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Requested Recipe:

SARSAPARILLA WINES


"Is the sarsaparilla bean suitable for making wine,
and if so, do you have a recipe you could share?"
Peter Rodger, Brisbane, Queensland Australia




SARSAPARILLA


Sarsaparilla wine can be made several ways that I know of, but using the bean is beyond my experience. Usually it uses the ground dried roots of any of several tropical American plants of the genus Smilax, but especially Smilax aristolochiaefolia or Smilax zarzaparrilla of Mexico. However, it can also be made with the leaves of those plants, or the leaves of Aralia hispida or Aralia nudicaulis of North America. These latter two plants produce clusters of small white flowers which can also be used to make wine, although its flavor will be quite different than wine made from the roots or leaves described above.

Below are four recipes using the roots, leaves and flowers, as mentioned.


SARSAPARILLA WINE (1)

Bring 1 pints water to boil and stir in sarsaparilla, caramel and sugar. Stir until sugar and caramel are completely dissolved. Remove from heat and add remaining water. Stir in tartaric acid and yeast nutrient, cover and set aside to cool. When at room temperature, stir in crushed Campden tablet, recover and set aside for 12 hours. Add activated yeast and ferment 4 days, stirring 2-3 time per day. Pour liquid through nylon straining bag into secondary and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten if desired, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. May drink immediately, but improves with 6 months aging. [Recipe adapted from C.J.J. Berry's First Steps in Winemaking]


SARSAPARILLA WINE (2)

Bring water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, wash leaves, chop coarsely and place in primary. Add citric acid, yeast nutrient and boiling sugar-water. Cover and set aside to achieve room temperature. Stir in crushed Campden tablet, recover and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast and recover primary. Stir twice daily for 5 days and strain liquid into secondary. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten if desired, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. May drink immediately, but improves with 6 months aging. [Recipe adapted from Leo Zanelli's Home Winemaking from A to Z]


SARSAPARILLA WINE (3)

Bring water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, thinly slice bananas with skins intact and put in primary with sarsaparilla, citric acid, tannin, and yeast nutrient. Pour boiling water over ingredients in primary, cover and set aside to cool. When room temperature, stir in crushed Campden, recover primary and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast, recover and stir daily for 10 days. Strain liquid into secondary, top up and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten to taste, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. Age 6 months before drinking, although 12 months is better. [Recipe adapted from C.J.J. Berry's 130 New Winemaking Recipes]


SARSAPARILLA WINE (4)

Bring water to boil and stir in sugar until dissolved. Meanwhile, sarsaparilla flowers and place in primary with acid blend, tannin and yeast nutrient. Pour boiling water over ingredients in primary, cover and set aside. When cooled to room temperature, stir in crushed Campden, recover primary and set aside 12 hours. Add activated yeast, recover and stir daily for 6-7 days. Strain liquid into secondary, top up and fit airlock. Rack, top up and refit airlock every 30 days until wine clears and no new sediments form over 30-day period. Stabilize, sweeten if desired, wait 10 days, and rack into bottles. Cellar wine 6 months before tasting. [Author's own recipe]


My thanks to Peter Rodger of Brisbane, Queensland Australia, for requesting this recipe.


This page was updated on August 1st, 2000

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