DIY Root Beer Liqueur Recipe

Photograph: Marcia Simmons

The woodsy, complex flavors of root beer are right at home in a liqueur. Use it in cocktails like you would an amaro or in sweet concoctions for a bold and unusual flavor.

Notes: Sassafras root bark, birch bark, and sarsaparilla root bark are available at some homebrew and herb shops. You can also order them online from Lhasa Karnak. If chocolate mint is unavailable to you, substitute another type of mint.

Recipe Facts

Active: 20 mins
Total: 0 mins
Makes: 2 1/2 cups

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  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sassafras root bark
  • 1 teaspoon sarsaparilla root bark
  • 1 teaspoon birch bark
  • 1 whole star anise
  • 1 teaspoon crushed ginger
  • 1 sprig chocolate mint
  • Peeled zest from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon molasses
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups vodka


  1. Combine water, sassafras, sarsaparilla, birch, anise, ginger, mint, and lemon zest in a pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, then let it steep for 2 hours.

  2. Place a fine-mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth over a new pot and strain the liquid into it. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, and molasses to the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat. Remove from heat and add vanilla, then let the mixture cool.

  3. Pour cooled liquid into a sealable glass jar and add vodka. Seal and shake, then let the mixture rest for 1 day. Store at room temperature for up to 6 months. Refrigerate if desired.

Special equipment

2 pots, zester or peeler, cheesecloth, fine-mesh strainer, sealable glass jar

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