Root Beer & Tootsie Pops

La versión español está después de la versión inglés.

ROOT BEER SODA. If you’re not from North America, you may not know what that is. And, if you don’t know what it is, it’s not easy to explain. We’ve tried. So, while we were in Las Vegas (which, believe it or not, is in North America), I thought I’d find the old-fashioned hard candy called “Root Beer Barrels.” Not the actual soda but, I thought, at least our friends could sample the flavor. Unfortunately, I never found my way to a gourmet candy shop, but I did manage to find a sugar-free store-brand at CVS Pharmacy on the Las Vegas Strip. (Pharmacy shops in the United States are usually more like supermarket/variety shops that include a pharmacy.) I haven’t yet shared these CVS root beer barrels with our friends because I wanted to try one first and make sure the imitation tasted like the original. I tested one last night. It’s perfect.

Since I can’t share samples with everyone, I’ll try and describe root beer. It’s a soft drink (soda) made using the bark of the sassafras tree. It’s usually non-alcoholic (how San Geraldo and I know it) and it has a thick, foamy head when it’s poured. It was made centuries ago by the indigenous populations of North America. Oh, and it’s excellent in a “root beer float,” root beer and vanilla ice cream. Sadly, I can’t do that with the candies.

I ALSO RETURNED with some Tootsie Roll Pops to share, one of my favorite candies from my childhood. A ball-shaped lollipop filled with a “Tootsie Roll,” a chewy taffy like candy, the first penny (one-cent) candy individually wrapped in America (in 1907). I haven’t had one myself. I’d have to keep my Invisalign braces out of my mouth too long if I wanted to truly enjoy it, although it really is impossible to patiently suck away at a Tootsie Pop. One lick, three licks, bite and chew!

Oh, yes, the braces are back — not the retainers. Another 9 months maybe. I told the orthodontist she really needed to do a better job of telling me what’s going on. Anyway, my life is filled with sweetness and I’m still smiling.


ROOT BEER SODA. Si no eres de América del Norte, es posible que no sepas qué es eso. Y, si no sabes qué es, no es fácil de explicar. Lo hemos intentado. Entonces, mientras estábamos en Las Vegas (que, créanlo o no, está en América del Norte), pensé que encontraría los caramelos duros a la antigua llamada “Root Beer Barrels” (barriles de cerveza de raíz). No la soda real pero, pensé, al menos nuestros amigos podían probar el sabor. Desafortunadamente, nunca encontré mi camino a una tienda de golosinas gourmet, pero logré encontrar una marca de tienda sin azúcar en CVS Pharmacy en el Strip de Las Vegas. (Las tiendas de farmacia en los Estados Unidos suelen ser más como tiendas de supermercado/variedad que incluyen una farmacia). Todavía no he compartido estos root beer barrels de CVS con nuestros amigos porque quería probar uno primero y asegurarme de que la imitación fuera como la original. Probé una anoche. Es perfecto.

Como no puedo compartir muestras con todos, intentaré describir “root beer”. Es un refresco (soda) hecho con la corteza del árbol de sassafras. Por lo general, es sin alcohol (como lo saben San Geraldo y yo) y tiene una cabeza espesa y espumosa cuando se vierte. Fue hecho hace siglos por la población indígena de América del Norte. Oh, y es excelente en un “root beer float” (flotador de root beer), root beer y helado de vainilla. Lamentablemente, no puedo hacer eso con los dulces.

TAMBIÉN REGRESÉ CON algunos “Tootsie Roll Pops” para compartir, uno de mis dulces favoritos de mi infancia. Una piruleta en forma de bola llena de un “Tootsie Roll” (un caramelo masticable, el primer caramelo de un centavo envuelto individualmente en los Estados Unidos (desde 1907). No he tenido uno. Debo mantener mis brackets de Invisalign fuera de mi boca demasiado tiempo si quisiera disfrutarlo realmente, aunque realmente es imposible chupar pacientemente un un Tootsie Pop. ¡Una lamida, tres lamida, mordida y masticar!

Oh sí, los brackets han vuelto, no son retenedores. ¿Otros 9 meses tal vez. Le dije al ortodoncista que realmente necesitaba hacer un mejor trabajo para decirme lo que está pasando. De todos modos, mi vida está llena de dulzura y sigo sonriendo.

Thanks to CandyWarehouse for this image of the inside workings of a Tootsie Roll Pop.
Gracias a CandyWarehouse por esta imagen del funcionamiento interno de un Tootsie Roll Pop.

Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

32 thoughts on “Root Beer & Tootsie Pops”

  1. Oh Tootsie Rolls!!! LOVED them!
    To add to the confusion/explanation… Canada we call ‘soda/soft drinks’ ………pop! Go figure, eh?

    1. Jim:
      ALL of Canada calls it “pop”? In the USA it varies considerably. In NYC, it’s soda. An hour north of the city, it might be pop. Fourt hours away, in Boston, it’s all called tonic. As in: What kind of tonic do you want? Coke, please. In South Dakota, it’s pop. And some parts of the southern United States, it’s all called coke! As in: What kind of coke do you want? Grape, please.

      1. Laur:
        It’s funny how terminology changes back and forth so quickly as you travel around the States. Just an hour north of NYC, it’s I think commonly called pop. Four hours to Boston and it’s all called tonic (as in, What kind of tonic do you want? Oh, I’ll have root beer.)

  2. Root beer, yay!! My favorite soda of all time! I remember when root beer barrels were part of my penny candy favorites. And nothing beats a root beer float. Purple cows don’t cut it for me. I need to find the sugar free barrels. Mugs makes the best diet root beer as far as my tastes go. Tootsie Pops, yay! They seem to be smaller now and I don’t think it’s because I’m larger. I miss penny candy *sigh*. By the way, your smile is worth all of the effort put into it 🙂

      1. If you’d done that, Debra would’ve never gotten stuck on the chandelier! That would’ve been a crying shame 🙂

    1. Deedles:
      My favorite soda, too, and the Kid Brother’s. Whenever we’re together in NY, we both order it. Jerry and i drank in Vegas this trip, too. SO good. I, too, love Tootsie Pops. Was just watching old commercials on YouTube. As for the teeth, they’re not yet perfect, so I’m not sorry to continue with the braces until they are. But i had hoped to be done with braces before I turned 65 and that’s NOT going to happen!

  3. I have always loved root beer. I get a craving for it every now and again, so I go to A & W to have a frosty ice-cold mug of it (diet). Yum yum yum!

      1. Jennifer:
        I thought I had a memory of root beer Tootsie Pops! SO good.

    1. Debra:
      I don’t think I’ve ever been to an A&W although I do love their root beer. And Barq’s! Jerry and I both drank root beer while in Vegas. And the Kid Brother and I always order when we visit him in NYC. I DO love it.

    1. Cheapchick:
      I’ve never been a fan of Dr. Pepper, although i did try to like it in the ’70s because I wanted to “be a Pepper.” Root Beer Barrels taste just like the soda. If you like hard candies, they’re great. I don’t tend to like hard candies because I simply chew them. I DO make an exception for Tootsie Pops. I LOVE them.

  4. How funny I was just thinking of the Root Beer candies just the other day. I think it was because of a seeing an ad for Old Fashion Candy.
    I love Root Beer and once in a while in summer we will make a float and A and W had the best ones.
    Goodness I just looked up and saw Debra saying the same thing. A and W is just the best !
    Must go to the store today.

    cheers, parsnip

    1. Parsnip:
      Jerry has memories of A&W. I love their brand but I don’t think I ever went to an A&W stand.

    1. anne marie:
      I don’t know why your comment went into spam… maybe the link, but I found it today! I’ve never developed a taste for birch beer. I love Barq’s root beer… and Hires, too.

  5. My father loved root beer barrels! But I enjoy more a root beer float myself. I’m not sure they have them, or if they ship to Spain, but if you google Vermont Country Store….they carry all those hard to find candies from yester year. I get their catalog….and have ordered many a retro or vintage item, and their food items are actually very good. They carry all those tried and true products everybody used to love, but can’t find anymore.

    1. Mistress Maddie:
      I LOVE root beer soda and root beer floats. Sadly, Vermont Country Store doesn’t ship internationally. When we moved to Spain, we decided that, if we couldn’t buy it here, we didn’t need it. I’d make an exception for root beer!

  6. It is not beer, and it is not made from roots, strange name. Good stuff. Europe has so many good things that are hard or impossible to find here.

    1. David:
      Apparently, the roots of the sassafras tree were also used. So there’s that. As for the “beer,” Charles Hires (of root beer fame) thought it would be more marketable to Pennsylvania coal miners if he called root BEER as opposed to root TEA!

  7. Root beer and ginger ale! Not together… but they are my two favorite sodas. Or, were. I gave up drinking soda in the early 80s. I’ll have a soda once in a while, but not often. Except this: for decades now I’ve been mixing seltzer or bubbly mineral water with fruit juice (apple, grape, cranberry, no added sugar) for a nice, healthy soft drink. Better than sody-pop, except for the occasional root beer or ginger ale!

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      They’re my two favorite sodas, as well. I don’t drink soda often. Ginger ale especially for an upset stomach and root beer as a special treat.

    1. Spo:
      Although I’m not a big soda drinker, I LOVE root beer and have it as often as I can when we’re in the States. I love the taste of the candies, but I can’t help but chew hard candies, so don’t often have them.

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