Want to Make Your Own Root Beer? Here's How

Animated root beer float in tall glass mug with whipped cream, straw and cherry on top

Root beer is one of those "old fashioned" beverages that just refuses to yield to the modern world. It's maybe the most robust of all soft drinks with a musky, down-to-earth flavor that leaves a surprisingly appealing aftertaste, and it's one of our most popular CBD drinks. It also mixes beautifully with ice cream (you haven't lived until you've had a root beer float). In this post, the team at Sparkling CBD Soda will take you through the process of making your own root beer at home. It’s actually a lot easier than you think, so let’s get started.

What You’ll Need

The bad news is that you’ll need more than a saucepan and a spoon to make your own root beer. The good news is that you won’t need much more. Before you start gathering ingredients make sure you’ve brought together the following equipment:

  • Two five-gallon pots
  • A long-handled spoon that will reach to the bottom of the pots
  • A plastic funnel
  • A clean cheesecloth
  • Bottles with caps to store the root beer in
  • Medium size pitcher

Obviously, you’ll need a stovetop as well, but that should go without saying. Once you have all your equipment cobbled together it’s time to gather your ingredients.

  • 1/2 cup of molasses
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon of brewer’s yeast
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  • 4-star crushed anise
  • 1 tbsp sasparilla root
  • 1 tbsp ground sassafras
  • 1 tbsp wintergreen
  • 1 tbsp birch bark
  • 2 cloves, crushed
  • 4 tbsp licorice root
  • 1 tbsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 gallon distilled water

There is nothing on this list that should be particularly difficult to acquire. Just go to a market that has a well-stocked spice section. That said, don't worry if you can't find all the herbs. Just make sure you have the essentials like sasparilla, sassafras, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, and brown sugar.

Making Your Own Root Beer: A Step-By-Step Guide

Now that we have all the equipment and ingredients at hand it’s time to get started. Remember to be patient and follow the directions carefully.

Step 1: Prepare the yeast

It’s necessary to activate your yeast early on in the process so that it’s ready when you need it later. Fortunately, the process is simple. Just take your 1/2 teaspoon of brewer’s yeast and pour it into a half cup of your distilled water. Make sure the water is at room temperature. Now set the mixture aside for the time being.

Step 2: Combine the herbs and spices and bring to a boil

Place a 5-gallon pot on the stove and pour in the rest of your distilled water. Add your sasparilla, sassafras, wintergreen, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, anise, ginger, birch bark, licorice and vanilla beans. Boil the mixture for about 30 minutes then turn off the heat and let it steep for 2 hours.

Step 3: Strain the mixture

After about 2 hours of steeping the various ingredients will have sunk to the bottom of the pot. Now it’s time to extract the liquid and strain out the spent ingredients. This is where the cheesecloth comes in. Drape the cheesecloth over the 2nd of your pots and fasten it in place using string. Pour the entire contents of the 1st pot through the cheesecloth, making sure to take your time so you don’t put too much pressure on the cloth and cause it to come loose. Once the entire mixture has been strained remove the cheesecloth and dispose of it.

Step 4: Add your brown sugar and molasses

Brown sugar and molasses will provide the sweetness that counterbalances the bitter herbs. Our recipe calls for 1/2 cup of molasses and 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar. If you want your root beer a little sweeter or a little less sweet, feel free to adjust these amounts. Once all your sweeteners are in the mix, turn on the stove and bring the pot to a boil, stirring while the water heats up so that the brown sugar and molasses are completely dissolved. Boil low for 20 minutes, then turn off the heat, cover the pot and allow to cool again for 2 hours.

Step 5: Add the yeast

After allowing the mixture to cool for 2 hours add the yeast you had set aside earlier. Pour the entire contents of the cup into the pot stirring as you do. Make sure to stir thoroughly for a minute or so and then let the mixture sit for another half hour. We at the CBD Beverage Blog team can state without hesitation that this step is crucial to creating a drinkable finished product.

Step 6: Bottle your root beer

Using the pitcher scoop the mixture out of the pot and transfer it into your storage bottles using the funnel. Make sure to leave a couple of inches at the top of each bottle so that the mixture has room to expand as it carbonates. Screw on the caps and set them aside in a dry place out of direct sunlight for 36 hours. And there you have it! Your own homemade root beer.

Closing Thoughts

If you enjoy root beer but are not inclined to make your own try our Sparkling CBD Soda Root Beer. And while you’re at it check out the full line of CBD drinks and discover a higher level of refreshment.