Monday, August 27, 2012

Meal-Time Activities: Homemade Root Beer

By Deborah Pace Rowley
If you haven’t made homemade root beer with your kids, you simply must! No childhood is complete without watching dry ice transform an ordinary drink into a bubbling magic potion at least once! And it is so much easier and cheaper than you think that it would be. Recently we made a 5 gallon batch of creme soda for around $7.50. I was so excited to find the creme soda extract right next to the root beer extract on the shelf at my grocery store. (My kids have decided that homemade creme soda tastes almost like the butter beer that we had at Harry Potter World. All it needs is the thick layer of carmel whipped cream. We are going to figure out how to add that next! Yum!) The bottle cost about $2.50. Then I bought a 5 lb. block of dry ice for around $5 dollars. 
All you need to do is mix the extract with sugar and water according to the package directions. Then throw in some dry ice and watch the wonder on your kids faces. Remember not to screw on the container lid or the pressure can cause the container to explode. (Thanks for the reminder, honey! ) Also do not touch dry ice with your bare hands. And use the dry ice quickly after purchasing it. It will evaporate completely, even in the freezer, in less than 24 hours. We emptied a pitcher full of the creme soda out of our 5 gallon jug before adding the dry ice so that creme soda wouldn’t bubble and froth all over our back deck. It seemed too full otherwise. Then we added it back in after the dry ice had worked its magic and the bubbling had slowed. I would recommend doing this outside on your deck or patio or you might end up with a sticky kitchen. This is the perfect activity to do while you are grilling some hamburgers on the backyard BBQ. Enjoy!

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