A frosty mug of ice-cold root beer is the perfect drink for a tasty meal. Make it for a party or event and you’ll get plenty of ohs and ahs — and yums! — when your guests discover that you made it yourself!
While we won’t encourage drinking soda at every meal, it is so much fun for special occasions! Homemade root beer using extract is one of our favorite drinks, especially when we make a big cauldron of it for Halloween (it’s so much fun with the addition of dry iced), or a large pitcher for a barbecue. This is so incredibly simple, using only 5 ingredients, you can even get the kids involved! Once you learn how, you won’t believe you’ve never made it at home. Homemade root beer is the fun kitchen activity you never knew you needed!
What Is The Root Used To Make Root Beer?
Did you know that root beer was actually traditionally made with a root? Making root beer in the past involved using plants like sassafras root or sarsaparilla. Today, root beer extract is made from a combination of vanilla, licorice, and other flavors.
We use plain white sugar for this homemade root beer recipe. That said, if you have a sugar alternative that you prefer, feel free to use that instead! If you’re not sure which one will work best, here are some ideas:
- Coconut sugar
- Monk fruit
A Note On Root Beer Extract:
If you’ve never made homemade root beer before, you’ve most likely never heard of root beer extract. You can typically find it near the other extracts in the baking section of the grocery store. If you can’t, check online! One thing to remember is not to confuse root beer extract with root beer concentrate. We prefer using extract, but you can always use concentrate if that’s what you have on hand. If using concentrate, make sure to reduce the amount to 1 teaspoon.
Is Dry Ice Safe To Eat?
Dry ice is colder than standard ice, which is why clouds of steam and “smoke” come off of it when it’s removed from the freezer. Never fear, this is simply the cold from the ice reacting with the warmer outside air! Dry ice is perfectly safe to include in your homemade root beer recipe. That said, you should never, ever consume it on its own or even touch it with bare hands! You will want to handle the ice with tongs before you place it in the soda so as to not burn yourself.
Substitute For Dry Ice:
If you don’t like the idea of putting dry ice into your root beer recipe, or if you can’t find any, you can replace the dry ice and regular water with club soda. To do so, place 4 cups of club soda along with the sugar and extract into your drink dispenser. Stir to remove any sugar granules, then add the remaining 12 cups of club soda. You don’t want to add all of the liquid at once, as the stirring step will remove much of that desired carbonation!
If you are making this drink for a Halloween or costume party, we love the idea of serving it in a large cauldron-shaped drink dispenser! When you add the dry ice it will look like a smoky witches’ brew — so much fun! You can also serve it with a few scoops of vanilla ice cream to create root beer floats!
As a note, dry ice doesn’t store, so you will want to only make as much as you plan to drink. You can always make your root beer ahead of time and simply add in the dry ice right before serving.
If you decide to use club soda instead, it will last for a few days. That said, it could lose some of its carbonation over time. When it comes to making root beer at home, it’s best to drink it right away!
If you like this recipe, you may be interested in these other delicious drink recipes:
Watch the video below where Caytlin will walk you through every step of this recipe. Sometimes it helps to have a visual, and we’ve always got you covered with our cooking show. You can find the complete collection of recipes on YouTube, Facebook Watch, or our Facebook Page, or right here on our website with their corresponding recipes.
Homemade Root Beer
- 16 cups cold water
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 tablespoons root beer extract
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 pound dry ice broken into chunks
- In a large drink dispenser or container, add in water, sugar, root beer extract and vanilla extract. Stir until there is no granulation.
- Add in chunks of dry ice and stir. Serve and enjoy!