Sarsaparilla Root Beer

Sarsaparilla root is a unique and flavorful that has a rich history and distinct taste. This drink is a combination of two popular drinks from the past – sarsaparilla and root beer. Let's dive deeper into the origins, ingredients, and characteristics of sarsaparilla root beer.

Historically, sarsaparilla and root beer were created using different plants. Sarsaparilla was made from the roots of the sarsaparilla vine, while root beer used the roots of the sassafras tree. However, due to health concerns related to the safrole compound found in sassafras, root beer recipes no longer include this ingredient. Therefore, sarsaparilla root beer is a safer alternative that still captures the essence of both beverages.

Sarsaparilla root beer is known for its flavor profile. The sarsaparilla vine, which is native to Central and South America, contains various compounds that contribute to its distinct taste. These compounds give the drink a unique earthy and herbal flavor, making it stand out from other options.

To create sarsaparilla root beer, the roots of the sarsaparilla vine are harvested and processed. These roots are then combined with other ingredients such as herbs, spices, and sweeteners to create a flavorful and refreshing beverage. The specific recipe for sarsaparilla root beer can vary depending on the brand or manufacturer, but the overall goal is to create a drink that balances bitterness with sweetness.

One popular brand of sarsaparilla root beer is A&W Root Beer. Founded in 1919 by Roy W. Allen, A&W Root Beer quickly gained popularity in the United States and Canada. The brand is known for its high-quality ingredients and commitment to creating a delicious and satisfying root beer experience. A&W Root Beer can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base for floats and other creative drink combinations.

Sarsaparilla root beer offers a unique and flavorful alternative to traditional root beer. With its bitter taste and herbal undertones, this beverage provides a distinct and refreshing soda experience. Whether you enjoy it on its own or as part of a creative drink concoction, sarsaparilla root beer is sure to satisfy your taste buds.

Is Sarsaparilla Same As Root Beer?

Sarsaparilla is not the same as root beer. While both beverages have a similar taste and are often associated with each other, they are made from different ingredients.

1. Ingredients: Sarsaparilla is traditionally made from the roots of the sarsaparilla vine, hence its name. On the other hand, root beer is made from the roots of the sassafras tree.

2. Sassafras Concerns: It's important to note that modern root beer recipes no longer include sassafras as an ingredient. This is because sassafras has been found to contain a compound called safrole, which has been linked to potential health risks, including liver damage and cancer. Therefore, the use of sassafras in food and beverages has been banned by the FDA.

3. Flavor and Similarities: Despite the difference in ingredients, sarsaparilla and root beer share similar flavor profiles. They both have a sweet, slightly tangy taste with hints of vanilla and spices. This similarity in taste is likely why they are often confused with each other.

4. Variations: It's worth mentioning that there are many variations of both sarsaparilla and root beer available in the market. These variations may use different ingredients or flavorings to achieve a similar taste. However, the traditional and authentic versions of each beverage follow the ingredients mentioned above.

While sarsaparilla and root beer may have similar flavors, they are different beverages with distinct ingredients. Sarsaparilla is made from the roots of the sarsaparilla vine, while root beer was historically made from the roots of the sassafras tree, although modern recipes no longer include sassafras.

Sarsaparilla 1694845602

Does Sarsaparilla Root Taste Like Root Beer?

Sarsaparilla root does not taste exactly like root beer. While both sarsaparilla and root beer have similar flavor profiles, they do have distinct differences in taste. Sarsaparilla root has a more bitter and earthy flavor compared to the sweeter and more pronounced taste of root beer.

Here are the specific taste characteristics of sarsaparilla root:

1. Bitterness: Sarsaparilla root has a noticeable bitter taste, which adds depth to its flavor profile. This bitterness, although present, is milder compared to other bitter herbs or roots.

2. Earthiness: Sarsaparilla root has an earthy or woody undertone, which gives it a natural and grounded flavor. This earthiness is a defining characteristic of sarsaparilla and contributes to its unique taste.

3. Herbal notes: Sarsaparilla root has herbal notes that are reminiscent of licorice or anise. These herbal undertones give sarsaparilla a distinctive and somewhat medicinal taste.

4. Mild sweetness: While sarsaparilla root is not as sweet as root beer, it does contain a mild natural sweetness. However, this sweetness is more subtle and less pronounced compared to the sugary sweetness of root beer.

Sarsaparilla root has a bitter, earthy, and mildly sweet taste, with herbal notes reminiscent of licorice. While it shares some similarities with the flavor profile of root beer, sarsaparilla root has its own distinct taste.


Sarsaparilla root beer is a unique and flavorful beverage that has a rich history and distinct ingredients. Originally made from the sarsaparilla vine, this beverage was known for its bitter taste. However, due to the health concerns surrounding safrole, a compound found in sarsaparilla and sassafras, the use of these ingredients has been banned by the FDA. As a result, modern root beer recipes no longer contain sarsaparilla or sassafras.

Sarsaparilla root beer's bitter flavor and the need for a sweeter alternative led to the creation of root beer. A&W Root Beer, a popular American brand, was founded in 1919 and is known for its sweet and enhanced flavor. Today, it is primarily available in the United States and Canada.

While sarsaparilla root beer may no longer be made with its original ingredients, its historical significance and impact on the creation of root beer cannot be overlooked. It serves as a reminder of the evolution and adaptation of beverages over time.

Photo of author

Thomas Ashford

Thomas Ashford is a highly educated brewer with years of experience in the industry. He has a Bachelor Degree in Chemistry and a Master Degree in Brewing Science. He is also BJCP Certified Beer Judge. Tom has worked hard to become one of the most experienced brewers in the industry. He has experience monitoring brewhouse and cellaring operations, coordinating brewhouse projects, and optimizing brewery operations for maximum efficiency. He is also familiar mixology and an experienced sommelier. Tom is an expert organizer of beer festivals, wine tastings, and brewery tours.