Over the last few weeks Nick has been experimenting with homemade soda recipes. A lovely article on homemade root beer in the most recent issue of Saveur provided the catalyst. These days, store bought sodas use carbonated water to provide the necessary bubbles, though traditionally yeast was used to carbonate the beverage. However, this gives the soda an ABV of around two or three percent -- rendering it unsaleable to those under 21 in our country (you'd likely get ill before being able to consume enough to become even a bit tipsy).
The method for making soda is similar to homebrewing beer. Nick made root beer first, using the Saveur article as a guide. In the first photo you can see the spices wrapped in cheesecloth that steeped in the boiling water. Sassafras root, sarsaparilla root, birch bark, licorice root, ginger, vanilla bean and molasses provided a superb aroma.
More recent creations have included ginger ale (pictured above, and my personal favorite so far) and sarsaparilla soda. Nick has been using the book Homemade Root Beer, Soda & Pop as well as various internet sources to create recipes. Cream soda is coming up next!