History of Sarsaparilla

The name "Sarsaparilla", often pronounced "Sasparilla", comes from the Spanish name for the Smilex regelii plant, whose roots were originally used as the basis of the first "soft drink", often the only non-alcoholic drink served in 19th-century American bars.

These roots were combined with a variety of other traditional ingredients such as vanilla, sugar, sassafrass, birch bark, and liquorice root to produce the unique flavor modern tasters usually identify as "root beer".

Many of these ingredients, and sarsaparilla in particular, had been widely used as herbal remedies in Native American and Latin American cultures for hundreds of years.  American druggists decided to concoct a combination of the ingredients and combine them with sugar and some other flavorings to make them palatable to the public, and the resulting drink was widely and successfully marketed as a tonic for a large variety of ailments in 19th century American society.

Our sarsaparilla is made the old-fashioned way, with 100% natural traditional ingredients.  Many of these ingredients are now hard to find, and almost everyone else uses artificial replacements.   We worked long and hard to find sources for de-safrolized sassafrass, imported Jamaican sarsaparilla root, and our other quality ingredients, so that we could deliver you an old-fashioned honest taste that's been hard to find anywhere for over 50 years.

Want to find out more?  Here are some references:

HISTORICAL INFORMATION
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarsaparilla_%28soft_drink%29
http://goarticles.com/article/The-history-of-Sasparilla/1450948/
http://www.essortment.com/history-rootbeer-41735.html

INGREDIENTS
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sassafras_albidum
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Root_beer

CARAMEL COLOR LAW CHANGES:
http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2012/03/07/148075310/coca-cola-modifies-caramel-color-to-avoid-cancer-warning-label
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caramel_color
The source we use:
http://www.sethness.com/caramel_color_products/classIV_Low4MeI.php