3 Herbal Soda Recipes
• Making Root Beer
• Spruce Beer Recipe
• Making Ginger Beer
Of course, the sodas of yesteryear were entirely different creatures from the ones we find on our supermarket shelves today. They were made from natural ingredients—the roots, leaves, flowers and barks of plants credited with health benefits. But pharmacists would not leave well enough alone. Many had received training as chemists, and they couldn’t resist the urge to experiment with different chemical combinations to produce artificial colorings and flavorings. By the early 1900s, synthesized flavorings were taking over the soda world.
Fortunately, the art of making your own soda from plants was not completely lost. For centuries, homemakers had been stirring up batches of “small beers”—low-alcohol, bubbly drinks—right alongside homebrewed beer. Small beers, such as root beer and ginger ale, allowed children and workers to enjoy the refreshing foaminess of beer without the drunkenness. During Prohibition, when the only way to acquire beer was to make it yourself, the art of small beers also went through a revival and, in some corners of the country, it stuck.