It may be a wee bit early for this, but I was recently out with an old friend at Cafe Collette, where I literally spotted this bottle from across the bar and begged the bartender for a look (and maybe a little taste). It was seriously as yummy as it was pretty. ROOT was launched in 2009 by Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction in Philadelphia and is slowly making its way around the country. (It’ll be coming to New York City bars in April, and you can purchase it online here.) It’s based on an 18th-century recipe for an herbal root tea remedy made with sassafras, sarsaparilla and birch bark along with other wild roots and herbs. As a result of the Temperance movement at the end of the 19th century, a Philadelphia pharmacist removed the alcohol from the drink and renamed it “Root Beer” (Art in the Age has the cutest video to explain the history of ROOT).
The label was illustrated by Reverend Michael Alan, who also created a delicious-looking recipe. Root beer was literally the only soft drink I’d have as a child (yeah, just a little picky), so I was totally eager for a taste. ROOT tasted exactly like root beer but with a grown-up kick. I haven’t yet tried Art in the Age’s sophomore spirit effort, SNAP, which was inspired by a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe for lebkuchen (aka, ginger snap cookies). But it sounds pretty yummy! (You can find SNAP online here.) I’m also dying for some so I can make illustrator Reverend Michael Alan’s Snap caramels! — Amy A.