amy azzaritodrinks

root (& snap)

by Amy Azzarito

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.

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  • As a proud Philadelphian, I can certainly speak to the yumminess of these liquors! They are fantastic!!

    Somehow at every party we host, they are the first bottles to be emptied…!

  • Just to make a supremely nitpicky correction: lebkuchen and gingersnaps are not remotely the same thing. For one thing, lebkuchen don’t have ginger in them. For another, they don’t “snap”; they’re soft and chewy. Like I said, nitpicky, but my German heritage demanded it.

  • We’ve drained one and a half bottles of Root over the past year, taking our time, sipping it slowly, and only serving it to our favorite friends. It’s not cheap! To save on shipping costs, when I was housesitting for a sister in Cleveland last Dec., I drove an hour through a blizard to Erie, PA just to buy another bottle of Root and Snap.

    We’ve found our favorite use of Root is poured over vanilla bean ice cream, along with Chicago’s own Goose Island root beer. FAN. TAS. TIC.

  • I live in Philly, we have been enjoying this awesome stuff since it sold out in minutes at local liquor stores.
    WARNING: Nobody survives the root (unless they are generous in sharing the bottle with many friends)

  • I was just writing about these today on my blog! I tried them for the first time this weekend at the Fair Food event here in Philly, the Brewer’s Plate and now I am obsessed!

  • In Philadelphia we love Root! I find Root to be more flexible than Snap – that is, you can drink it straight, while Snap really needs to be mixed. But basically anything you would like with Bourbon you’ll like with Root. MMM

  • I was working at this place called The Common in San Francisco and they would host events and have sponsors. One night, they were sponsored by ROOT. I was in awe of the bottle and the illustration of the label. I don’t drink, so I don’t know what it tastes like, but I snagged two bottles and now I’m using them for flowers!!!

  • My Philly apartment-mates have happily helped me empty a few bottles. (My favorite is SNAP mojitos!). We use the empty bottles for storing other foodstuffs, like popcorn kernels and nuts.

  • ON NOooooooo! The secret is out now! Root and Snap are absolutely delicious. I tried them at Thanksgiving dinner and the person who’d brought them assured they were top, top secret.

  • :-) These look great – and I love the labelling – however… I would not advise trying to market Root in NZ or Australia, where it would pretty much be the equivalent of calling your beverage f***. I’m not sure the Reverend would approve ;-)

  • Next time your in the mood for an “adult” root beer float try vodka with root beer on the rocks with whipped cream on top. I had it at a festival recently and thought it was the best invention since chocolate cake!

  • As a lady from Philly, I LOVE to see my local drinks showcased on D*S. Local bars and restaurants have hosted ROOT/SNAP cocktail competitions, and my roommates bakery has created root/snap confections this week. We drink root or snap in the winter in warm cider and snap with some cold fresh ice tea is a little glass of heaven. Here is a link of the cocktail competition winner’s recipe I re-created for SNAP:

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