Flavour Revolution – Root Beer

Safe Suds

The Sip Advisor began his wicked ways, many moons ago, with the enjoyment of root beer. It could be described as the gateway libation that led to this endeavor and made me the booze jockey I am today. Let’s dig a little deeper and take a look at some of the companies that brought this beautiful drink to our lips:


Created in 1876 by Charles Hires, a pharmacist from Philadelphia, Hires Root Beer has the longest history of all American soft drinks. That includes Coca-Cola! Hires’ root beer business began with selling 25-cent packets of powder that would produce five gallons of the drink. I wish that deal was still available to the Sip Advisor! Hires ran into some issues early on thanks to calling his soda “beer” (in order to entice blue collar folks). The Temperance Movement looked to eliminate the pop, but Hires proved there was little to no alcohol content and even went so far as to mock the movement, calling his root beer “The Temperance Drink”.

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!

I`m a Dr. Pepper fan, but I would certainly never argue with the Caped Crusader!


When Roy Allen joined forces with Frank Wright to open the A&W restaurant chain (one of the first dining chains in the U.S.) in 1922, they had no clue how successful their endeavour would prove to be. A feature of the fast food outlet was their root beer, which originally sold for 5-cents per serving. Allen had previously operated roadside root beer stands in parts of California. The Great Root Bear has been the company’s mascot since 1974 and was first used in Canada. Nicknamed Rooty, the bear has largely been replaced by the A&W Burger Family, but he still pops up from time to time, usually with a fresh mug of root beer close by.


Officially known as Barq’s Famous Olde Tyme Root Beer, up until 2012, Barq’s has existed since 1898. I remember the brand becoming quite famous in the 1990’s upon the release of their “Barq’s has bite!” ad campaign (featuring comedian Nick Swardson). Anything was better than the company’s original slogan of “Drink Barq’s. It’s Good.” The soda was created by the Barq’s brothers, Edward and Gaston, who began experimenting with beverages in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Barq’s is rare in the root beer world, in that it contains caffeine, while most similar products don’t. That means that it certainly does pack a bite.

Hold My Root Beer


Beginning as Belfast Root Beer, brewed out of San Francisco in the 1940s, the company eventually changed the product’s name to Mug Old Fashioned Root Beer. As is common with most root beer ventures, a Cream Soda variation was also released, but is less common to find. Mug was acquired by PepsiCo in 1986, joining their long lineup of beverage options. Mug’s mascot is a bulldog named Dog (how very creative!), whose adventures are featured in an online comic on the brand’s website. I don’t know about all you little sippers, but I don’t mind sharing my drinking experiences with a cute pooch!


The Dad’s brand name is derived in honour of all the fathers out there that used to brew their own root beer for their families, back in the day. Dad’s was an innovative line, being the first beverage to take advantage of the six pack format and half-gallon bottle options. Like A&W burgers, Dad’s Root Beer also follows a family-style orientation with ‘Papa’, ‘Mama’, and ‘Junior’ products. A popular marketing tactic used by the company in the 1940’s was to sell the quart-sized Mama for only 1-cent, with the purchase of a half-gallon Papa. Dad’s ads appeared in the 1946 movie The Stranger, directed by and starring Orson Welles.

Flavour Revolution: Root Canal

Jan 26

  • 2 oz Root Beer Schnapps
  • 0.25 oz Peppermint Schnapps
  • Top with Dr. Pepper
  • Garnish with a Maraschino Cherry

If I had to pick a favourite root beer, amongst the fine choices above, I think I’d have to go with A&W. They get the nod because I can easily combine their soda with delicious burgers and scrumptious fries. Plus, you can never take anything away from a frosted mug, which the restaurant is happy to fill for you!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
I knew from the moment I found this recipe, that it would be a good one. Sure, Peppermint Schnapps is an odd addition to the mix of Root Beer Schnapps and Dr. Pepper, but it all came out okay in the wash. There was a brief hint of peppermint flavour, but it’s very light and doesn’t ruin the other soda tastes.

October 6 – Obsession

Curious Collections

Growing up as an aspiring Sip Magnate, I had a number of collections I was dedicated to: I collected hockey cards, wrestling figures, DVDs, and now liquor. Today, I’d like to look at some of the more specialized collections in the world, but don’t worry, I’m not here to gross anyone out and won’t look at the kind of people that collect their own ear wax or belly button lint. Here are some of the most interesting collections I found:


It’s hard to believe there’s even a culture of people that collect various beverages, but it does bring up a sort of nostalgia when you see a beloved product from your childhood that is no longer being distributed. The one problem with this collection is that you can only look at it and not taste it, which is the whole reason you probably enjoyed the product in the first place. I guess you could drink the beverage and just keep the can. That would make your collection even rarer.



This dude (Joseph W. Lauher) must really be into BDSM to have so many pairs of handcuffs in his possession. I guess they do provide interesting stories and history, as well, but you can’t deny the handcuffs roll in sexual deviancy. Lauher has everything from thumbcuffs to leg irons and has even created pages about escape artists. If this gets you going, not that there’s anything wrong with that (Mrs. Sip!), you might want to check out his collection.

Sugar Packets

Phil Miller began his collection of sugar packets in 1978. While you wouldn’t think there’s much variance to packets around the world, you have to remember that most companies make their own packets complete with their own branding. Miller has two pages dedicated to packets found at restaurants and another for hotel finds. There’s even three pages full of U.S. presidents adorning the coffee enhancing products.

Chocolate Wrappers

Let’s be honest, everyone loves chocolate. Even those that suffer from lactose intolerance will find a loophole to be able to enjoy the cocoa stuff. Once you’ve eaten the treat however, is there really any reason to keep the wrapper. I say no, but Martin Mihál may tend to disagree. He has collected wrappers from around the world… seriously, it looks like every country is represented on his site. Brotha surely has diabetes by this point!


Scratch Cards

Mrs. Sip loves scratch cards. When we’re out grabbing groceries, she’ll often pick up a card for fun and the chance to win a couple dollars. Thankfully, she hasn’t taken her passion for scratching to the level Victor Paul Taylor has. Taylor could be sitting on a gold mine of winnings, but he may never discover how much money is actually there. He keeps his precious card in mint condition, including never having scratched any of the possible winners.


Dr. Val Kolpakov may have taken his dentistry too far with this obsession. Sure, toothpaste comes in a variety of styles and flavours, but does that make them special? I suppose the same can be said for my liquor collection, but at least I drink the stuff. You just know that this is the kind of guy that gives out toothbrushes and toothpaste for Halloween… only his stuff is vintage, which means expired and probably not worth a dime.

toothpaste collection


Ma Sip loves her festive napkins, but even she would never take her passion so far as to collect the mouth and hand wipes. Helena Vnouckova, on the other hand, has done exactly that, putting together a collection of napkins that would be suitable for any occasion. Although, I doubt she ever puts them out for use and instead hordes them for her selfish needs. Similarly, there’s also a guy who collects moist towellette packs. Perhaps the two should hook up!?

Condiment Packets

I’ve shared my love of various condiments with all you little sippers. And while I thoroughly believe that sauces make a meal, it has never crossed my mind to collect these condiment delivery devices. Like the sugar packets above, each eatery usually brands their own packaging, making items unique. I wonder if he has any discontinued sauces that could go for great sums of cash on the condiment black market!?

Drink #279: Obsession

Obsession Drink Recipe

  • 1 oz Amaretto (I used Disaronno)
  • 1 oz Crème de Cacao
  • 1 oz Chocolate Liqueur
  • Top with Milk
  • Garnish with Chocolate Shavings

After researching for this article, it seems that if an item exists, someone collects it. Join me tomorrow as we look at celebrity collectors and the odd things they choose to spend their millions of dollars on!

Sip Advisor Bar Notes (4 Sips out of 5):
My favourite part of this cocktail was the Chocolate Shavings… that’s not to say the other ingredients weren’t good, as well, but the chocolate was delicious and it being dark and bitter helped balance the overall sweetness of the drink.