Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

Scrape black birch and it smells like wintergreen. Boil it and you’ve got the basis for an old-fashioned Americana soda that’s somewhere in the root beer family. This recipe is insanely easy, but with one (somewhat crucial) caveat: birch trees.

Ingredients:

  • Black Birch Saplings
  • Sugar (or Honey or Molasses)
  • Seltzer

Essentially, we’re making a syrup to add to seltzer. There’s a naturally-carbonated Birch Beer recipe that uses yeast and a short fermentation period, but this ain’t that. Honestly, the syrup-soda method is so much quicker.

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

First, you’re gonna need birch. And luckily, it’s the dandelion of trees. If there’s one, there’s a million, and the younger the better.

Take saplings and especially the new growth and strip the leaves. You’ll want to cut the birch into wine-cork-sized chunks. Volume-wise, you’ll want enough to fill a gallon (4 L) of space.

That being said, what even is a gallon of space, anyway? So figure enough cork-sized pieces to fill a miniature dachshund or a fat cat.

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

Put everything in a large stock pot and add 3-4 gallons (12-16 litres) of water. The exact amount doesn’t really matter because you’re condensing down to your final product.

Next, bring your pot to a roaring boil, turn off the heat, and then let sit overnight. This allows the birch to steep and impart its wintergreen flavor to the water.

In the morning, you’ll also notice that the pieces have become waterlogged and fallen to the bottom of the pot. Now you don’t have to push your pieces under the surface to ensure everything’s fully used.

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

Bring the pot back to a boil and continue to simmer until you have about 3 cups (0.8 L).

The visible water level will drop beneath your biomass, so just be mindful where things are as you near the end.

(At this point, your house is smelling pretty amazing, btw…)

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

Next, strain your liquid through a coffee filter or something comparable. I used my Chemex.

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

Now transfer your filtered liquid to a saucepan and add 2 cups (400g) sugar. If you’d rather substitute honey or molasses instead, go for it.

 

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

I know. I try to minimize my sugar intake, too. But you’re already going to such a fuss, so you might as well do it right.

 

Simmer just long enough to dissolve your sugar, then turn off your heat and let it cool.

Finally, add your black birch syrup to seltzer in a ratio of 1:1 over ice.

Enjoy.

Old-Fashioned Birch Beer Soda | thecrunchyurbanite.com

 

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