Geek Trivia

Which Drink Is, Thanks To Federal Law, Now Artificially Flavored?

Root Beer
What Modern Computer Term Derives Its Name From Metal Casting?

Answer: Root Beer

Root Beer is known as such because it was originally made with a wide variety of roots including licorice root, sarsaparilla root, and sassafras root, among other plant ingredients.

The last listed ingredient has been phased out from all but the smallest of root beer batches, however, as the FDA ruled the oil of sassafras roots to be a carcinogenic substance. As a result, modern root beers have artificial sassafras root flavoring in order to stay on the right side of the FDA and avoid poisoning their customers. Higher end root beers, typically brewed in small batches, use a special (and much more expensive) sassafras root blend where the safrole oil has been removed.

Image by Steve Snodgrass.