A child’s favourite, from my own childhood: put a stick of ‘Spanish’ in a bottle, add water, and shake until the liquorice is dissolved, or the child becomes bored, whichever comes first (usually the latter). Drink. Or not, because the fun was in the making, and it is not as good to drink as lemonade, to a child’s taste.
And a slightly more sophisticated version, from a useful book called Household management for the labouring classes, (1882) by H.L. Hamilton:
Break an ounce of liquorice stick and half an ounce of gum arabic into a jug; add a quart of boiling water; cover the mouth of the jug, and let it stand till cold.
Finally, for those of you who love dark beer, or liquorice, or both, I give you the instructions for making your own. They are taken from a book by William Cobbett, published in 1824, with the full and informative title of:
Cottage economy: containing information relative to the brewing of beer, making of bread, keeping of cows, pigs, bees, ewes, goats, poultry and rabbits, and relative to other matters deemed useful in the conducting of the affairs of a labourer's family: to which are added, instructions relative to the selecting, the cutting and the bleaching of the plants of English grass and grain, for the purpose of making hats and bonnets.
The following instructions for the making of porter will clearly show what sort of stuff is sold at public houses in London; and we may pretty fairly suppose, that the public house beer in the country is not superior to it in quality. "A quarter of malt, with these ingredients, will make five barrels of good porter. Take one quarter of high coloured malt, eight pounds of hops, nine pounds of treacle, eight pounds of colour, eight pounds of sliced liquorice root, two drams of salt of tartar, two ounces of Spanish liquorice, and half an ounce of capsicum." The author says, that he merely gives the ingredients, as used by many persons.
Buy a man a beer, and he wastes an hour. Teach a man to brew, and he wastes a lifetime.