What Is Sarsaparilla

Sarsaparilla, often referred to as the original version of root , is a with a rich and tantalizing flavor derived from a unique blend of roots and herbs. This frothy treat is renowned for its smooth and creamy taste, often even surpassing that of root beer. In fact, sarsaparilla has a distinct history and is considered a separate drink from root beer.

In the early days, tonics were popular remedies that promised to cure a wide range of ailments. Sarsaparilla, in particular, gained significant popularity as a medicinal tonic and a refreshing beverage. It was highly favored among ranchers and cowboys, who enjoyed its invigorating taste.

However, it is important to note that sassafras and sarsaparilla both contain a compound called safrole. This compound was found to have carcinogenic effects and was subsequently banned by the FDA. High doses of safrole were linked to liver cancer in rats, leading to the prohibition of products containing sassafras or sarsaparilla.

Despite this setback, sarsaparilla continues to be appreciated for its unique flavor and history. It is a beloved drink that holds a special place in the hearts of many. While sarsaparilla and root beer may share some similarities, they each have their own distinct characteristics and origins.

Sarsaparilla's flavor profile is often described as a delightful blend of roots and herbs, with a subtle note of vanilla. Its smoothness and creaminess make it a delightful treat for those seeking a refreshing beverage. Some even argue that sarsaparilla surpasses root beer in terms of its velvety texture and overall taste experience.

So, the next time you find yourself craving a flavorful and creamy drink, consider reaching for a sarsaparilla. Allow yourself to be transported back in time, to an era where tonics and remedies were all the rage. Savor the rich flavors and indulge in the history that this beverage brings to the table.

Let your taste buds be the judge and experience the wonders of sarsaparilla for yourself. Cheers to the timeless allure of this beloved drink!

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What Does A Sarsaparilla Taste Like?

Sarsaparilla has a distinct and unique taste that can be difficult to describe. However, many people compare its flavor to that of root beer, as they both share similar characteristics.

Here are some key elements that contribute to the taste of sarsaparilla:

1. Earthy: Sarsaparilla has a deep, earthy undertone that comes from its roots and herbs. This flavor is often described as being rich and robust.

2. Sweet: Sarsaparilla has a natural sweetness to it, but it is not overpowering. The sweetness is well-balanced and complements the other flavors in the drink.

3. Herbal: The blend of roots and herbs in sarsaparilla gives it a complex herbal flavor. Some common herbs used in sarsaparilla include sarsaparilla root, birch bark, licorice root, and sassafras.

4. Slightly Spicy: Sarsaparilla can have a subtle spiciness to it, similar to other traditional flavors. This adds a layer of complexity to the overall taste experience.

5. Creamy: One distinguishing characteristic of sarsaparilla is its creaminess. Some people claim that sarsaparilla is even smoother and creamier than root beer, making it an indulgent treat.

6. Hint of Vanilla: Sarsaparilla often has a subtle note of vanilla, which adds a touch of sweetness and enhances the overall flavor profile.

It's important to note that the taste of sarsaparilla can vary depending on the brand or recipe. Some sarsaparilla drinks may have a stronger or milder flavor compared to others. sarsaparilla offers a unique and enjoyable taste experience that is well worth trying if you enjoy root beer or herbal beverages.


Sarsaparilla is a flavorful beverage that has a long and fascinating history. Originally used as a medicinal tonic, it was believed to cure a wide range of ailments. Its popularity among ranchers and cowboys speaks to its refreshing and invigorating qualities.

Sarsaparilla is often compared to root beer, but they are actually two distinct drinks. While they share similarities in flavor, sarsaparilla has a unique blend of roots and herbs that give it a rich and smooth taste. Some even claim that it is creamier than root beer.

However, it is important to note that sarsaparilla, like root beer, used to contain safrole, a compound that has been found to have carcinogenic effects. Due to this, safrole was banned by the FDA, leading to the removal of sarsaparilla from the market.

Despite this setback, sarsaparilla remains a beloved beverage for many, with its distinct flavor and rich history. Whether enjoyed for its medicinal properties or simply as a refreshing treat, sarsaparilla continues to hold a special place in the hearts of those who appreciate its unique taste and heritage.

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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.