As a healthy food and lifestyle blogger, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I have an addiction to diet sodas. My current favorites are Coke Zero and Hansen’s Diet Ginger Ale. I try not to consume too much – maybe two to three cans a day. I do like fizzy drinks though, so I attempt to create a healthy balance by drinking flavored seltzer waters from Le Croix instead of diet soda whenever I can.
However, I really should find a healthier alternative to diet soda, which was why I was interested in reviewing, The Artisan Soda Workshop: 75 Homemade Recipes from Fountain Classics to Rhubarb Basil, Sea Salt Lime, Cold-Brew Coffee and Much Much More by Andrea Lynn. The Artisan Soda Workshop is a wonderful little paperback cookbook (it measures 5.8 x 7.4 inches) that is filled with marvelous, fairly healthy soda concoctions that you can make at home. In fact, Many of the recipes are easy enough to make with the kids, too!
Andrea gives you recipes for soda syrups that feature real, wholesome ingredients like fruit and herbs. Just whip up a batch of syrup, add plain seltzer water, and you have soda! Andrea includes favorites like Coke and Dr. Pepper copy cat recipes as well as more exotic fare like Prickly Pear or Mango Chile soda mixes. I also like that she includes Mexican-style Aqua Frescas made from watery fruits like melons and cucumbers. Many of these recipes would be great to serve at parties for your non-imbibing guests, or as a healthy, refreshing post-workout drink on a hot day.
In addition, what’s great about making your own sodas is that you can control the ingredients and work around any food sensitivities you have. Sure, many of the recipes are sweetened with sugar, but Andrea does use alternative sweeteners, like agave syrup and coconut palm sugar, in some of her recipes. I wish she would have included stevia (liquid or powdered) or maybe featured a half sugar – half stevia recipe. That way people, especially diabetics and people trying to lose weight, could sample more of the recipes. I’m sure you could experiment and substitute stevia for sugar when appropriate.
Luckily, not all the recipes require adding a sweetener. Instead, many, like this one for Pineapple-Basil Syrup, rely on the natural sweetness of fruit juice.
Recipe by Andrea Lynn from The Artisan Soda Workshop
Yield: 1/2 cup
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 12 to 15 basil leaves
- In a medium, heavy pot, combine the pineapple juice and basil leaves, and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Let boil until reduced to 1/2 cup, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and use a fork to remove the basil leaves from the liquid.
- Let cool, and refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 5 days.
- To make Pineapple-Basil Soda: Stir 2 tablespoons Pineapple-Basil Syrup, or to taste, into 10 ounces (1 1/4 cups) seltzer.
Easy, right? Check out The Artisan Soda Workshop: 75 Homemade Recipes from Fountain Classics to Rhubarb Basil, Sea Salt Lime, Cold-Brew Coffee and Much Much More in paperback or on Kindle. Or you may want to buy a copy for your favorite cook or mixologist. This would make a great stocking stuffer during the holidays or a terrific host/hostess gift, too!
Disclosure: I was provided a copy of The Artisan Soda Workshop to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own. Recipe and photograph used with permission.
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