While having lunch at Loulay in Seattle, I became inspired by my husband’s beverage choice. He was drinking one of their house-made sodas. Cranberry-ginger or maybe it was pomegranate-lime, I forget. A tall glass with ice is served with a large carafe of very bubbly soda water and a smaller pitcher containing the flavored syrup. You have the pleasure of making your own soda – to your taste and specification. After watching my husband enjoy this exercise as well as the taste of the beverage – I thought to myself, I can make that! Thankfully, I found an amazing book on Amazon that helped guide me through the simple process of making my own sodas.
Gone are the days of the soda fountain. It’s rare today if we can even find an old-school ice cream parlor. Back in the day (when our Grandparents were children) soda had a whole new meaning. Today, soda means Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper and Orange Crush. What appeals to me about making my own soda is:
- The flavor combinations are only as limited as my culinary imagination
- I know exactly what I’m drinking
- The ingredient list is relatively short (VS a paragraph of who knows what)
- I have control of how much sweet I put into my drink
It really couldn’t be easier. As for the soda, you can either load up on club soda at Costco – which is what you may want to do before deciding if this is for you – or you can purchase a SodaStream machine. A SodaStream turns regular water into bubbly water. I purchased the SodaStream Revolution in stainless steal from Williams-Sonoma ($180) because this model gives you the option to carbonate the water to the level of your liking and displays the amount of CO2 left in the cylinder. I just ordered it and can’t yet comment on how well I like it. In the mean time, I have been using club soda.
The first syrup I made was Basil (recipe in the book). It may seem like an odd first choice, but this is exactly the kind of flavor profile I was looking for. Next was dried cherry and cream soda (great separate as well as mixed together). All three turned out great. I have ordered a few unique ingredients like chicory root for coffee syrup and Hibiscus flowers for Hibiscus syrup. I not only plan on gifting my syrups as unique presents, I also plan on having multiple flavors available for parties and when guests come over. I have been buying up canning bottles at nearly every opportunity, just so I can have various flavors on hand at once.
We don’t really have much canned soda in the house anyway simply because we’ve learned it is bad for us – but now that I can make a far superior drink, I’m never going back. Now, if only other restaurants would follow the example Loulay set fourth, more people would catch the make-your-own-soda bug and we could banish canned soda to the outer realm forever.
Remember: You are what you eat, so don’t be fast, cheap, easy or fake!
Make Your Own Soda: Syrup Recipes for All-Natural Pop, Floats, Cocktails, and More
By Anton Nocito