Mother Earth Living

Homemade Soda: Anise Licorice Root Beer Recipe

Enjoy the bold flavors in this delicious Anise Licorice Root Beer recipe.
By Andrew Schloss
August 2012
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Nothing beats a tall, frothy glass of homemade root beer.
Photo By Aran Goyoaga

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Star anise, licorice root and vanilla bean are combined to create the perfect root beer in this Anise Licorice Root Beer recipe. This recipe is excerpted from Homemade Soda (Storey Publishing, 2011) by Andrew Schloss, a comprehensive guide filled with vibrant colors, punchy graphics and recipes such as Ginseng Soda and Orange Honey Ginger Ale. 

Anise Licorice Root Beer Recipe

Star anise, the dried star-shaped fruit of an Asian evergreen, is pungent with the aroma of licorice and hints of clove and cinnamon. Together, star anise and licorice root create a flavor so full-bodied and powerful that just a few ounces will flavor a whole barrel of root beer. In this aromatic soda I have amended the licorice-anise partnership with vanilla bean for its floral top notes, clove for depth, and brown sugar for mellowness.

Anise Licorice Syrup Recipe
Enough for 1 gallon brewed root beer

• 4 1/2 cups water
• 4 ounces dried licorice root, chopped
• 4 star anise
• 3 cloves
• 1 vanilla bean, cut into three pieces
• 4 cups dark brown sugar
• 2 tablespoon maltodextrin (optional)

1. Combine the water, licorice, star anise, cloves, and vanilla bean in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally; let simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Blend the brown sugar and maltodextrin (if using), and gradually add the mixture to the simmering syrup, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Let simmer for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then remove from the heat, let cool, and strain.

2. This syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.

1 serving

• 1/2 cup anise licorice syrup
• 1 1/2 cups seltzer

1. Pour the syrup into a tall glass. Add the seltzer and stir just until blended. Add ice and serve.

3 servings

• 3 cups water
• 1 cup anise licorice syrup

1. Combine the water and syrup in a 1-quart soda siphon. Charge with CO2 according to the manufacturer’s directions. Siphon-charged sodas can be stored in the siphon in a refrigerator for up to 5 days. Disperse as desired into tall glasses filled with ice, and serve.

1 gallon

• 3 quarts lukewarm (80–90 degrees) water
• 1 batch anise licorice syrup
• 1/8 teaspoon champagne yeast (Saccharomyces bayanus)

1. Combine the water and syrup in a large container. Test the temperature; the mixture should be at a warm room temperature, from 75 to 80 degrees. (If it is too hot, let it sit until it cools a bit. If it is too cold, warm it over low heat.) Add the yeast and stir until it is completely dissolved.

2. Pour the mixture into sanitized plastic bottles using a sanitized kitchen funnel, leaving 1 1/4 inches of air space at the top of each bottle. Seal the bottles. Store for 2 to 4 days at room temperature. When the bottles feel rock hard, the soda is fully carbonated.

3. Refrigerate for at least 1 week before serving; drink within 3 weeks to avoid overcarbonation.

Mixology: Black Licorice 

1. Prepare the anise licorice syrup as described, then carbonate as desired.

2. Add 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) Pernod, Sambuca, or other anise-flavored liqueur to 8 ounces (1 cup) Anise Licorice Root Beer and serve over ice.

Excerpted from Homemade Soda © Andrew Schloss, photography © Aran Goyoaga used with permission from Storey Publishing. 

Click here for the main article, Homemade Soda: Carbonation Methods, Flavorings and Recipes.

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