I’m sure what I’m about to say will shun me from a large part of society, but I’m not much of a coffee drinker. I can probably count the cups of coffee I’ve had in the past 6 years on one hand. Tea is okay, but I find it a bit bland. I know that water is the best and healthiest thing to drink to quench one’s thirst, but sometimes nothing beats a tall glass of fizzy soda (or pop/coke/soda pop; choose your nomenclature!).
There’s a couple of foods that seem perfectly suited for an ice cold soda: pizza, burgers, a gigantic tub of popcorn at the movies. I admit to drinking more than my share of Diet Coke in high school and college, but now I find myself wanting something a little more interesting, and with less scary ingredients. Enter these pretty, sparkly, natural fruit sodas! Four kinds — pick your poison!
sparkling fruit sodas!
(yields 6-8 servings per batch)
basic simple syrup:
(enough for one batch of soda)
1/2 cup (120 g) water
3/4 cup (175 g) granulated sugar
16 oz frozen pineapple / 1 medium jalapeño, quartered (seeds removed) / 1 tsp lime juice / club soda, chilled
16 oz frozen peaches / 1 tsp cinnamon / 1/2 tsp vanilla extract / 1 tsp lemon juice / club soda, chilled
16 oz frozen strawberries / 1/2 cup (8 g) fresh mint leaves / club soda, chilled
16 oz frozen blackberries / small handful fresh thyme sprigs / 2 tsp lime juice / club soda, chilled
Note: Each batch of fruit puree with yield 2 3/4 cups of puree. If you have great seasonal fruit, feel free to use it! Otherwise, frozen will work just fine. If you’re using fresh fruit that isn’t frozen, you’ll want to chill the simple syrup before pureeing with the fruit.
For each flavor of soda, the method is the same. Begin by making the simple syrup! In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water, along with the jalapeños/cinnamon/mint leaves/thyme sprigs. Cook the syrup with it’s flavoring ingredient on medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to slightly break down the flavoring components. While the syrup is cooking, throw your frozen fruit into a large food processor or blender along with your extras like lime or lemon juice, or vanilla extract, depending on the flavor you’re making.
Once the simple syrup has cooked for 10 minutes, pull it off the heat and pour it through a strainer directly into the processor over the frozen fruit (except the cinnamon syrup, it doesn’t need to be strained). Remember, if you’re not using frozen fruit, let the flavored syrup chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Throw on the lid and process the frozen fruit with it’s add-ins and simple syrup for 30-45 seconds, scraping down the bowl if some of the fruit doesn’t want to get fully mixed in. Behold, tasty and pretty fruit purees! If you don’t plan on using all the puree at once, the remaining amount can be stored in the fridge in jars or some other well-sealed containers for about 5 days.
Each batch of puree will make enough for 6-8 servings of soda, depending on how strongly flavored you want your soda to be. If you want to whip up a big batch of each flavor, pour a little less than one full 2-liter bottle of chilled club soda into a large pitcher and carefully stir in the full 2 3/4 cups of one batch of fruit puree. If you want to make individual glasses of soda, pour 8 ounces of chilled club soda into a pint glass and carefully stir in about 8 tablespoons (half a cup) of fruit puree. Guess what you just did? You just made yourself some homemade fruit soda, with no artificial colors or artificial flavors, and no scary high fructose corn syrup!
Make room in your fridge for some of these fruit sodas and kick the storebought junk to the curb. This stuff is refreshing, unique, flavorful and super colorful. Sparkling fruit soda — get into it!