My readers may notice that I have Barbara Brand, matriarch of the Brand family, make homemade root beer for the family when they visit Bent Tree Ranch. It’s not just some miscellaneous detail I pulled out of nowhere. It’s actually one of the deep-seated fond memories from the childhood trip that’s the basis of so much in my Brands of Montana books.
On that vacation, I got my first taste of homemade root beer. Like most kids (I assume), I loved root beer when I was young (and still do). But like so many, all I ever knew of root beer was the artificially flavored mass-produced stuff. I never imagined root beer any other way.
Until that one fateful day, when the ranch owner’s wife opened my eyes to a whole new root beer experience. After a full day of horseback riding in the mountains of Montana, hot, dirty, fatigued, and really thirsty (like a real cowgirl!), I shuffled back to the farmhouse to get something to drink. I was offered an ice-cold glass of homemade root beer.
Wow. I couldn’t get enough of it! I drank as many glasses as my stomach could handle. The subtle notes of vanilla, cinnamon, and molasses tingled so wonderfully in my mouth. I look back now and wish I’d had the forethought at 12 to get that recipe.
So, homemade root beer is one of those amazing memories I strongly connect to Montana. It seems inevitable to me that it would figure into my Brands of Montana series. And you know what? Writing this has got me to thinkin’…
I should try to make my own homemade root beer. I just found this recipe online that I’m going to use. If you give it a try—or even better, if you have your own homemade root beer recipe—please email me and tell me about it!
Haven’t read a Brands of Montana book yet? What are you waiting for? Get one for less than the cost of a good root beer float – unless you followed Barbara’s recipe and made it yourself!