Dandelion and burdock facts for kids
|Type||Carbonated soft drink|
|Country of origin||United Kingdom|
|Related products||Root beer, sarsaparilla|
Dandelion and burdock is a beverage consumed in the British Isles since the Middle Ages. It was originally a type of light mead, but over the years has evolved into the carbonated soft drink commercially available today. Traditionally it was made from fermented dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) and burdock (Arctium lappa) roots, hence the name.
Dandelion and burdock shares an origin with a number of drinks originally made from lightly fermented root extracts, such as root beer and sarsaparilla, supposedly as a health benefit.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 in rats when administered in relatively large doses. 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.
Imitations and variants
Ben Shaw, a Huddersfield businessman with humble origins, founded a company which made and sold the drink, first in Yorkshire and then throughout Britain, between 1871 and 1993, after which his enterprise passed through several hands and is now owned by Refresco who still make and sell the drink.
Fentimans, a beverage company based in the United Kingdom, offers a version of the naturally brewed dandelion and burdock drink, containing extracts of both plants (although its main ingredients are sugar and pear juice concentrate).
A.G. Barr, famous for Scottish soft drink Irn-Bru, produces a version of dandelion and burdock under the name D'n'B and the slogan "Tall, dark and drinksome".
The last of the UK's original temperance bars, Fitzpatrick's in Rawtenstall, which opened in 1890, still produces its dandelion and burdock to an original recipe brought over from Ireland at the end of the 19th century.