Root Beer Syrup

4½ c. water
¼ c. raisins, coarsely chopped
2 oz. dried sassafras root
¼ oz. dried wintergreen leaves
4 star anise
½ vanilla bean, cut into three pieces
2 c. light brown sugar
2 tbsp. maltodextrin (optional)

Combine the water, raisins, sassafras, wintergreen, star anise, and vanilla in a large saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally; let simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Blend the brown sugar and maltodextrin (if using), and gradually add the mixture to the simmering root infusion, stirring until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from heat, cool for 30 minutes, and strain.

To serve, mix ½ c. syrup with 1½ c. seltzer.  The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.


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