In 1919, when Roy Allen and Frank Wright started selling their new root beer beverage to a thirsty America, national Prohibition was taking its grip on the country. Their timing couldn't have been better. No longer able to legally drink real beer, thirsty patriots had to settle for this sweet, foamy concoction derived from roots, herbs, and berries. Roy and Frank had thirteen years of Prohibition to make their mark and their fortune from this refreshing drink. By 1933, when Prohibition came to a screeching halt, Roy and Frank had 171 stands in various shapes and sizes, each with the familiar A&W logo on them, all across the country. These drive-up stands with their tray boys and tray girls bringing cold drinks out to the cars were an inspiration for many other roadside stands and diners, and the prelude to the popular fast food drive-thrus of today. You can still get a foamy mug of A&W root beer at outlets across the country, or just enjoy some from a 12-ounce can.
But if it's some home cloning you'd like to get into, check out my improved A&W root beer recipe that was first printed in More Top Secret Recipes. The beauty is you won't have to worry about collecting roots, herbs, and berries like the pros do when making A&W root beer. Instead ,you just need to get some root beer extract, manufactured by McCormick, that you'll find near the vanilla in your local supermarket. Make up some root beer syrup, let it cool off in the fridge, and you can whip up 10 servings of A & W root beer by combining the syrup with soda water whenever you're ready to drink it.
Source: Top Secret Recipes: Sodas, Smoothies, Spirits and Shakes by Todd Wilbur.
- 1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup very hot water
- 1 cup corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon McCormick root beer concentrate
- 10 cups cold soda water
1. Dissolve the sugar in the hot water in a small pitcher.
2. Add the corn syrup and root beer concentrate and stir well. Cover and chill syrup until cold.
3. When the syrup is cold, pour 1/4 cup syrup into 1 cup of cold soda water. Sitr gently, add ice, and serve.
Makes 10 10-ounce servings
For over 30 years I've been deconstructing America's most iconic brand-name foods to make the best original copycat recipes for you to use at home. Welcome to my lab.