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I did a lot of research on this homemade birch beer recipe. If you’re like me, you like things to be simple. I’m sure we both don’t want to worry about getting things to the exact right temperature or soda bottles possibly exploding from fermentation. This recipe for birch beer doesn’t require any of that. It’s as easy as making a syrup and adding carbonated water. The syrup even lasts longer than its fermented counterpart.
If you’re from Pennsylvania, chances are you have at least tasted birch beer once in your life. My co-worker describes birch beer as a “manly root beer.” Birch beer has a good minty, medicinal taste. It is crisper and less sweet than root beer. However, if you like root beer, give this recipe for homemade birch beer a try and you might enjoy it.
The process for the homemade birch beer syrup is simple. Stir together the molasses and water in a pan and add the vanilla bean. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 30 minutes. Strain out the vanilla bean and while the syrup is still warm, add the birch beer extract. See? It’s easy!
The only thing I noticed about this birch beer versus the birch beer you buy at the store is that it lacks the tongue numbing quality which I think can be attributed to using birch beer extract and not the traditional herbs and birch bark. It is still a satisfying and refreshing soda that hits the spot without any added processed sugar.
Vanilla beans can be expensive, so I remade this recipe and instead of a vanilla bean, I used a tablespoon of vanilla extract. If you go this route, you can skip the straining part. See? Even easier!
Also, I found a new birch beer extract that is definitely more minty than the Shank’s birch beer extract I initially used. It’s called Autumn Red Birch Beer Extract and is from the Gnome Beverage Company.
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup molasses
- ¼-1/2 cup sweetener of choice*
- 1 vanilla bean, chopped in 1" pieces OR
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 4 Tbsp birch beer extract
- Carbonated water of choice
- Combine water, molasses, sweetener, and vanilla bean or vanilla extract in a pan. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 30 minutes.
- If using the vanilla bean, strain syrup into a jar. No straining is needed when using the vanilla extract.
- Allow the syrup to cool slightly and stir in the birch beer extract.
- Add 1 Tbsp of syrup per cup of carbonated water and enjoy!
The syrup will keep a few months if you store it in the fridge.
Which do you prefer: birch beer or root beer?