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What Thieves Drink: Root

September 24, 2009

root

“The first true American liqueur since the pre-Prohibition era.”

A few months ago I heard about ROOT, a drink that goes back to the 1700’s, when settlers picked it up from Native Americans. The Root tea was used to cure a variety of ailments, and the natives drank it as a herbal remedy. The brew grew in complexity and potency as it was passed down from generation to generation among the settlers. It gained the most popularity in Pennsylvania where the ingredients grew in abundance. The drink became a staple in colonial homes and public houses all throughout the northeast.

Then in the 19th century with the growing Temperance movement, Root was outlawed along with all other imbibers. A savvy pharmacist named Charles Hires dealcoholised the popular drink and added soda water, and coined it Root Beer to trick hard drinking coal and steel miners. The rest is history.

Now, the people at Art in the Age, a small collective of artisans have begun brewing the famous tea, bringing back all the American glory that was once lost. I think I might order a bottle.

If you’re thinking of doing the same, order from here: http://www.hitimewine.net/istar.asp?a=6&id=167620!1478

History of Root in a video:  http://www.artintheage.com/spirits-aita/

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