In Homemade Soda, author Andrew Schloss has created over 200 recipes for homemade fizzes, cream sodas, herbal elixirs, and more, that range in complexity and difficulty but deliver on flavor and fun. Homemade sodas can be as simple as pureeing or cooking some fruit and sugar, and adding some store-bought seltzer, or as complex as brewing ginger ale and adding yeast to the bottle to create carbonation.
Making sodas at home follows the continuing DIY trend in American kitchens. From canning to charcuterie, more and more Americans are making products at home without the additives and preservatives of their store-bought counterparts. Sodas also have a touch of nostalgia. As recently reported by The New York Times, the soda fountain is experiencing a renaissance of sorts in some cities, with modern soda fountains churning out egg creams, fizzes, rickeys, and flips, with homemade syrups and fresh fruit purees.
Schloss introduces readers to ingredients like burdock root, birch bark, and sassafras and sweeteners like agave syrup. Most recipes, however, call for ingredients easily found on supermarket shelves. The introduction of Homemade Soda includes a history of sodas from the time that water was first carbonated to the rise of bottled sodas like Coca-Cola. Schloss explains the ins and outs of carbonating at home with various yeasts and offers troubleshooting tips.
There are chapters in Homemade Soda for fruit sodas, cola brews, herbal and healing waters, shrubs and switchels, cream sodas, and more. Each chapter--and several recipes--includes historical information about how those drinks were used to heal or refresh. While there are plenty of recipe kids will love, like egg creams (which actually don't include any egg), root beer, and cream sodas, there are just as many grown-up recipes. There are recipes using kombucha or prunes, vinegary fruit shrubs, and syrups made with tea or coffee.
Most recipes start by creating a syrup or puree, which you can later mix with store-bought seltzer, though a few--like the sparkling watermelon--require a soda siphon. A lot of recipes call for fresh fruits, but several--such as the mango carrot bubble--call for bottled fruit juices. There are recipes as simple or as complex as you have time for. Most make just 4-6 servings, so it's easy to can use them up before they spoil.