Wednesday, October 13, 2010

DIY Soda

One thing that Texas definitely has that California doesn't is Topo Chico, a bottled mineral water from Mexico. I haven't yet figured out why it is so good. Since discovering Topo Chico, I've started using it to make my own sodas. When it comes to Coke or Pepsi, I'm not a soda drinker. Commercially made sodas are generally too fizzy and too sweet for me. With home-made sodas, you have more control over sweetness and can make your own flavors. Plus Topo Chico isn't violently fizzy.

The basic recipe for soda is pretty unsurprising: mix something sweet with something fizzy. This recipe has taken on three different, basic categories in my soda-making practice. The simplest is to use juice, for example, pear or guava, for your sweet thing. This is really refreshing and only slightly fizzy.

Another way I've made soda is by mixing honey and some flavor-type-thing to make your soda base. My favorite variants here are lemon and honey (The Bees Knees Soda) and keffir lime leaves muddled in honey (below) which, surprisingly, tastes fairly ginger-y.

The most traditional and labor intensive (if you can call any of these methods labor intensive) way to make soda is to make syrup. I recently made my own ginger ale syrup and it was so aromatic! It actually tasted like ginger smells.

Today I went to the local Lebanese market and got rose-water and orange-blossom water. These are both seriously pungent/fragrant and a bit candy-like. I used just a little bit of each to make simple soda syrup. I've only tried the rose-water so far, but it is delicate and just the right amount of sweet =)

Here's the process for making soda syrup.

Put one part sugar and one part water in a sauce pan on low heat. As the sugar is dissolving, add your flavor. In this case I used 1/2c water, 1/2c sugar and 1/2tbsp rose water. When making ginger ale, I peeled and thinly chopped one toe of ginger and simmered that in the syrup for a while before cooling.

Once everything is dissolved, take the syrup off the heat, cool and store.

Or make soda and hope that the Topo Chico cools the syrup (it did). =)


ps - Topo chico can be substituted for with any other mineral water or club soda.

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