What would I do without the Internet? While the boy was driving us to another adventure, we started talking about how far we could take our "no processed food" experiment. Soda pop came up since the boy likes it, but I never purchase it. He wanted to know if soda pop could be something we could make, which made me immediately think of the all natural, home brewed root beer I had enjoyed at Picante a few days before. So, using my handy dandy phone with Internet access, I had our answer a few minutes later. Yes, we could make our own root beer! We could also make lots of our own sodas using extracts, sugar, and yeast.
A quick trip to the Oak Barrel yielded the key ingredient: root beer extract. I had read that the supermarket root beer extract did not have the best flavor, and I knew that Oak Barrel would have a better product.
As with most things, making soda from scratch is much cheaper! It was just under $6 for enough extract to make 4 gallons (over 15 liters) of root beer. The other two ingredients are sugar and yeast, items that regularly reside in my pantry. (OK, OK... Time is not accounted for in this "it's so cheap!" equation, but it took less than 5 minutes to toss everything into the clean, 2 liter bottle and the trip to the Oak Barrel was on my chore route.)
By Sunday, we should be guzzling root beer floats! It will be our little homage to the Slow Food festival in San Francisco.