Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sarsaparilla soft drink

Sarsaparilla is a carbonated soft drink originally made from the native Central American plant smilax ornata. In Spanish the plant is known as zarzaparrilla. Traditionally it was made with sassafras root as well as sarsaparilla root.

Sarsaparilla root has been used commercially as a foaming ingredient and flavoring in root beer and other soft rinks for almost 2 centuries and is a traditional ingredient of ”root beer”. Root beer is an original American soft drink, first made by indigenous peoples of the New World.

Sarsaparillas were used in folk medicine in their homelands before entering international trade in the 1530s. They came initially from Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras. Until it went out of favor in the late nineteenth century sarsaparilla was in widespread use as a cure-all and tonic, especially for syphilis.

Charles E. Hires first experimented with sarsaparilla in his Philadelphia pharmacy in 1869, sold root beer made with sarsaparilla as a cold drink at the Centennial Exposition in 1876 in Philadelphia and organized his own company in 1890.
Sarsaparilla soft drink
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