Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Cool jerk: artisanal soda

I was sent a Soda Stream machine this week, a 1970s relic which has been re-branded and updated, and boy have I had fun! Plus it couldn't have come at a better time with the hot weather. 
Sodas or 'fizzy drinks' as we call them in the UK, were sold in drugstores in the USA because of a belief in the health properties of carbonated water. 
Artisanal sodas are bubbling up over in the states: Brooklyn, with its thriving food culture seems to be the epicentre of the home made fizz ( and to name but two companies)
Back in 2011, I visited the Brooklyn Farmacy at their stall at Brooklyn flea, now they own an actual drugstore. So cool!
Soda Stream comes with ready-made sachets of flavoured syrups but I thought I'd prefer to make my own artisanal syrups.

Obviously the great thing about making your own syrups is that you can reduce the sugar if you wish, you know it has no nasties in it like aspartame, and you can make unusual flavours.

You fill the bottle that comes with the machine with ordinary water then carbonate it in the Soda Stream. Then you add your syrup. It's like having your own home soda fountain. Even the teen is impressed. Now all I need to do is pull on a tight sweater and hope to get discovered like Lana Turner.

Rosemary, Bay and Hibiscus syrup

Makes one small bottle, enough for two bottles of soda stream carbonated water.

A few sprigs of rosemary

5/6 fresh Bay leaves
5/6 hibiscus flowers
440ml (2 cups) water
400g (2 cups) sugar

Put the ingredients in a heavy bottomed sauce pan and heat until the sugar is dissolved. Keep on a low heat for 20 minutes. Then strain the syrup (with a cheesecloth and funnel or through a chinois) into a bottle.
Make 1 bottle of soda stream water, using their special bottle then add half the quantity of syrup. Or just add fizzy water.

One year ago: Spaghetti in a bag 
Two years ago: Tutti frutti mustard ice cream 
Three years ago: A revolutionary bouillon and a collapsing ancien regime croquembouche 
Four years ago: Dinner with Ravinder Bhogal and Hardeep Singh Kholi 
Five years ago: The wizards 40th birthday party 


  1. When clearing my Mothers house earlier this year I bagged the original 70s soda stream. It may still be possible to buy the canisters but they have a limited number available and then no more.

    I fancy making syrup for tonic water from scratch but you need to extract the quinine from a bark that is not legally available to the general public in the UK. You can however buy it in the US.

    1. I'm ordering all the roots to make root beer... but yes tonic would be great.

  2. We used to have a soda stream when I was a kid - we loved it! Wish we still had it but my mum is the opposite of a hoarder...

    Love the sound of your home-made syrup...

    1. Thanks Kavey. I remember those little bomb shaped silver things for making the soda of the 70s one.

  3. I fizzed everything with mine, milk, red wine, advocaat.
    Thankfully, I'm over that phase now and settle for water maybe with a mint tea bag in it for Saturday morning head, but mostly served over vodka and ice. :-)

  4. I just bought a soda stream, currently just having it with homemade elderflower cordial but I'm pondering all the possibilities! I really want to make my own tonic water but it seems difficult.


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