Root Beer Vs Cream Soda

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: September 25, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

When compared, root beer and cream soda have several differences, but they have more similarities than you imagine. For one, they are both classic soft drinks and have been around for a while. 

They are also both sweetened using artificial sweeteners. Still, while root beer is known for its unique sassafras flavor, cream soda is usually flavored using vanilla, as well as other flavors.

Most beverage companies, including Barqs, A&W, IBC, and Mugs, that produce a brand of root beer also produce a brand of cream soda. This may mean that root beer and cream soda are opposites like cola soft drinks and orange sodas. 

So these companies try to achieve some balance by producing the two sodas, or root beer and cream soda have similar ingredients that make it easy to produce them together.

Whatever your questions about these two sodas may be, you will find some answers in this post, so read on!

Root Beer

Root Beer
Root Beer

Root beer is a sweetened carbonated drink traditionally made using sassafras extract from the root bark of the sassafras tree or sarsaparilla as the primary flavor.

The recipes for the soft drink have been documented since the 1860s. It was sold in stores before that, mostly as a syrup, and was marketed as a tonic at the time. Pharmacist Charles E Hires was the first to commercialize root beer made from sassafras in 1875, which he called root tea before changing its name to root beer.

In 1960, safrole oil from sassafras was banned due to its carcinogenicity, so manufacturers now use artificial sassafras flavoring, with some using a safrole-free sassafras extract.

Most commercially produced root beers contain filtered water, sugar, and safrole-free or artificially produced sassafras extract, along with other flavorings. Common flavorings used are vanilla, caramel, wintergreen, black cherry bark, liquorice root, sarsaparilla root, nutmeg, acacia, anise, molasses, cinnamon, sweet birch, and honey.

Most beverage companies produce caffeine-free and non-alcoholic root beer. The soft drink can also be made easily at home and is usually done that way as many people want to control the alcohol level in their drink. There are also commercially produced alcoholic root beers, known as hard root beers.

Popular brands of root beer are A&W root beer, Barq’s root beer, Mugs root beer, and IBC root beer. You can read here for a more detailed post on this soft drink.

Cream Soda

glass of cream soda
Cream Soda

Cream sodas are sweet carbonated drinks that are commonly flavored with vanilla. While several variations of the soft drink exist worldwide, Brown and red cream soda are the two major types of cream soda.

The first recipe for the soda was published by E. M Sheldon. Still, Alexander  C Howell was first granted a patent for his cream soda water, made with sodium bicarbonate, water, sugar, egg whites, wheat flour, and flavoring materials such as lemon oil, extracts of vanilla, and pineapple. The cream soda water was mixed with water and an acid such as tartaric or citric acid before drinking.

Many cream sodas today are made by mixing carbonated water, sugar or corn syrup, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, caffeine, and sodium phosphate.

Cream sodas around the world often have varying colors, including colorless, light brown, red, pink, orange, and blue. Popular brands of cream soda are A&W, Barq’s, Dad’s, Dr brown’s, Blue Sky, Big Red, and A-Treat 

Is Cream Soda just flavored Root Beer?

The answer is no. Root beer and cream soda are made using different flavors. While root beer is flavored using sassafras extract and other roots, herbs, and spices, cream soda is flavored with vanilla extract. 

Vanilla may be used as one of the flavors during root beer production, but it is not the main flavor. Root beer has more natural flavors in its production than cream soda.

How does Root Beer and Cream Soda differ?

Cream soda and root beer differ majorly in flavor. Cream sodas are typically vanilla flavored, but root beer has a distinct flavor from sassafras extract. They also differ in color: root beer is caramel-colored, and cream sodas have various colors, including red, pink, blue, colorless, and light brown.

Additionally, most root beers do not contain caffeine, but cream sodas are usually caffeinated. Cream soda also has more calories and sugar per serving than root beer.

Cream sodas are great for preparing ice cream floats and other creamy cocktails, while root beers make amazing root beer floats and mix well with alcoholic drinks to make cocktails, shooters, and long drinks. 

The sassafras-flavored soft drinks are used for cooking purposes, as a tenderizer for pulled pork and baby back ribs, and are perfect additions to barbecue sauce.

Homemade Root Beer and Cream Soda

Root beer and cream soda can be easily made at home. Homemade soda allows you to control the sugar level in your drink. It also allows you to decide how much alcohol your root beer or cream soda will contain.

Homemade Root Beer

Method

  • Boil 2 oz sassafras root, 2 oz juniper berries, and 1 oz hops in 8 qt of water for 20 mins
  • Strain the mixture and add 5 lbs of sugar
  • Allow mixture to cool to 55 – 60 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Add yeast and bottle the mixture
  • Allow mixture to sit for up to 6 hrs before consuming
  • Refrigerate to prevent continuous fermentation

Ingredients

  • Sassafras root
  • Juniper berries
  • Hops
  • Water
  • Sugar
  • Yeast

Homemade Cream Soda

Method

  • Add 1 ¼  cups sugar and 1 cup of water to a 1-gallon pitcher
  • Allow the sugar to dissolve
  • Add 2 cups corn syrup and ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • Stir until a good mixture is achieved
  • Cover and chill the resulting mixture in a refrigerator until 45 degrees Fahrenheit
  • After chilling, add 2 liters of carbonated water 
  • Funnel the mixture into a 1-gallon bottle and seal

Ingredients

  • Sugar
  • Corn syrup
  • Vanilla extract
  • Carbonated water

Other additional flavors may be added to the above method to achieve a suitable taste for you.

Is Root Beer Similar to Cream Soda?

bottle of cream soda next to root beer soda
Is Root Beer similar to Cream Soda?

Root beer and cream soda are both sodas and have similar soda ingredients. However, these ingredients are often in different quantities and combinations. Also, root beer has some vanilla flavor in its makeup, although not as strong as cream soda.

Can You Mix Root Beer and Cream Soda?

The answer is yes. You can mix the two sodas in a root beer cream soda float. This soda float mixes the two soft drinks with vanilla ice cream to create a delicious, creamy drink. Be sure to mix in a cup and not in a bottle.

Other drinks, such as the root beer Italian cream float, can also be made by mixing various brands of root beer and cream soda. So, you can explore the various options of brands while mixing.

Conclusion

Root beer and cream soda are classic drinks with amazing flavors that make them favorites for many people. They differ mainly in flavor and color: Root beer is sassafras-flavored with caramel color, and cream soda is typically vanilla flavored with various colors.

Making these sodas at home allows you to modify the ingredients and control the sugar and alcohol levels of the drinks. These soft drinks also make appealing floats and tasty cocktails. Whether you make any of the sodas at home or buy from a store, you are sure to enjoy your drink.