Bitters & Club Soda – Two dashes or 5 to 6 drops of a favorite bitters in a glass of club soda makes an intriguing beverage. (Note: many of the bitters do have alcohol as a base.)
Flavored Syrups & Sparkling Water – Homemade sugar syrups with herbs, spices and/or citrus peels (see the recipes in the Infusions & More section) add some satisfying zip to a glass of sparkling water.
- 1 cup fresh pineapple
- 1 cup black vinegar
- 1/2 cup organic, cane sugar
I brought the mixture to a boil, and let it simmer for 20 minutes or so. Once it cooled, I strained it through a sieve to remove the chunks of pineapple. (They became a chutney-like ingredient for our dinner that night.) I used a ratio of one part pineapple-vinegar to 5 parts of water. Of course, you can use any ratio that tastes good to you.
For the garnish, I used lovage, which looks like a giant celery head in the garden, and tastes like celery as well. The stems are hollow, and make very handy, dandy straws, while imparting a faint celery flavor.
Strawberry Basil Mint Syrup with Sparkling Water
- 3 cups strawberries – washed, hulled and chopped
- 2 cups water
- 1/4 cup loosely packed basil mint, or equal parts basil and mint
- 3/4 cup organic cane sugar
Combine the strawberries and water, and bring to a low boil. Simmer for 20 minutes. Add the basil mint, and simmer for 10 more minutes. If you want a stronger basil mint flavor, add this component earlier.
Strain through a sieve, and return the syrup to the pan. Add the sugar, bring to a boil, and simmer until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture thickens slightly. Cool and refrigerate. Mix to taste with sparkling water for a scrumptious soda.