Now, I'm not a big fan of super sugary sodas. I can't stomach anything non-diet from Coca-Cola or Pepsi. In fact, about the only mass-produced sodas I drink are Diet Coke and Fresca (also a Coke product), but I've seriously cut back on even that in the last couple years. Sometimes I'll try something new (I think I have an addiction to trying new things...), and most recently I tried GUS, which is short for Grown Up Soda—how cute! My favorite thing about it is that it manages to be sweet, but not too sweet. It's also natural, caffeine free and comes in a variety of interesting flavors. But enough about that. I actually like making my own "soda."
For now, I have to settle for adding seltzer water or unflavored soda water to my flavors, but eventually (read: When I have a bigger kitchen) I hope to carbonate my own water with the Soda Club so that I can just use tap water and some refillable bottles. Today, after having an orange-ginger iced tea with my lunch at Hampton Chutney, I was inspired. That iced tea would have been great with a little carbonation, I thought. So, with the lemons languishing in my crisper drawer, I whipped up an original recipe.
Lemon Tea Soda
(makes approximately 1.5 liter)
2 lemons (zest removed and juice reserved)
1/2 cup sugar (superfine will dissolve easiest)
2 cups water
3 Lemon Zinger tea bags
1 liter seltzer water or club soda
1. In a saucepan, heat the water, lemon zest and tea bags to a boil. Turn off heat and allow to steep for a few minutes. Remove zest and tea bags then add sugar and stir to dissolve. If you use a coarse or unrefined sugar, you may need to heat it further to dissolve everything.
2. Combine the heated mixture and lemon juice in a pitcher. Add the seltzer to top off the container or to taste. If you prefer a more subtly flavored drink, but your container is full, simply treat the mixture as a concentrate and add more seltzer or ice water when serving.