A friend told me that she’d been making her own sodas lately. When I inquired further, I discovered that she had been making simple syrups from fruit and combining them with club soda or sparkling water. She said it was a great way to use up oldish fruit.
When I was in high school, I was obsessed with Italian sodas, which are a flavored syrup combined with carbonated water, exactly what my friend was doing at home. So we decided to give it a try with some strawberries that I had recently picked from my garden. Here’s how it went down:
- 2 c fruit, in this case strawberries
1 c water
3/4 c sugar (if you like it sweeter and less fruity, use 1 cup sugar instead)
Club soda or sparkling water
First, make the syrup. Combine the sugar, water, and fruit in a pot and bring to a boil.
Let it boil until all the sugar is dissolved and the fruit releases its flavor into the water, about 5-10 minutes. Strain the syrup from the fruit.
The resulting syrup was a bright red and very pretty. We ended up with about 2 cups of it.
Then I filled a glass with sparkling water, about 12 oz, and added the syrup until it tasted right. It ended up taking quite a bit of syrup to get the flavor where I wanted it, about 8 Tbs, or 1/2 cup.
The soda was delicious and refreshing. The only thing I would do differently is add ice next time.
Since I learned how to properly store simple syrup, I have had a couple of other Italian sodas with the remaining syrup since then. My friend and I talked about other sodas you could make–pineapple, tangerine, lavender and honey. The possibilities are endless.
And the leftover fruit that we strained out of the syrup? We put it to good use by putting it over some homemade strawberry ice cream.
Cost: Fruit: free from the garden; Sparkling water: $.45 (could be cheaper if you shopped around for a sale); Sugar: $.10; Water: free.
Total Cost of Drink: $.55
A can of Pepsi is cheaper if you buy it on sale, but it doesn’t taste as good.