Kottke linked to a fascinating article, a taste-testing of Root Beers by the NY Times Wine guy, that made me absolutely salivate yesterday afternoon. If the on-campus commissary had any Root Beer on hand I would have drunk a gallon, I was that thirsty.

Read the whole thing, it’s a trip.

I didn’t start out as a Root Beer fan. As a child I would have rather downed a bottle of cough syrup which, in hindsight, might have been a pleasant experience.

My brother Thad loved the stuff though. He was addicted to Root Beer floats and would forgo a hot fudge sundae or ice cream cone in favor of the float.

I remember one Summer particularly well because I played a young Patrick Dennis in a community theater production of Mame. Each night after the performance we’d stop at a vinyl-siding “restaurant” to get barbecue sandwiches and dessert.

I always had a HUGE sundae, Thad got Root Beer floats. Same thing at the local sunken dining room A&W. The Lionel train that served a border/coping/crown molding for the place would chug along and we’d eat onion rings, Thad with his Root Beer float.

I came of Root Beer age drinking IBC in a friend’s basement playing AD&D. Something about the bottles, the adjacent pool table and all the dudes: it was like an adolescent version of Cheers, only geekier and less Gin-soaked.

I still hold a special place in my heart for Root Beer, but I’m still not a float aficionado.

My other brother, Graham, prefers Sprecher’s, having spent some of his formative years in Wisconsin. Sprecher makes beer AND root beer, which is pretty cool. Me, I’ve only brewed about a half-dozen of my own beers, all fine results if not examples of their respective styles. Root Beer brewing, though, sounds quite fun.

Some folks do it, though, both Root Beer and actual Beer, quite well. I’ve never tasted their beer, but I’m led to believe that the Monday Night Brewery is great. Their post on moonshine got me thinking about a moonshine that Graham brought back from Tennessee last Summer.

The stuff had a definite aniseed taste, reminiscent of some Root Beers. It went really well with Lemonade, by the way. Could this be a new form of Arnold Palmer?

Which begs the additional questions:
Have you mixed liquor into an Arnold Palmer (not the man himself, but the drink)?
Are there cocktails that incorporate Root Beer?
Have you made your own Root Beer?
Have you made your own moonshine?

Me? I’m sticking to my current favorite beverage, the Vodka Gimlet. It’s neither moonshine, Root Beer (or float) nor an Arnold Palmer, but it will leave your cares floating away.

I’m going to take this advice for the batch I brew up on our Hilton Head Island vacation next month:

“Pour six ounces of vodka from a 750 ml bottle; replace with six ounces Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice (available from nearly any grocery), add a small amount of water for ice crystals, shake twice and store in the freezer overnight. Pour into a martini glass and serve straight up. The glass will immediately frost over. With this recipe, no cocktail shaker is required and the cocktail is not watered down by melting ice. You may use even the cheapest vodka, and no one will ever know.”

I may go the route of filtering some rot-gut vodka via Brita or coffee filters (semidebunked by the MythBusters crew but attempted in innumerable places).

I’ll post results here, but they’ll be skewed by the Rose’s lime in my Gimlet-in-a-bottle (Sting approves) experiment.

So, readers, I conclude thusly: Stay Thirsty!