Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cherry soda

In saying hello to pregnancy, I've had to bid adieu to my daily glass of red wine.  I've had a small tipple of wine here and there, but nothing like what my regular routine used to include.  I went through a cranberry spritzer phase until learning that the quinine in diet tonic water is not recommended for preggos.

Great.  There's only so much water and lemonade you can drink before you're sick and tired of both. 

One thing I committed myself to this summer was trying a variety of homemade, non-alcoholic, summer beverages.  Being that our summer has been less than warm, I hadn't had much inspiration.  I did make the lime syrup a while back and only recently finished it - it was divine with soda water!

Our local paper ran a feature on homemade sodas.  One of the recipes was for cherry basil soda.  I had a quart of bing cherries in the fridge.  It was perfect!

I altered the recipe and method just slightly.  First off, I didn't have any basil.  Secondly, I was not in the mood to pit a quart of cherries.

I started off by putting a quart of cherries, a half cup of water, and a half cup of turbinado sugar into a saucepan.  I used turbinado because I was out of white sugar amd thought honey would overpower the cherries' flavor.

I cooked this for about 5 minutes, pushing on the cherries with a wooden spoon to help break their skins.

I pulled out my food mill and put in the finest strainer attachment.  This is because I hadn't pitted the cherries.

The food mill made quick work of the cherries.

Because I wasn't happy with the amount of juice that had been extracted, I pulled out a sieve and worked the rest of the pulp through that.  I'm not sure if it was worth the extra dirty dish.

I added the juice of a half a lemon, then put the mixture into a jar to cool and store.

Mix this with cold soda water to your taste.  The recipe suggested a ratio of 1:1, which I found overpowering.  I liked 1 part cherry syrup to about 3 parts water better.

The recipe also suggests using this syrup immediately. There's a reason for this: the cherries have a very high pectin content.  Once they cool and are refridgerated, the syrup becomes a jelly.  Try mixing cherry jelly into soda water and you'll find that it looks like blood clots.  Ew gross.  Just don't.... or stir it really well with a fork to break it up first.

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