I recently picked up two different drinks by the Sioux City bottling company, a root beer and a sarsaparilla. I’m glad I did, because I was only planning to buy their root beer.
I drank the root beer first thinking it was going to be the champ here. I was sadly mistaken. I figure I had to give a bad review eventually and this bottle seems as good a place to start as any.
The root beer was a typical carbonated soda with some root beer flavoring (it seemed like it anyway). They may use “real” ingredients, but it sure tastes like syrup to me. It was light, and had the same watery mouth feel that a lot of sodas have; unlike many other root beers I have tried. I would pass on the root beer.
That being said, I am glad I continued on and tried the sarsaparilla. It was pretty good, and had everything I was looking for in a root beer. Strong flavors, a velvety texture, and a good aftertaste that sticks around. After the initial offering, I have to say that I was impressed by the turn around. The sarsaparilla bottle claims to be the “granddaddy of all root beer” and I think they are close. I would, however, suggest that the granddaddy has a thing or two to teach the grand kids.
A little lesson here, unlike root beer, which uses sassafras as the main ingredient and flavor; sarsaparilla uses smilax regelii, better known as sarsaparilla vine. Sarsaparilla was originally used as a curative herb, thought to be effective against many different diseases in maladies, most notably as a cure for syphilis in Europe and the U.S. throughout the 1800’s.
A fun side note here, when The Stranger first appears in the Big Lebowski, played by Sam Elliott, he asks if the bowling alley serves sarsaparilla, to which the barman replies “Sioux City Sarsaparilla”.
That’s a good sarsaparilla.