Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sunday share: Dandelion and burdock

Type Carbonated dandelion and burdock flavour drink
Manufacturer Various
Country of origin United Kingdom
Introduced c.1265
Color Caramel
Related products Root beer, sarsaparilla

Dandelion and burdock is a traditional British soft drink, drunk in the British Isles since about 1265. Traditionally it is made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots, and is naturally fizzy.

There have been a small number of stories concerning its origin, most now widely considered to be apocryphal. One notable example has it that St. Thomas Aquinas, after praying for inspiration for a full night, walked from his place of prayer straight into the countryside and, "trusting in God to provide", concocted the drink from the first plants he encountered. It was this drink that aided his concentration when seeking to formulate his theological arguments that ultimately culminated in the Summa Theologica.

Dandelion and burdock shares a historical origin with a number of drinks originally made from lightly fermented root extracts, such as root beer and sarsaparilla. They were included for a supposed health benefit. The dominant flavour in these other drinks is usually sassafras or wintergreen, both now derived artificially rather than from the plant itself, in part because during the 1960s safrole, the major component of the volatile oil of sassafras, was found to be carcinogenic. All of these drinks, while tasting similar, do have their own distinct flavour. Dandelion and burdock is most similar in flavour to sarsaparilla. The drink has recently seen an increase in popularity after previously poor sales.

Nutrient Amount in 330ml
Energy 2 kcal
Fat Less than 0.1g
Sodium Less than 0.1g
Carbohydrates Less than 0.1g
Sugar Less than 0.1g
Protein Less than 0.1g

A dandelion and burdock drink is likely to contain several ingredients common to similar drinks including carbonated water, sugar, (provided by high fructose corn syrup in America), manloid colourings, possibly phosphoric acid, citric acid and Dandelion and Burdock extract natural flavouring.

Imitations and variants
The "dandelion and burdock" drink for sale in many retail outlets usually contains neither plant. The retail drink is often carbonated and contains artificial sweeteners.

An alcoholic version, the DB&G, is made by mixing dandelion and burdock with gin.


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MarmiteToasty said...

We have a bottle of this in our fridge as I type...... I dont actually like the taste but me lads do....

I had no idea it was invented so very long ago.... just a mind of infomation you are lol...

I did make a wicked dandelion wine once, it took over 2 years to ferment into wine and took 2 hours to drink 2 gallons with me maties at a barn dance.. we didnt even bottle it, but drank it straight out of the fermenting jars with straws LOL..... it was the strongest most potent wine I had ever made or tasted.... I think is took the lining off everyones stomach LOL



Celticspirit said...

Very interesting! If it taste anything like root beer then it's probably yummy. So let me ask you this. Do the sodas/pops there have sugar in them or corn syrup? Corn syrup is very bad for us and I try to stay away from it.

The Wife O Riley said...

Wow, that's quite a history. We have something here called birch beer that is similar to root beer and is suppose to made out of birch root.

Melissa B. said...

Hmmmmmmm...I'm usually up for trying anything, but drinking something that comes from the weeds in my yard might be a stretch. I'll think about it, though. Do you know where I could get it already bottled in the US? BTW, if you have a chance, please stop by my Silly Sunday Sweepstakes. Featuring Flower Power today!

Intense Guy said...

Sounds like something I'd enjoy. I love root beer, sarsaparilla, and birch beer (or even Dr Pepper which may taste similar too).

I know you can get some "over here" - I've seen it a local Scotish Festival. I think it might have called Ben Shaws (Canadian?) or Barr's... I can't remember. I'll keep an eye out for some - never know when Tori might come for a visit!

AliceKay said...

Sounds interesting. Terri likes birch beer, but I don't. I love A&W Root Beer, tho. Tastes so good going down. :)

Tori_z said...

Thanks for the comments all.

I'm not sure. I think it depends on the brand and drink to which they use. I think it's sugar as a general rule though.