Friday, June 10, 2011

Jenn's Review: Homemade Soda

Homemade Soda: 200 Recipes for Making & Using Fruit Sodas & Fizzy Juices, Sparkling Waters, Root Beers & Cola Brews, Herbal & Healing Waters, ... & Floats, & Other Carbonated ConcoctionsSummary: Making your own soda is easy and inexpensive. Best of all, you control the sweetness level and ingredients, so you can create a drink that’s exactly what you want. Using a few simple techniques, anyone can make a spectacular variety of beverages. Try Pomegranate Punch, Chai Fizz, Fruity Root Beer, Sparkling Orange Creamsicle, Honey Cardamom Fizzy Water, Sparkling Espresso Jolt, Cold Fudge Soda, Lightly Salty Caramel Seltzer, Sangria Shrub, Maraschino Ginger Ale, Malted Molasses Switchel, or Berry Vinegar Cordial. Some recipes show you how to re-create the flavors of favorite commercial soft drinks, and others show you how to use homemade soda in decadent desserts and adult cocktails. The delicious possibilities are endless!

Review: My husband and I bought a Soda Stream recently, a nifty little machine that allows you to make your own pop/soda (a great investment for us, but not necessarily for everyone). It comes with syrups for sparkling water & sodas, but as my hubby and I are foodies, we always love to explore beyond. So when I saw this book available on Netgalley, I jumped at the chance to check it out.

There are tons of fabulous recipes in here, from sparkling waters, to popular sodas, to herbal sodas, and sparkling coffees -and even egg creams, switchels, and recipes for food cooked with sodas. Plus a little bit of history thrown in as well for interest. There's even a map of the United States that diagrams what soda is called in different parts of the country, though I must disagree with him that all of New York State calls it "soda". Here in the western-most part of the state (pretty much everywhere west of Rochester, NY) it is definitely called "pop" all the way down to the Pennsylvania border.

Though there are definitely things in here I want to try (Slightly Salty Caramel Seltzer, Strawberry Pomegranate Soda, Espresso Jolt, Brown Sugar Mocha Soda, Creme Brûlée Soda, etc.) many of these recipes are a little more complicated than I have time for and some with ingredients I don't have. Not that the ingredients are exotic or impossible to find, but some are not things I have handy in my kitchen. A simplified version of some of the recipes would be handy.  Not every recipe is complex, though, there are definitely quick and easy ones with basic ingredients too.  I actually think this would be a fun date night or party activity to go through the book and have everyone make their own individualized carbonated beverages.

As for the food recipes, I think I'd hate to spend all that time custom making a soda just to put it in a recipe. To be fair, all the recipes do say to use either homemade or store bought.  There are some great ones (Chocolate Root Beer Cheesecake) I'll definitely try with store bought pop/soda.

The only thing I was really hoping to find in this book and didn't was a recipe for strawberry pop.  There are some fantastic ones with strawberries in them, but none where the strawberry is the star.  However, reading through the various recipes has given me the confidence to experiment and come up with my own.

If you are a food and/or beverage connoisseur, this is a must have.  If you are a dabbler, like me, it's certainly fun to explore the possibilities.



Anonymous ,  June 11, 2011 at 12:56 AM  

I am not much of a soda drinker, but this book certainly sounds interesting. I almost want to start drinking soda, some of these recipes sound really good!


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