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 Posted: Tue May 17th, 2011 09:56 pm
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Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 885
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Managed to find my other book, Laura E. Quarantiello's The Root Beer Book: A Celebration of America's Favorite Soft Drink.  Only one of the root beer recipes can be dated beyond '97 (claims it's a 1910 Root Beer recipe). There are a few that are claimed to be old but no clue when they date to. So from a re-enacting stand point their probably not useable. From a hobby standpoint they'd be great.

However, the more interesting thing about this book is it gives some history on root beer. Supposedly there are examples of bottles dating from the 1840s through the 1860s with root beer written on them. The first commercially produced root beer was produced in 1842 by a John Dearborn in NYC. Prior to Charles Hires first producing Hires Root Beer in 1876 all commercially produced root beer as well as any home grown root beers were strictly local drinks, Hires is the first nationaly commerical brand. Something that gets me though on the earlier mentioned bottles reading root beer is the legend that Hires originally called it Hires Herb Tea but Reverend Russell Conwell convinced him to call it root beer instead because the Philly miners would never drink something called tea. Now the way I've always read this as that it sounded like all root beers were called root teas or herb teas and it was the Hires drink that caused the change. Maybe it was just the Hires drink was changed.

The is another thing that if it's true may be of some interest. Supposedly in the  Harriet Tubman sold root beer along with gingerbread and homemade pies in order to support herself. Now the thing that really gets me is the sentence that mentions this seems to contradict itself. It first says she did this during the 1850s, but then it says she did it while she was serving as a nurse, spy, and scout during the war. It could be both or it could be that was supposed to say during the 1860s instead of during the 1850s.

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