Sarsaparilla Cocktail Recipe

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Sarsaparilla Cocktail Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Sarsaparilla Cocktail is a unique blend of flavors that hails from the era of the Wild West. This cocktail was originally enjoyed by cowboys and pioneers, who appreciated its robust, earthy flavors. The sarsaparilla root, from which the cocktail gets its name, was commonly used in old-fashioned root beers and was believed to have medicinal properties. This drink is perfect for those who enjoy a cocktail with a rich history and a unique flavor profile.

How Sarsaparilla Cocktail Tastes?

The Sarsaparilla Cocktail is a complex blend of sweet, bitter, and sour notes. The spiced rum adds a warm, spicy undertone, while the red bitter liquor brings a touch of bitterness. The lemon juice adds a refreshing sour note, and the beer gives it a frothy, light finish.

Interesting facts about Sarsaparilla Cocktail

  • The Sarsaparilla Cocktail is named after the sarsaparilla root, which was commonly used in old-fashioned root beers.
  • This cocktail was popular during the era of the Wild West and was enjoyed by cowboys and pioneers.
  • The unique blend of flavors in this cocktail makes it a standout choice for those seeking something different from the usual cocktail offerings.


  • Spiced rum: 2 oz(60ml)
  • Red bitter liquor: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Lemon juice: 1 oz(30ml)
  • Beer: Top up
  • Lemon slice: 1
  • Garnish with a sprig of mint:

Spiced Rum

2 oz of Spiced Rum bring a sweet and spicy foundation to our Sarsaparilla Cocktail. It's what gives this drink a certain 'yo-ho-ho' and a bottle of fun! Less rum? This cocktail might sail away on the Seven Seas of Blandness. Too much? You might be walking the plank into Boozy Ocean. If rum isn't your bounty, a quality bourbon can stand in, and will add a smokier twist.

Alex Green

Red Bitter Liquor

1 oz adds a balance to the sweet rum with its herbal and bitter edge. Nix it, and your cocktail could come off as too saccharine. Pour too much, and you might find yourself in Bitter Town. Campari or Aperol are great alternatives, with Campari being the bolder choice and Aperol offering a lighter, slightly sweeter profile.

Emma Rose

Lemon Juice

A whole ounce gives the cocktail its zing and zesty attitude. Without it, you could lose the refreshing contrast to the sweetness. Too much, however, and you risk puckering more than smiling. Lime juice could be a fun stand-in, for a little tropical twist.

Mary Mitkina


Just a splash 'top up' integrates a carbonated crispness and mellow maltiness that can complement the spicy and citrusy elements perfectly. Beerless? The cocktail might feel flat, literally. Too hoppy a beer and it could over-hop the taste balance. A light lager is a safe bet, but an amber ale could add some richness.

Alex Green

Lemon Slice and a Sprig of Mint

A garnish of a Lemon Slice adds aromatic appeal and a jazzy visual flair, while the Mint drizzles in a whisper of freshness. Skip the garnish, and you miss out on the full sensory pleasure. And remember, a cocktail without a garnish is like a beach without sand!

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Sarsaparilla Cocktail Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the spiced rum, red bitter liquor, and lemon juice to the shaker.
  3. Shake well for about 20 seconds.
  4. Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  5. Top up with beer.
  6. Garnish with a lemon slice and a sprig of mint.

Pro Tips

  • Use a high-quality spiced rum for the best flavor.
  • Be sure to shake the cocktail well to fully blend the flavors.
  • The garnish of lemon slice and mint sprig not only adds to the presentation but also enhances the flavor of the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings


  • Charcuterie Board: The rich flavors of cured meats pair well with the herbaceous and citrus notes of the cocktail.
  • Spicy Nuts: The heat from the nuts will be cooled down by the cocktail's refreshment factor.

Main Courses

  • Barbecue Ribs: The sweet and spicy kick from the ribs complements the sarsaparilla cocktail's complex flavor profile.
  • Grilled Seafood: The citrus element in the cocktail cuts through the richness of seafood.


  • Lemon Tart: Enhances the lemony zest of the cocktail.
  • Dark Chocolate: The bitterness of dark chocolate will be balanced by the sweetness of the spiced rum.

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What you could change in Sarsaparilla Cocktail

If you can't find spiced rum, you can use regular rum and add a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. If you don't have red bitter liquor, Campari or Aperol can be used as a substitute. For a non-alcoholic version, replace the rum with a non-alcoholic spiced rum and use a non-alcoholic beer.

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And of course - twists🍹

Honey-Spice Twist

  • Spiced Rum: 2 oz
  • Honey syrup: 0.5 oz
  • Red Bitter Liquor: 0.5 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.75 oz
  • Ginger Beer: Top up
  • Cinnamon Stick: 1

Replace the beer with ginger beer for a zesty pop, and add a cinnamon stick for a festive touch. Honey syrup brings in the sweetness to compensate for the reduced red bitter liquor. The result? A cocktail that's both spicier and sweeter, hugging your taste buds like a warm sweater on a chilly eve.

Berry Fine Sarsaparilla

  • Spiced Rum: 1.5 oz
  • Red Bitter Liquor: 0.75 oz
  • Lemon Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Mixed Berry Puree: 1 oz
  • Club Soda: Top up
  • Fresh Berries: Garnish

Blend in mixed berry puree for a fruity twist and swap in club soda for a milder carbonation. This berry bonanza adds sweetness and a tarty kick, balancing it perfectly with a lighter touch of lemon. It's like a fruit burst in a Shakespearean play!

Sunset Sarsaparilla

  • Coconut Rum: 2 oz
  • Aperol: 1 oz
  • Lime Juice: 1 oz
  • Pineapple Juice: 0.5 oz
  • Prosecco: Top up
  • Pineapple Wedge: Garnish

Take a tropical turn with coconut rum and a splash of pineapple juice, top with prosecco for an elegant fizz. The sunset blend of Aperol and lime brings a softer bitterness with a summery glow. It's a happy-hour holiday in a glass—cheers to beach-side sipping!

In case you forgot basics how to make Sarsaparilla Cocktail

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Sarsaparilla Cocktail

What is the origin of the name 'sarsaparilla'?

The name 'sarsaparilla' comes from the Spanish word 'zarzaparrilla', which means 'bramble vine'. It is named after a type of plant that was originally used to flavor drinks.

Why use a mason jar for serving this cocktail?

Mason jars were traditionally used in the Old West era and give the cocktail an authentic, rustic feel. They also help to maintain the temperature of the drink.

Could I use another type of bitters other than Angostura?

While Angostura bitters add a specific flavor to the Sarsaparilla Cocktail, you could experiment with other types of bitters to create your own unique version of the cocktail.

Why is there a maraschino cherry used for garnish?

The maraschino cherry adds a pop of color and a hint of sweetness to the cocktail, complementing its overall flavor.

Are there any occasions that the Sarsaparilla Cocktail is best suited for?

While the Sarsaparilla Cocktail can be enjoyed anytime, its rich history and unique flavor make it a great choice for themed parties, especially those with an Old West motif.

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