Been making my own root beer using store-bought extracts for a few months now...Zatarians, Homemade (the brand), Gnome.
I'm now ready to make the next step to making a root beer completely from scratch. Any tips on making my own extract? Here's one recipe I found from Charlie Papazian:
Ingredients for 5 gallons (19 L):
3 quarts (2.9 L) brown molasses
2 oz. (57 g) sassafras bark (US government regards sassafras as a
2 oz. (57 g) sarsaparilla (woody, shredded)
2 oz. (57 g) wintergreen (herb)
1/2 oz. (14.2 g) licorice bark of root (woody, shredded)
1 vanilla bean (chopped)
up to 1 lb. (0.45 kg) honey, corn or cane sugar to taste
Optional flavorings: teaberry, dearberry, checkerberry, boxberry,
spiceberry, clove, cinnamon, star anise, ginger, ginseng, juniper berries,
and malt extract.
Bring two gallons of water to a boil. Add the ingredients, without any honey or sugar, stir, and immediately turn off the heat. Cover and allow to steep for 2 to 4 hours. Strain the mixture and add cold water to a total volume of 5 gallons. Add honey and sugar to taste. Chill. Force carbonate with carbon dioxide in a soda siphon bottle or carbonate with pieces of dry ice. If stored for a long time, check the pressure to avoid possible explosions.
I also have a very simple extract recipe with sassafras and raisins from the book "Homemade Root Beer Soda & Pop" by Stephen Cresswell involving canning the extract in mason jars.
Can anyone share any tips on making an extract similar (in consistency and concentration) to those that are commercially available? I'd like to use a safrole-free sassafras, if I can find it somewhere.