Long live soda! Or, maybe I should say long live elixirs, potions and concoctions. Long before Coca Cola and Pepsi ruled the “soda scene”, there were local pharmacists, soda jerks and soda fountains that were slinging their wares. And, many people acted as their own alchemists at home brewing up concoctions. Whether knowingly or unknowingly, Andrew Lynn in the The Artisan Soda Workshop harkens back to these days. Ms. Lynn does a terrific job of providing a number of recipes that you can use or adapt to make your own “soda”. I use “soda” loosely as a number of these recipes result in drinks that many would not consider “soda” on their own, yet alone with some well place boozey additions.
I am happy to see the beginning of the soda renaissance. Soda fountains have begun to sprout up across the country. In San Francisco, we have our very own – The Ice Cream Bar. The Ice Cream Bar harkens back to times of yore in its decor but offers a decidedly grown up menu. One of our fave bartenders, Russell Davis’ Sassafras Rootbeer was just named to the top 19 drinks in San Francisco on Eater. As a side note, there should be way more than the top 19 drinks listed – that barely scratches the surface. In addition to soda fountains, artisan soda companies have also been popping up, offering unique and interesting flavors. On a recent trip to Hawaii, I had the Passion fruit soda from Waialua Soda Works and it was fantastic – sweet and sour all at the same time. In addition to the soda fountains and artisan soda companies is the at home soda revolution, which Ms. Lynn has tapped into with her book The Artisan Soda Workshop.
Growing up, I missed the soda fountains that had been so popular during my parent’s youth. I jealously listened to my mom describe trips to the local soda fountain for phospates and milkshakes. I could also picture myself sitting around the bar surrounding the soda jerk. Also, I got to see a tiny bit of the drama that was playing out as many artisan soda companies met their bitter ends. Like many midwestern towns, my little town had a dying soda company that produced the grape and orange sodas that we purchased in bottles at the grocery store and returned the next week. It wasn’t long after touring it with my elementary school that it closed and flavors like grape, orange, lime and cherry were no longer as readily available or delicious.
In The Artisan Soda Workshop, a little bit of the soda fountain and soda factories return. Imagine, orange soda with real orange flavoring. If this sounds good, give it a try. Ms. Lynn provides a tasty and easy recipe, along with a number of other recipes like Cherry-Limeade and Rootbeer syrups. You make the syrups and then add carbonated water. We like the SodaStream or the iSi (we find the SodaStream much easier) if you want to make your own. If not, try Perrier or seltzer water.