The Bickford’s Traditional Soda Sarsaparilla has been long on our list of sarsaparillas to try. It’s ludicrously hard to find in stores in New South Wales — supermarkets only stock the sarsaparilla flavoured cordial — but we managed to get our hands on a bottle after D’s parents visited Adelaide.
The beverage is a semi-translucent dark brown colour with a gentle liquorice nose and a high carbonation. Served chilled, a sweet caramel flavour comes through with mellow liquorice notes in the body ahead of a prominent acidity developing towards the finish before leaving a slight wintergreen and liquorice aftertaste.
Overall, the flavour has more depth than the cordial version by Bickford’s but retains the sourness. It has a thin, watered-down mouthfeel that lacks the brightness of the liquorice notes in the one by Schweppes that makes it so refreshing. We had high hopes for this sarsaparilla, but it seems that either D unconsciously improved upon his childhood memory of the beverage or Bickford’s changed their formulation.
This bottle of Bickford’s Traditional Soda Sarsaparilla contained 330 ml. It was bottled in Australia and gifted by family visiting Adelaide, South Australia, Australia in 2017.