I attempted to make root beer using the flavor oils instead of using roots and real ingredients but I am struggling pretty bad. I tried to just make a 1 liter batch and the flavor is almost non existent and definitely not close to modern or old time root beer. I wanted to use wintergreen to give a flavor closer to what today's root beer is and I hoped the sassafras and vanilla extract would give both a traditional flavor plus some A&W flavor. To calculate the sugar needed, I basically looked off a 12 ounce bottle of soda for the calorie content and duplicated that into a cane sugar weight. Here is the recipe I used:
.28 cup cane sugar
1 liter water
1/4 tsp wintergreen extract (or 1/8 tsp oil dissolved into 1/8 tsp vodka)
1/4 tsp sassafras extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
After I get a decent flavor I can start playing with honey and dextrine to change the mouthfeel but I assumed this would at least have the flavor of modern root beer but it doesn't at all. I want to add more wintergreen flavor, but according to Wikipedia, 5ml of wintergreen would be equivalent to about 23 aspirins so my 1/4 tsp would be equivalent to about 3 aspirins in a 1 liter bottle. Having 1 equivalent aspirin per 12 ounce bottle of soda seems like it's really high but if I want to get more of the wintergreen flavor, how do I do this without getting the harmful effects from the wintergreen extract? I tried using wintergreen leaves but it basically has the same health effects.
Has anybody else tried using nothing but extract or oils to make root beer because that seems like oils would make it easier to have consistent flavor. Unfortunately, I can't seem to figure it out.