It’s Spring and this is the time of year I start to crave a cold glass of my Mama’s Homemade Root Beer. If you’re not Cajun you may not have grown up drinking this classic brew. It’s what made Cajun mama’s cool way before the Kool-Aid moms!
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Root Beer Extract
Root Beer Concentrate was Emile Zatarain’s first product to sell.
Root Beer flavoring is and always has been a staple in our kitchen cabinet. All it takes is a spoonful of the dark concentrate stirred into a pitcher of water with sugar to make this drink. Originally, root beer came from sassafras roots served cold to refresh many in the hot southern Louisiana climate.
Surprisingly, there are a whole lot of people whose mamas never made root beer for them. My husband (Mississippi Man) was one of those who were denied this treat, until he met me. The first glass I served him was love at first sip. Thankfully our children like it also and now our grandchildren.
Some who taste it for the first time may not particularly care for it. I think it’s because they are expecting the fizz from a canned or bottled root beer they are more familiar with, but it’s not like that.
The sweet, non-carbonated drink that has a rich root beer flavor that brings back memories when that ice-cold sip hits my tongue. Memories such as when I was a teenager and we’d go to the Saint David’s Youth Organization (SDYO) meetings at “The Little Chapel” hall near our house. This country Catholic church is still endearingly called “The Little Chapel”, but its real name is St. David’s Chapel.
A faithful church lady served us homemade root beer at one of those meetings along with fresh lemons much like you’d serve iced tea. With it we ate homemade sugar cookies. At the time I had never had lemon in my root beer before and honestly I didn’t care for it. But minding my manners I kept drinking it along with bites of that sugar cookie. After a while, I didn’t mind the odd combination of those flavors. To this day, I still recall the complex taste of those refreshments and sometimes even crave them. I gladly assembled everything to take the above picture for you so I could satisfy that craving once again!
Homemade Root Beer Slush
My MawMaw Trahan used to purchase root beer concentrate from the Watkins salesman that visited her home. She did this for years before running to the store was an easy option. Besides making a pitcher of the drink she’d also pour it into a rectangle baking dish and freeze it for several hours. Then she’d take it out and lay it on the kitchen table. After it thawed a bit we’d gather around to watch with anticipation as she scraped the top of the frozen block with a long-handled spoon. Then she’d serve the slush to us in small glasses. No need to drive ten miles into town for a snow cone treat on those hot afternoons, or was there such a thing as snow cones or Icee’s back then?Print
2 quarts water
1 tablespoon root beer concentrate
1 cup sugar (or sugar substitution in the recommended amount)
lemon wedges (optional)
Fill a pitcher with 2 quarts of water.
Add root beer concentrate and sugar.
Stir until sugar melts.
Serve with ice and lemon wedges, if preferred.
Keep It Coming
Even though this may be considered an old-fashioned refreshment since 1889 before sodas were readily available it is still worth serving today. I hope you venture out and give this drink a try or if it’s been a while since you’ve tasted it you’ll soon stir up a pitcher or even scrape a frozen block of it to enjoy during this busy springtime or anytime.
“God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.”