Lancaster, PA

2 Popular Pennsylvania Dutch Specialty Drinks, and Where to Get Them

Melissa Frost

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Photo by Sara Melissa Frost

Or make the drinks yourself, if you're up for a challenge.

Two of the more popular Pennsylvania Dutch specialty drinks are birch beer and meadow tea.

Birch Beer

You can get it from an Amish roadside stand in Lancaster, and also from some supermarkets and farmers markets (if you're lucky).

One of the more popular varieties, made from an old Pennsylvania Dutch recipe and a classic since 1936, Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer is one of the oldest soft drinks in the country. Birch beer is believed to have originated in the Pennsylvania Dutch Country where they still make it and enjoy it.

Despite the name, birch beer is a non-alcoholic drink.

It is a carbonated drink made from birch tree essential oil and birch sap derived from the Black Birch Tree. People tend to use the terms birch beer and root beer synonymously but they are not the same. Birch beer has a minty, wintergreen delicious taste, with a hint of creaminess to it.

Recipe: If you want to challenge yourself and create birch beer from scratch, I recommend using this recipe from Renegade Brewing.

Meadow Tea

Meadow Tea is a Pennsylvania Dutch Country staple.

The drink, featured in the above photo, consists of freshly grown mint that has been brewed, sweetened, and chilled. Most recipes also use a good amount of sugar.

Despite the name, it is actually not a tea. It's a light and simple sweet drink, mostly consumed during the warmer months. Since this is a seasonal drink, not all places will sell it year-round.

Want to try to make it yourself? Here's a recipe from Markets at Shrewsbury.

If you find yourself in Lancaster, PA - the two places I recommend you try birch beer or meadow tea are Root's Country Market & Auction in Manheim or The Green Dragon Market in Ephrata.

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Melissa is a journalist and content writer. She covers food, travel and local news, mostly from PA.

Lititz, PA
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