A couple of Christmases ago, the Texan received a Soda Stream machine as a gift, and has been making his own carbonated water for almost as long as I've known him. While I'm happy drinking still water, I appreciate the Soda Stream because it eliminates the waste of bottles, plastic or glass, of seltzer, and the carbonator tank is refillable. If there is such a thing as eco-friendly soda, this is probably the start of it.
I like weird and unexpected savory ingredients in sweet things. The Texan doesn't. So we made two batches of soda syrup: Basil for me, and ginger-lemon for him. Plus, we happened to have Mason jars we'd already repurposed in our wedding, and it's a well-known fact that soda-y things look best in vintage-y Mason jars, so we got all nostalgic as we poured.
His ginger soda wasn't gingery enough, so we tossed another chunk of fresh ginger in the jar and let it infuse overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, the flavor was more intense, and the ginger flavor increased with each day. The same could be done with a slice of lemon if the flavor isn't strong enough for your taste.
We had some fresh blueberries and mint in the house, so the Texan also tried his hand at muddling the two together to add to his ginger-lemon drink. He was unimpressed: both the blueberries and mint leaves were chunky and needed to be chewed before swallowing. After swallowing, hello dental floss! I'm not ready to give up on that technique, though, so next time we will muddle, infuse, and STRAIN.
from Make Your Own Soda by Anton Nocito
1 2/3 C granulated sugar
25 large basil leaves
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Remove from heat.
2. Add basil leaves and cover pan. Steep for 15 minutes.
3. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and discard leaves. Can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 4 days.
4. To make basil soda, fill a tall glass with ice. Add 3 TBSP syrup, top with seltzer, and stir.
2 oz fresh unpeeled ginger, grated
1 C water
3/4 C granulated sugar
2 strips lemon zest
1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring water and sugar to a boil.
2. Add ginger and lemon zest, and remove pan from heat. Cover pan and steep for about 45 minutes.
3. Strain syrup through a fine-mesh strainer and cool. Can be stored in airtight container in refrigerator for up to 14 days.
4. To make ginger ale, fill a glass with ice. Add 3 TBSP ginger syrup, 1 TBSP fresh lemon juice, top with seltzer, and stir.