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ROOT!

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I was in the local premium W&S store here in York yesterday and found this on the shelf next to the absinthe; it piqued my interest, but I held off on buying a bottle out of caution.

 

Reading through the website this morning, though, I may have to drop back by today to snag one. I love root beer, so a root tea liqueur sounds intriguing. Don't know whether I'll like it or not, but I like this statement from the website:

 

"Here at Art in the Age, we thought it would be interesting and fun to turn back the clock and recreate a true pre-temperance alcoholic Root Tea. We’ve even made it certified organic, since back then, everything was organic. This is the opposite of corporate culture. It’s a genuine experience rooted in history and our own landscape. It is a truly interesting and contemplative quaff. Certainly like nothing else we have ever tasted before. It is NOT Root Beer flavored vodka or a sickly sweet liqueur."

 

It's brewed in Philly in small batches and was apparently just released, so I don't know whether it's available outside PA yet. Anyone here had the opportunity to try it yet? If not, I may have to elect myself guinea pig.

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Well, curiosity got the better of me. I stopped off on my way home today and picked up a bottle of ROOT; I'm having my first glass right now.

 

The verdict in brief: it's damn good!

 

I sort of expected it to taste like a good root beer (homemade or a micro-brew like Virgil's) with an alcohol bite and sans the suds, but it's better and more complex than that. First off, as the website promises, it is definitely not a sickly sweet liqueur. It's more spicy than anything else, with the birch bark and notes of cinnamon, clove, allspice, and wintergreen predominant. The smoked black tea and anise are noticeable in the finish as well. The flavor reminds me a little of spiced rum (not surprising, I guess, given the spices and cane sugar), as does the color, which is a nice tobacco brown. It's a pleasure to sip neat, though at 80 proof there is some alcohol heat--enough to tickle the nose and burn the throat a bit. I imagine it would be good with a little water or some ice and soda, and I'm already imagining the cocktail possibilities. The recipes on the website (several by the Apothecary bartender Nicholas Jarrett) seem like a good start, with natural pairings like Navan and cream (the Rootini).

 

In short, I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoys unusual, offbeat liqueurs. This one is genuinely good--not just eccentric for the sake of eccentricity--and has an interesting history to boot. Apparently, the first batch was just released this week and is only available in PA state stores and through HITIMEWINE.com online.

 

If anyone wants to try it before laying down the money for a bottle, I'd be happy to trade samples. PM me.

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Nice non sequitur, BAUB! :tongue:

 

I don't have a favorite commercial root beer (in the nationally, or even regionally marketed sense), onacuz when I'm in the mood for some, I only drink the stuff my buddy Eric brews at the North Fork Brewery, Beer Shrine, Pizza Parlor, and Wedding Chapel. :devil:

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I have to get a bottle of this ROOT immediately for so many reasons.

 

I only drink the stuff my buddy Eric brews at the North Fork Brewery, Beer Shrine, Pizza Parlor, and Wedding Chapel. :devil:

Wish I could try it. The only root beers worth taking seriously are made by brewers that make real beer, Abita being my favorite so far.

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Sounds VERY good, but i'm pretty sure i won't be able to find it here in Finland, but if my travel plans to San Francisco next summer succeed, i have to pick up a bottle :)

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There's a bunch of really interesting Herbal Liqueurs that have been crafted in the last 5 years....

 

St. Germain, Clear Creek's Sapin, Three Pins, Zwack, Amber....

 

Some are intended for cocktail, some are intended as after dinner digestifs.

 

Maybe it's time for an article on the subject? I'm just sayin'.

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There's a bunch of really interesting Herbal Liqueurs that have been crafted in the last 5 years....

 

St. Germain, Clear Creek's Sapin, Three Pins, Zwack, Amber....

 

Some are intended for cocktail, some are intended as after dinner digestifs.

 

Maybe it's time for an article on the subject? I'm just sayin'.

 

Thanks for the PM, I'll respond later with a good address.

 

I think an article on the subject could be very cool. I know the layout/issue plan is just about done for the next issue, but I think the issue after that is pretty open if you'd like to collaborate on an article or try and get something in the works! I'll have to run it by my brother Alan, but I'm sure he'd be into it.

 

Thanks Todd, you'll be hearing from me soon!

 

:pirate:

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IIRC, the NYT did a piece about Clear Creek Sapin (actually, it was an essay by the distiller) recently. And Zwack (at least in the US) is a sweeter reformulation of Unicum, which has at bit of a history on its own. [sorry for the Wikipedia link, all of the others seem to simply be marketing puff pieces]

Yes, it's my understanding that Zwack was created for the U.S. market. It lacks the complexity of the Unicum (and not as much fun if you're into bitter, like Campari), but I think it works better as a cocktail ingredient. If you want something tasty, try a Rascal.

 

RASCAL

1 1/2 oz Rye

1 1/2 oz Zwack

2 dashes Regan's orange bitters

Stir together in an ice-filled glass, strain, and garnish with an orange twist.

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Played with the Root tonight ...

 

1 shot Root

probably twice as much (flat, ughh..) club soda

2 cubes of ice

 

tried it and mehh, it was missing something. may be that the club soda was a bit flat. so we cut some fresh lemon and added a squeeze of it, and it definitely made it better. Had the club soda not been flat and maybe a touch more Root, and it would have been better. Root only sent a very small sample of it, probably 7 ounces .... so we didn't really get to do much with it between the 4 Mutineers.

 

It's good though and definitely worth checking out. On the rocks would probably be pretty interesting.

 

edit: or maybe Root on the rocks with a squeeze of fresh lemon. hmmm... wish i had some more.

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we’ve mighty close to approximating sassafras unique flavor with a mixture of organic citrus fruits, spearmint, and wintergreen.

Great. Another shortcut. :thumbdown:

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A couple hundred years ago, all the colonists made their Root Teas with sassafras root. However, scientists later found that the ingredient posed certain risks to the liver, and the FDA banned it as a food ingredient in the 1960s. No worries though, we’ve mighty close to approximating sassafras unique flavor with a mixture of organic citrus fruits, spearmint, and wintergreen.

 

 

A little context is always helpful.

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Nothing has been proven against sassy, safrol is as dangerous as thujone or coumarine or asarone, same BS all the way. And FDA would ban everything as soon as they smell money. Shortcut stays shortcut and utter lie. I have some sassafrass from the US and find it excellent ingredient as regards tea, real deal root beer and various liqueurs it is called for.

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I’m not suggesting that the FDA ban is valid. I’m simply pointing out that the use of sassafras in food products is banned within the United States. Because it’s banned, Art in the Age does not have the option of using it in ROOT. To me, “taking a shortcut” implies that the producer had the option of using quality ingredients and chose not to for the sake of expediency (or because of cost). That’s clearly not the case here. You can’t blame the producer for not using an ingredient that’s banned in the country of origin. That would be like blaming ban-era producers of pastis for not using grand wormwood.

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Just switch the production to the countries where it is not banned :devil:

 

Since FDA ban is valid AFAIK, something should be done about in the US. You have succeeded in uplifting thujone limits, work on safrole and bring sassy back home! Some early pastis makers were using wormwood, as of 1935 it was replaced with mugwort and pontica.

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