I enjoy a soda on occasion. They can be delicious and refreshing and a nice accompaniment to something salty and fatty and delicious. The problem with most domestically made commercial sodas is that the first ingredient in them is corn syrup. I know you’ve all seen the commercials extolling the virtues of corn syrup, saying its the same as sugar, blah blah blah, but its not. It tastes different. It’s derived from a genetically altered and poorly policed food source. And frankly, I’ve found that since I now check the labels for that stuff and make my food choices accordingly, its been a lot easier to keep my weight under control. That might also have to do with reducing my portion sizes of meat and upping the portion sizes on vegetables, but that’s a topic for another day.
Anyway, for a while, I was spending on imported sodas. San Pellegrino makes some very nice Italian sodas that contain sugar, not weird chemistry experiments, actual sugar. I’ve also been able to find Coca Cola made in Mexico which also contains only real sugar. Sometimes in this country around Jewish holidays, you can find Cokes with yellow caps. Those also contain only sugar, as corn syrup isn’t Kosher. I wonder why that is? Hmmm?
But, as I am obsessed with making things normal people just go to the store and buy, I wanted to make fresh soda pop. I could go out and spend on one of those machines, but the syrups that come with those have corn syrup or sweeteners in them, and the resulting leftover cannisters require special handling for disposal, so that’s out.
I went for an old and proven method for making fizz – the soda siphon. They do still actually make them. They aren’t just something to be purchased at a flea market and can be ordered online or obtained at most local bar supply or restaurant supply stores. As for the flavoring, its really easy to make flavored syrups. Its roughly 3 parts fruit, one part sugar, the zest and juice of a good lemon, and simmer on the stove for about 15-20 minutes or so until it all starts to thicken. Take the solid parts of the fruit and a little of the syrup and put that in a mason jar. Its excellent on ice cream or pancakes. Set aside the remaining liquid. It will thicken as it cools.
Once it has cooled completely, pour roughly 3 tablespoons into a glass. Get your soda siphon out of the fridge. I’m assuming you read the instructions and charged it and put it in the fridge so your soda will be nice and cool? You did? You are pretty awesome. Just sayin’
Put the soda siphon against the inside edge of the glass that you have tilted with the syrup in it and s-l-o-w-l-y fill the glass with soda water. If you have a swizzle stick or an old chopstick handy, gently stir the syrup into the soda water. Too vigorous and you’ll have a fizz-over.
So far, I’ve made peach, strawberry, mixed berry and fruit punch sodas. Choose your favorite fruit, or if you are feeling especially adventurous, make some coffee or tea syrup by adding a cup of coffee or tea to a cup of sugar and simmer for about 15 minutes and let cool.