YIELD: ABOUT 2 CUPS
Root beer contains many ingredients, but the most important for its flavoring is sassafras root. However, fresh sassafras is hard to track down due to certain FDA regulations (who knew?), meaning most root beer is made from artificial sassafras flavoring. For this recipe, I chose to use extract for both the sassafras and burdock root, which are easier to find at health food stores than dried root versions.
1 cup water
1 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
2 star anise pods
1/4 cup sassafras extract
2 tablespoons burdock root extract
In a medium pot, combine the water, brown sugar, molasses, star anise, and cloves. Bring to a boil over high heat, and cook just a few minutes until the sugars dissolve, stirring to combine. Remove from the heat, add the sassafras and burdock root extracts, and stir to combine. Once the liquid is cool, transfer to a container, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to let the flavors combine. Using a slotted spoon or strainer, remove the star anise and cloves. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
To make Root Beer Syrup: Stir up to 1/4 cup Root Beer Syrup, or to taste, with 8 ounces (1 cup) seltzer.