ROOT, a new, artisanally-produced root liqueur, recently released as a small-batch spirit by crafty collective Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in collaboration with the producers of Hendrick’s Gin and Sailor Jerry Rum, could be a good fit for us.
Based on a Pre-Prohibition recipe, but with a provenance going back to Native Americans’ Root Tea, Root weighs in at a bracing 80 proof and perhaps, teamed with a beer befitting such a potent spirit as a partner, could provide an interesting, if more muscular, up-sell of our standard Root Beer Barrel.
We’ve never really felt that comfortable among the growing number of establishments that provide their patrons with hand-crafted cocktails, retro or otherwise. Seeing The Parrot as kind of a throwback anyway, we appreciate that trend but never really knew how we fit in. This may be the opening we’ve been waiting for, our niche, The Premium Root Beer Barrel.
It is lively, and rose gold in color, this rustic spirit has a full, rich smoky flavor, inspired by an 18th century Pennsylvania folk recipe, which eventually evolved into Birch or Root Beer. The recipe stems from Root Tea, which goes back to the 1700s, when Native Americans taught the recipe to settlers. Over generations, Root Tea grew in potency, particularly in Pennsylvania, where the ingredients grew in abundance. During the Temperance Movement, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol and ironically rechristened it Root Beer. This is our creation and interpretation of a genuine potent, Root Tea.
ROOT is a certified organic spirit made with North American herbs and pure cane sugar. All botanicals are painstakingly selected and tested for purity. Using all natural, organic ingredients, like anise, birch bark, cloves and cardamom, with hints of spearmint and citrus, the sugarcane based liquor is distilled in limited batches to ensure maximum quality.”
I found this recent post on Chowhound:
“Got a bottle yesterday while looking for something else. Clerks at the PA state store says it was flying off the shelves. It is all natural and certified organic, an interesting plus.
I enjoy the bitters in my cocktails so thought I would enjoy this. Tried it straight up…it was a bit much, but then, I don’t drink many spirits with out a splash of water. So I added a splash of spring water, a cherry, half a teaspoon of sugar and one ice cube. (Okay, so perhaps the cherry was not necessary, but I was turning it into some sort of cocktail at this point). It was lovely! Great mix of flavors not usually found in a highball glass. Art in the Age’s marketing warns “It is NOT Root-Beer flavored vodka or a sickly sweet liqueur.” and they mean it. The root beer flavor comes across right away, but subtlety with an emphasis on the “root”. I would also add “Must love spices”. Very refreshing and exotic. I will be trying it without the water in the near future.”
In addition to a shout-out in the October Vanity Fair, you can read more about Root in The Quaker City Mercantile, and in City Paper here.
The packaging is worthy of note, featuring what looks to be a maple stopper and watercolor illustrations by Michael Alan.