Introduction: Carbonated Homemade Sassafras Love Potion

Picture of Carbonated Homemade Sassafras Love Potion

Ingredients including Sassafras, cherry bark, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, cane sugar and vanilla cured together with love for days and served chilled - what else could this be other than a love potion?

Root Beer of course! And no fancy forced carbonation equipment is needed. But first, an explanation of sorts is needed on the ingredient list.

I have come to find that Sassafras is illegal to sell in the United States. The main ingredient in Sassafras oil is Safrole - a chemical that has been determined to be mildly carcinogenic by the Food and Drug Administration. Bugger.

Safrole can be removed from Sassafras root oils - but it requires specialized equipment and stringent processing. Not something the average home soda maker can do. The alternative is, processed concentrate :P

Yes, by entering this - I am saying you could win my heart with a bottle of root beer (or even better, home made ginger ale).

Step 1: Ingredients and Materials

Picture of Ingredients and Materials

Sterilized 2l bottle
1 Cup Cane Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Yeast
Filtered Water
1 tablespoon Root Beer Concentrate

Fill your bottle half way and then add about a quarter cup of chlorine bleach. Then fill the bottle with water to the top. Cap and allow to rest on its side for about fifteen minutes. Afterwards, rinse well.

Step 2: Add Ingredients

Picture of Add Ingredients

Using the Funnel

1. Add Sugar
2. Add Yeast and mix evenly

3. Add 1 Tablespoon of Root Beer Concentrate
4. Fill bottle halfway with cool water and rinse measuring spoon/funnel (concentrate is sticky)

Now cap the bottle and shake well

5. Fill the remaining space in the bottle with water.

Cap again and shake again.

Step 3: Carbonation

Picture of Carbonation

When the yeast combines with sugar and other nutrients (mainly water and other bits found in the concentrate) the yeast begins to grow. The by product is - CO2. To facilitate this process, store the bottle above 65oF - warmer is better.

At least two times a day, check the pressure in the bottle. Give the side of the plastic bottle a hard squeeze with your thumb. When the bottle is done, you won't be able to make a dent. At this point immediatly move the bottle to your refrigerator. Otherwise, you risk blowing your bottles creating a sticky icky mess.

You'll notice that after 10 minutes or so, the process has already started :D

After the drink has been refrigerated - serve and drink within a week. You can filter out the leftover yeast, but this is not necessary (just leave it at the bottom of your bottles).

Step 4: A Word About Alcohol

Two process occur as yeast makes ATPs (energy). There's an aerobic process and an anaerobic process. Aerobic generates energy by using oxygen - considering this is a sealed bottle, oxygen supply will drop off quickly.

The Anaerobic process is also known as fermentation. During strenuous usage of muscles, your tissues generate energy (quickly) using anaerobically - the by product being that ever so nasty Lactic acid. Our yeast won't be running any marathons, but it will be generating energy anaerobically. Instead of lactic acid, it will be making ethanol.

Not to worry though, ethanol production will be less than .5% by volume - that is, less than 1 proof. A healthy human body can process ethanol at a rate of about 1oz. per hour. This 2l bottle contains 1/3 of an ounce of ethanol (if we assume the maximum case scenario for alcohol production). So, if you were to drink the whole 2l bottle in a few minutes and IF we assume you absorbed all .3oz of alcohol, the alcohol would be out of your system in about 20 minutes after absorption (which can take 20 minutes).

So for a 12oz. ale (typically 6% alcohol by volume) - you need to drink almost 1.5 gallons of this home made drink rather quickly. For that matter, you probably should not be drinking that much - someone recently died from such stupid acts.

Now, if drinking alcohol is against your devout beliefs (Islam, Orthodox Judaism, Buddhism etc.) - you may want to avoid making this drink. However, I will have an "instant root beer" recipe soon. It just requires some fine tuning.

Similarly, if you are extremely sensitive to alcohol. You probably should avoid.

Of course, I am overstating any risk here ;)

Contrary to a comment -- this is not a Rum. There are many ratings/standards (typically age and/or proof) for what makes rum -- this varies country to country. By the most lax definition, this comes nowhere near rum. Hell, it's not even distilled. Not to mention, when was the last time you had a carbonated rum?

This almost (by technicality) is not a beer. But because there is a fermentation process (which happens while it is carbonating), it meets criteria. I guess you could call it a water beer (as was consumed ages ago due to low quality water). The "instant root beer" recipe, by technicality, is not a "beer" -- just flavored ;)


crogshockey (author)2015-03-26

Its beneficial

Kennethhackneyr97 (author)2014-06-12

Thats nice...

jiffymanager (author)2014-04-25


calmlunch (author)2014-04-20


cheshirecorn (author)2014-04-04

Its beneficial

clickyummy (author)2014-03-08


bearblue (author)2014-02-25


chimplost (author)2014-01-21

The unfortunate thing about Safrole is that it's useful in MDMA manufacture.

regaltaxlaw (author)2013-12-18

You can omit the yeast & use club soda instead of water. No Alcohol

clickworried (author)2013-08-27

The unfortunate thing about Safrole is that it's useful in MDMA manufacture.

My Diet Area (author)2013-08-03

The main ingredient in Sassafras oil is Safrole - a chemical that has been determined to be mildly carcinogenic by the Food and Drug Administration. Bugger.

dub2801 (author)2011-12-17

after its finished and you drink it should it be fizzy????

dkiehl (author)2011-04-07

You can omit the yeast & use club soda instead of water. No Alcohol

yav (author)2007-04-08

how I can get sassafras ?

trebuchet03 (author)yav2007-04-08

From the introduction:

I have come to find that Sassafras is illegal to sell in the United States. The main ingredient in Sassafras oil is Safrole - a chemical that has been determined to be mildly carcinogenic by the Food and Drug Administration. Bugger.

Safrole can be removed from Sassafras root oils - but it requires specialized equipment and stringent processing. Not something the average home soda maker can do. The alternative is, processed concentrate :P

Outside of the US, I don't know.

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-29

I'd say the link between Safrole and cancer is weak. I'd say this is junk science even.

The unfortunate thing about Safrole is that it's useful in MDMA manufacture. Junk science is merely the easy way to remove a precursor from the marketplace, your root beer be damned.

I personally have no issues with making my own homemade Sassafras tea, except for the medical side effects I experience from chewing on even a twig.

trebuchet03 (author)kill-a-watt2010-12-29

Didn't know it could be used to make Ecstasy.

Who could have guessed an ingredient for making Ecstasy could be harmful to one's health...
 - curse those FDA meddling Taiwanese!

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-30

cool, now search for "Avastin" and "death panels" ;-)

trebuchet03 (author)kill-a-watt2010-12-30

High toxicity AND clinically insignificant change in survivability. At least someone is finally doing their job and pulling it.

Only junk science would say such a small decrease or increase in survivability is meaningful - screw you FDA for passing this in the first place.

How much did that stuff cost anyway (and how much was made in the 2 years it was out)?

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-30

My understanding is that while Avastin doesn't save lives, for a small segment of the population it adds months or years of extra living. It just works very well for some people. on average, however, it's not very effective and has issues and side effects in many people.

trebuchet03 (author)kill-a-watt2010-12-30


If it's not repeatable, it's not science.

Let pharma go back to research and figure out why. Not until you know "why" can we address "how."

The internet seems to be full of claims of causality.

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-31

Nonsense, there's many examples of drugs that only work sometimes on some people and have unmanageable side effects when used on others. Personally, I can't handle the side effects of Claritin-D, but it's a godsend to many people.

The best parallel I can think of is AZT. A breakthrough, the very first drug approved to fight HIV, the drug still has serious side effects and was fiendishly expensive.

Since the patent expired, there are now several generic forms of AZT.

trebuchet03 (author)kill-a-watt2010-12-31

A median less than 3 months is not clinically significant except in circles of junk science.

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-31

yet it's approved for other uses, just not for breast cancer in the US. So it will be available (off-label and off-universal healthcare coverage) for anyone able to afford it.

I'm surprised at your complete unshaken faith in the FDA. You're certain that they are 100% benevolent?

trebuchet03 (author)kill-a-watt2011-01-01

Those that believe in junk science can pay for it.

kill-a-watt (author)trebuchet032010-12-30

I can't read the rest of the study. Are they feeding a reasonable amount that would indicate a reasonable exposure level in humans? Would two cups of strong tea per day be a significant risk?

I ask this because I understand that if you cram enough saccharine through a rat in the lab it might just develop cancer.

I've also failed to see the government act to stamp out the harmful practice of slow cooking pork while it is waifing in deadly hardwood smoke. (Ban anything that could be used to make a smoker, and have strict limits on the amount of Boston Butt one could buy. Check ID and make people sign their names in books that are forwarded to the police!)

Clearly there are what most people would say were appropriate reactions to risk factors, and then there are unreasonable freedom restricting policies in place designed to fight the war on (some) drugs. I think of the latter whenever I'm using my (no longer sold) iodine water purification kit in the backcountry.

Gravquian (author)yav2010-10-05


I'm from an (IL.) area not far from Vincennes (IN.). Sassafras trees are common here. But some do not like to boil the roots { why ??? }.

One alternative in our area is "Pappy's Sassafras (concentrate) Instant Tea". Sold at our local I.G.A. food-chain. A 12oz (355ml) bottle is ruffly $4US. The last bottle I bought had UPC code 0-76299-10012-7. Via; H&K Products Inc, 10246 Road P, Columbus Grove, Ohio, 45830 { phone: 419-659-5110 }. They also have a website;, you might visit. No, I am not an agent for either of those companies. I just really enjoy my hot (honey sweetend) tea. The tea can also be "infused' to make candy (think Horehound, or root-beer), jelly / jam, or other stuff.

Hope this was helpful. Best wishes to all.

harley_rly (author)yav2009-06-19

i know u asked 2 years ago but i have an answer...just look at the comment i posted at the top, i enjoy sassafras tea, and every spring go harvest enough sassfras root(not from the same tree, i wanna keep em alive)to last me through out most the year...but u do wanna harvest em in the spring

Wolfram (author)2008-12-30

I am Muslim. How can I avoid the alchahol thingy?

sabetts (author)Wolfram2010-05-30

Unfortunately for you, yeast turns sugar into CO2 and alcohol. There's just no way of getting around that. The amount of alcohol is minimal if that makes a difference for you. You can always get a tank of CO2, a regulator, and a carbonation cap and force carbonate it. But that sorta takes the fun out of it and its expensive. Good luck!

Zem (author)2010-03-29

 So, is there enough alcohol in it to make it "alcoholic"? Or can I, being 14, drink it? :)

sabetts (author)Zem2010-05-30

There will be very little alcohol in it. Maybe at most 0.5%.

Bisco (author)2007-01-18

do you konw how to do this with acual sasafrass it grows wild around here and i have no clue what i can do with it other then chewin on the leaves. im guessing i would use the roots for "root"beer thoguh huh?

harley_rly (author)Bisco2009-06-19

i know this is an old comment, but if ur still wonderin.... 1⁄4 oz. dried sassafras root bark, 1⁄4 oz. dried birch bark, 1⁄4 oz. dried sarsaparilla root, 1⁄8 oz. dried licorice root, a 1" piece unpeeled thinly sliced fresh ginger, 1 split vanilla bean, 2 qts. water How to make the Root Beer Place all above ingredients into a medium pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 2 hours. Strain root-infused liquid through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a plastic container that has been washed well with hot, soapy water. (Discard solids.) follow the instructions given in the instructable to finish...this will just take the place of the rootbeer extract

trebuchet03 (author)Bisco2007-01-20

To be honest, I don't know. After I found out that it was illegal to buy - I stopped reading and looked for alternatives :P You probably can find information by doing a google search -- but do keep in mind that it is carcinogenic :/

invisiblelight386 (author)2008-07-11

doesnt that root beer concentrate have alcohol in it

Potentially... I have orange extract that does have alcohol... But that doesn't mean minors can't buy it... Nor is it intoxicating - for those that have alcohol exclusion clauses in their religion (if you're that anal about it - oranges have a small amount of alcohol in them... so I've just ruined oranges for you :p) ;) Well, it would be intoxicating if you drank enough - but you'll throw up before that happens.

i went through my spice box and fridge and found that lots of flavorings have alcohol in them, like: vanilla extract 38%, strawberry extract 42%, pineapple extract 35%, and mint extract with 89% alcohol.

yeah, its just a byproduct of the extracting process(or so i heard)but the alcohol evaporates during cooking...and if tasted plain its extremely bitter(trust me)thats why its sold to minors anyways

harley_rly (author)2009-06-19

i dont know if sassafras trees grow in florida but i know they grow sumwhere in alabama where my brother was workin once, and here in oklahoma,we have sassafras trees growin everywhere...if u live here in northeastern oklahoma next spring in bout march or april look at the trees along the roadside, if u see sum covered with yellow flowers its prolly a sassafras tree(but make sure u get a picture of the trees flowers to positively identify it)and u can dig the roots up and dry em out to make sassafras tea(ill soon make an instructible on it)...or the better known, rootbeer.

mary_fabulous (author)2009-04-20

You can buy sassafras root bark at health food stores. Any place that has lotsa dried herbs.

Ortzinator (author)2009-03-31

I tried this and it was pretty bitter and nasy. But then again I don't like beer. Maybe I'll try more sugar.

trebuchet03 (author)Ortzinator2009-03-31

Sounds like something went wrong... It's "Beer" only in name ;)

Ortzinator (author)trebuchet032009-04-01

Yeah I had a yeast flavor in my mouth for hours. :( It also wasn't that fizzy. I think I was too impatient. (It fermented for about 18 hours.)

I_am_Canadian (author)2007-08-21

can you purchase root beer concentrate somewhere special, or can you get it you local supermarket? Thanks. i cant wait to try it!

Mo (author)2007-07-31

I'm looking for some pointers -- I made a batch of root beer in (bail-top) glass bottles. After one week, they were only beginning to form carbonation. I then had a week-long road trip to go on, so I reluctantly put the bottles into the fridge. Anyone know if I could / should take them out again, to continue fermentation? Anyone have experience with SF Bay Area tap water retarding fermentation? BTW, for aspiring pop-makers, I really recommend the book "Homemade Root Beer, Soda & Pop" by Stephen Cresswell, for its thorough, helpful, exciting, and historical instructions! Lots of variety, too.

rattyrain (author)Mo2008-12-23

It could be the tap water...I would use distilled next time.

trebuchet03 (author)rattyrain2008-12-23

Distilled water isn't so great for drinking due to a lack of mineral content (meaning, distilled will have a fairly bad taste to humans)... If you must use jug water - use drinking water.

rattyrain (author)trebuchet032008-12-23

I actually drink distilled water all the time (Indiana tap water is horrible) and love the taste, but that's just me...

About This Instructable




Bio: Engineer making renewable energy products for African entrepreneurs.
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