Thursday, June 25, 2009

Sustainable Soda

From the bean of Green Bean.

On my recent cookbook binge, I came across a recipe for homemade soda. I shook my head and kept shuffling through the pages. I wasn't much of a soda drinker really. First off, I don't do corn syrup which cinches it for most sodas. Second, who really needs all those extra empty calories. I'll save mine for a nice piece of berry cobbler, thank you very much.

As I moved past the drink section into appetizers, I kept thinking about the homemade soda though. Truth be told, I had recently indulged in an agave soda at a local sustainable eatery. It had been, well, delicious.

Perhaps a homemade soda might not be so ridiculous, I mused, flipping the pages of the entrees. It was a cherry soda after all and, well, it is cherry season. Indeed, it could be lovely. A few borage flowers from my garden floating amongst the ice. Some bing cherries from the farmers' market bobbing to the surface. Yes, lovely indeed.

I smiled, bookmarking the dessert section, and hurried back to my soda recipe. I scanned it carefully:

Cherry-Vanilla Cream Soda
from Screen Doors and Sweet Tea by Martha Hall Foose

2 cups sugar
1 vanilla bean, split length-wise
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 cup cherry juice
1 quart soda water (e.g., club soda)

In a small saucepan, combine 1 cup water and the sugar. Add the vanilla bean. Boil over medium heat for 2 minutes or until the mixture has reduced to a thin syrup.

Remove the vanilla bean. Rinse in hot water. Set aside to air-dry and reserve for another use.

Allow the syrup to cool. Stir in the vanilla and almond extracts and the cherry juice.

Pour 2 tablespoons of the syrup over ice cubes in a tall glass and fill with club soda. Stir to combine.

Not too hard. I had most of the ingredients but would have to pick up some cherry juice.

A couple nights later, in a dimly lit kitchen, I stirred together my concoction. Sweet, I noted, as I spooned it into some glass jars. It keeps for a week in the fridge.

That weekend, I served it at a barbecue. Memorable. Original. Unique. Not Coke or Pepsi. I received many compliments but none so sweet as my bite into the last cherry, soaked in cherry-vanilla cream goodness.


Chile said...

I've been enjoying "Citrus Seltzer" lately, along similar lines as your soda. It has orange, lemon, and/or grapefruit juice mixed with agave nectar to sweeten plus chilled club soda. I think some of the syrups I made last summer would also make good sodas - orange, prickly pear, pomegranate...

Green Bean said...

Chile: That sounds delicious!! You are so right - no need to limit this to cherries and cherry season. I feel a few pounds creeping on here as I think of all the possibilities.

ruchi said...

Note to self: do not read Green Bean or Beany's posts while on my diet!!

But at least no drink porn to entice me to cheat!! :)

ruchi said...

Oh wait. There was a picture. Um, I'm apparently blind.

Green Fundraising said...

That looks de-li-cious for summer! I may have to give that a try. It is so hot that would just be the most quenching! Thanks for the tip!

Donna said...

Sounds wonderful! I recently made up my own lemonade recipe: 1 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup sugar, and a 2-liter of sparkling water. Can't believe the raving reviews I've been getting and I feel like I'm barely doing anything!

Green Bean said...

Ruchi: Okay I admit that the drink porn wasn't up to my usual standards. I meant to do a sassy little number in a glass and, well, dammit but I drank it all before I got to that.

Green Fundraising: Do try it. It was so satisfying. Didn't leave me feeling all overly sweet like traditional sodas.

Donna: Okay, that lemonade sounds awesome!! I've never tried it with sparkling water. All over it.

Deb G said...

Yum... I've been making sodas with rhubarb syrup and with ginger syrup. Love both, I'm sure cherries would be great too.

Green Bean said...

Rhubarb syrup?? Recipe please. That sounds awesome and might be just the home for the few stalks I have left in the fridge.

Deb G said...

Rhubarb recipe that I found:

Green Bean said...

Thanks Deb! Of course, wouldn't you know it. I go to pull my rhubarb out of the fridge and its all moldy. Too hot here now to get it locally so I guess I'll have to wait until next year to try this gem. Thanks again!


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