You may remember my introduction to Blackmaker Root Beer a little while ago, where I noted its deep, dark color and wonderful smell. Once it was time to taste it, I poured a little into a shot glass with great anticipation. The taste was spicy, and tasted just like certain varieties of rootbeer. If you’ve ever had a piece of rootbeer barrel candy, you know about what it tastes like, but it’s a bit better than that.
It has a very syrupy consistency, though as a liqueur based on a soda that should come as
no surprise. Taken neat it’s not very smooth at all; there’s a noticeable burn right away. But, when you consider the bit of burn you get from an over carbonated soda, it’s not out of place. It also didn’t stop me from enjoying the liqueur, either. On the rock, it’s a quite a bit smoother, especially if the ice has melted a bit. With that in mind, I’ll be keeping mine chilled in the freezer from now on.
On the back of the bottle, there’s a recipe for a drink the manufacturer calls a “Whipmaker.” It’s simple, 1 part Blackmaker Root Beer Liqueur, 1 part Pinnacle Whipped vodka. Shake with ice and serve. I don’t have a drink shaker (something I’ll have to acquire soon,) so I just mixed it and iced it. I took a sip before icing it, and it was not good. Warm, the Whipmaker tastes more like the artificial cream flavor in the vodka. It’s a buttery flavor that’s overly rich, almost to the point of causing gagging. You definitely want it chilled, with the little bit of water that shaking adds. Served as directed it tastes pretty good, though personally I like the Blackmaker better on its own.
On the card is another recipe called a Root Beer Float, which is the same as the Whipmaker, but with 2 parts club soda added, and I made one with Schweppes club soda. It tastes like the Whipmaker, but carbonated. I didn’t really feel like the carbonation added anything, so again I’d say I prefer the Blackmaker on its own.
Another recipe, called the “Rootini” is one part Blackmaker and one part plain vodka, shaken with ice. I used Ketel One (it called for Pinnacle, but I honestly don’t think it’s going to make that much difference, and Ketel One is good, as you’ll remember from my post about it.) I’ve had issues with Ketel Once being a little bitter when cold or when mixed with sweet things. The Blackmaker Root Beer has enough flavor that the bitterness doesn’t come through, so they mix well. The thickish texture of the cold Ketel One mixes with the syrupiness of the Blackmaker to create a creamy texture that’s quite nice. It tastes just about like the Blackmaker on its own, just a little diluted. For flavor I don’t see any reason to make this drink, but if you’re in it for the texture I’d say it’s quite good. Or, if you like martinis and want some variety, it’s a good choice.
One more recipe, called the “Cough Remedy,” was also listed, but it called for Pinnacle Cherry, which I couldn’t find. I couldn’t find any other cherry flavored vodka either and, to be honest, I don’t really have any interest in a cocktail that tastes like cough syrup. I’ll be passing on that one, but if anyone reading wants to make one and tell me about it in a comment, I’d like to see what you think.
In an effort to sell more liquor, the makers of this drink have come up with a recipe for a simulated rootbeer float, but why settle for an imitation? I made a rootbeer float with Blackmaker, some Schweppes club soda, and a scoop of Häagen-Dazs vanilla ice cream. Making this float, I realized that I’ve never had Häagen-Dazs before. While making the float I took a taste, and it’s really good ice cream. I’ve always balked at the idea of paying so much for a pint of ice cream, but I think I’ve been convinced. That said, this wasn’t the best rootbeer float I’ve ever had. The flavor of the Blackmaker doesn’t meld with the cream flavor of the ice cream the way I expect; the two tastes remain sort of parallel to each other. But, if your goal is to have a rootbeer float that is also an adult beverage, this will do in a pinch.
The qualities of the intoxication of this liqueur are pleasant. For feelings in the head, it isn’t the most clearheaded feeling, but it isn’t overwhelming. In the body it acts mostly as a depressant, causing the muscles to relax. That relaxation of the muscles is what I look for in alcohol, so I think that combined with its nice smell and good flavor, Blackmaker will become a go to drink or ingredient for me. Effects on the extremities came a little more quickly than I like though. My fingertips and lips started to lose sensation quickly, though after four drinks over the course of a few hours it hadn’t advanced to the tingling numbness that too much drinking can bring on.