the dry ingredients. (Each time that we made this, we added the milk first then one half of the soda pop and finally, the rest of the soda pop.) Mix only until smooth.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the cake tests done with a toothpick. Cool completely before frosting with the frosting of your choice.
Baker’s Note: When making a cake such as this, you are mixing oil (shortening) and water (soda pop and buttermilk)—which don’t mix. The egg yolks act as an emulsifier, a bonding agent between the oil and water molecules and the flour absorbs much of the water. That is why you start with the flour addition—so that the water doesn’t overload the fat mixture before the flour is there to start absorbing water. It’s also why you add the liquids in stages between the flour additions.
Root Beer Butter Frosting
3/4 cup butter
about 5 cups powdered sugar
2 tablespoons root beer
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Root beer extract to taste
Cream the butter. Add half the powdered sugar and two tablespoons root beer. Gradually add the remaining powdered sugar, beating as you go. Add the nutmeg, vanilla, root beer extract, and more root beer as required to reach a spreadable consistency.