Fermented Root Beer

One of our Winter favorites! We recommend hitting up any great herbal store or apothecary to grab the sassafras, sarsaparilla, and birch bark. We love to shop online at Mountain Rose Herbs, and locally here in NYC we like to shop at Flower Power, Anima Mundi Apothecary, or Radical Herbs.

A quick note to this recipe is that you will need to make a Ginger Bug for this recipe. The bug serves as a starter to start the inoculation process to allow the root beer to ferment.



  • 2 tablespoons fresh, grated ginger

  • 2 tablespoons cane sugar

  • 2 tablespoons water


  1. Mix all 3 ingredients in a jar. Just toss them into the jar, put the lid on, and swirl it around to combine.

  2. Each day for 5–7 days, add the same equal parts of your 3 ingredients to the mixture and swirl.

    • 2 Tablespoons fresh, grated ginger

    • 2 Tablespoons cane sugar

    • 2 Tablespoons water

The Ginger Bugs are now ready to use for a variety of purposes. [You can also refer to Contraband Ferment’s Elderberry Soda recipe for one example].



  • 1 gallon of water

  • ½ cup dried sassafras bark

  • ½ cup dried sarsaparilla root

  • ½ cup dried birch bark

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 cup sugar

  • ½ cup molasses

  • ½–1 cup ginger bug

  • 3 slices of fresh ginger root


1. Combine the water and herbs in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat

and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and let the

sassafras tea come to room temperature.

2. Strain out the herbs and put the tea into a wide mouth gallon jar.

3. Stir in the sugar, molasses, ginger bug, and ginger slices, then cover the

jug with a piece of cheesecloth secured with a rubber band.

4. Put the jar in a quiet corner in your kitchen and let the root beer ferment.

Give it a vigorous stir once per day. It should start to bubble up within 3 to

4 days, then it’s ready to bottle.

5. Strain out the ginger pieces and transfer the root beer to flip top bottles

using a funnel, making sure to leave an inch or 2 of head space.

6. Let the bottles sit at room temperature to build up carbonation for at least

a week before drinking your root beer. Serve cold and enjoy!