I'll go with thee to the lane's end... I am a kind of burr, I shall stick. Shakespeare, Measure for Measure

I write not to teach but to learn. Rebecca West

drew's writing:

  • "Always Forever Now," Ideomancer volume 13, issue 2
  • "Black Sun," Black Static # 32
  • "Bread or Cake" and "Pride/Shame,"2nd Annual Philadelphia One-Minute Play Festival
  • "Copper Heart," Polluto Magazine issue 5, A Steampunk Orange
  • "The Accomplished Birder's Guide to Overcoming Rejection," Last Drink Bird Head, edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer
  • "Another Night With the Henriksens," Player's Theater Halloween One-Act Festival NYC 2008
  • "Hating the Lovers," and "Pipe Down!" Geez Magazine: Thirty Sermons You Would Never Hear in Church
  • "Beth/slash/Nathan," Paper Fruit Blogiversary Contest

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Happy Root Beer Day, "Root" as steampunk beverage

Are you having a good International Root Beer Day? We are. This is Root, which imagines what root beer might have evolved into if Philadelphia pharmacist Charles Hires hadn't stripped the alcohol from it and marketed it as a temperance drink at the Centennial Exhibition. The way the story goes, colonists adopted root tea from the Indians, and fermented it a bit, making root beer. Imagine if Charles Hires had marketed his root beer to sinners and hellraisers instead of teetotalers and we might have had Root all our lives, and been the better for it, may my Methodist ancestors forgive me for saying so.

The picture above will school you in Root's ingredients, and lovely ingredients they are. I'm particularly impressed with the addition of smoky tea; that was a good choice. Having birch bark in Root is nice too, but spurs me to pedantry. Sassafras was once the chief ingredient in root beer, but is no longer, as sassafras root has been shown to cause heinous ailments over time. So if Root lacks sassafras, but contains birch, might it be regarded more accurately as a variant of birch beer than of root beer?

But let's not quibble. Instead, let's consider Root a harmonious marriage of two locally beloved beverages.

Because the makers of Root reengineered the past to produce an artifact from an alternate 19th century, I think Root qualifies as a steampunk beverage--by which I mean, it is not preexisting, like tea or phosphates or egg creams, but specifically created as the product of retrospective speculation. Is it the first?

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