I am trying to make root beer using natural ingredients, but sarsaparilla and sassafras root are difficult to get in my area.
I found root beer recipes that used licorice root as an ingredient, and I was able to order some online. However, right from opening the package, it did not smell in any way like licorice or anything remotely evocative of root beer. I tried to boil it as instructed in the recipe, but the aroma did not improve. It actually smells kind of earthy and, in my opinion, kind of gross.
The resulting drink was weak and largely flavourless. So I'm wondering, did I get possibly the wrong type of licorice root, or perhaps a bad batch? Or is licorice root a different thing than the kind of high intensity licorice one might get in a candy?
I did see this other question about making licorice extract, which leads me to believe that licorice root might be inappropriate for making root beer, but then I have to wonder why any online recipes might use it as a main ingredient for root beer.
Is licorice root suitable for making a root beer like drink? If so, are there any special processing or source considerations?