Root beer, a once prevalent fizzy flavour is now as scarce as a silverback gorilla. It used to be a staple of Fast Food joints and corner shops alike. A perfect accompaniment to a McRib in McDonald’s (also now sadly departed) or a great way to wash down a strawberry sundae after a round of ten-pin bowling. It always had a bit of a marmite quality: you were either a kid that loved it or shunned it and I guess in these homogenous mass-market times, not appealing to all demographics will see you sidelined.
These days your best chance for a taste of the eponymous root lies in swigging dentist’s mouthwash so I was delighted to see SodaStream representing the old skool (sic) flavours once again and offering Root Beer alongside cream soda and ginger beer.
On cracking the bottle, the initial prognosis was good. An aroma of caramel, licorice and cordite. A syrup that pours out with the appearance and consistency of tar (don’t spill this on your carpet) to turn fizzy tap water completely opaque. Staring into a glass of Root Beer is like staring into a pint of Guinness. Somewhere in there lies the fall of nations, the death of dreams, the splitting of the atom. Abandon all hope all ye who enter.
And what of the taste? Overpowering, sweet, complex and best taken from a seated position. It’s not something I can describe well, but I’ll try. An initial dash of kerosene, a sear of carbonation, an infusion of herbal remedies and strychnine followed by a two note aftertaste of cherry and roses.
As you drink it you feel your teeth crying out for toothpaste. It has no value for refreshment and more than one glass might put hairs on your eyelids and send a small child rabid. Nonetheless, I can’t offer any criticism. For a fizzy drinks connoisseur this beverage is pure magic. It is everything a fizzy drink should be: No subtlety, incredibly sweet and a deranged flavour. I would definitely heartily recommend it to consenting adults everywhere.
Want to go Root Beer crazy? Snap at 6 bottles of the stuff for a bargain price here.