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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Differences in sarsaparilla root

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Old 07-02-2013, 02:06 PM   #11
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Wow this is all great information. MrFoodScientist that may not have answered my question, but that is all good information and I am glad you posted it. It does clear up some of the mater though.

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Old 07-02-2013, 02:12 PM   #12
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Guess its a regional thing cause growing up we always used sassafras to make root beer an granny would make a spiced tea out of it. I always thought the home made was similar to store bought but better, just played it as being home made.

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Old 07-02-2013, 10:08 PM   #13
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I did not write down the differences in the sarsaparilla BUT you are talking different cultivars. From what I recall researching this is what I gathered many months ago. Most root beer makers prefer Jamaican, aka smilacaceae liliaceae, aka smilax aristolochifolia(?sp) or sometimes noted as smilax medica. Second and third choices are Honduran and Mexican types. Last being smilax aspera L aka smilax ovalifolia Roxb, aka Indian.

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Old 07-17-2013, 07:51 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy8 View Post
So Im looking at getting my Sarsaparilla root from a different (cheaper) source than my usual. I noticed though that this new source carries. "Jamaican" Sarsaparilla root in addition to the usual "Indian" root. Now from my other supplier, I think its the Indian I was getting, but what will be the differences between these two? Does anyone know if one will taste better than the other? Is one going to be rastafarian and the other not? Any info would be greatly appreciated.
OK, so let me TRY to chime in.

As a few people have noted, The Jamaican (aka Honduran) Sarsaparilla is the plant Smilax regelii, also seen as Smilax ornata

The Mexican Sarsaparilla is Smilax aristolochiaefolia, a plant of the same genus and family as the Jamaican variety

Indian Sarsaparilla, however, is from an unrelated plant: Hemidesmus indicus, also known as False Sarsaparilla. However, it is often used as a (less expensive) substitute for the other varieties, as it is widespread in India, and cheap to produce.

Personally, I have only used the Indian variety (only one I can readily get my hands on) . . . so I can't talk about difference in flavors. But East Coast friends of mine tell me the flavors are incredibly similar across all 3 . . . at least when it comes to making root beers. They PREFER the Jamaican, as they say it isn't QUITE as earthy as the Indian . . . but that could be just them . . .
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Old 07-19-2013, 01:20 PM   #15
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This is really great to hear. I never thought I would get this much info but it is all good stuff. Well I ended up getting the Indian and I know I have used Indian at least once because that's what I wrote on my ziplock bag I store it in. However, I have noticed it smells much different than what was in the bag. I guess we will see how it all comes out. Thank you all again for the detailed information on this.

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Old 07-27-2013, 03:54 AM   #16
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How many cups of Sassafras and Sarsaparilla can you get out of the 16oz bags on Amazon or other places?

all the recipes seem to call for volume not weight.

Chris

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Old 07-27-2013, 02:33 PM   #17
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I use about 3/8cp of each for one of my recipes. So its nice getting those big 16oz bags especially when there are times when you can't find those ingredients. So if you can stock up, I would.

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