March 31, 2011

Recipe 8 - Strawberry Rhubarb

This is a recipe that I've wanted to do for quite some time. I finally got my chance when I found some rhubarb at the grocery store by chance. I don't think rhubarb is in season right now, so this probably didn't taste quite as delicious as it could have, but it was a tasty enough brew to warrant a write up. I shared some of this with some friends of mine, and it was very well received. They thought it was commercially viable, but that's not a step I'm ready to take yet.

For One Gallon:
1/2 lb rhubarb
1/2 lb strawberries
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 cups water
2 cups sugar
2 dashes salt
1 gallon carbonated water

Chop the rhubarb and the strawberries and place them in a saucepan with 1 cup of water and 1/8 cup of the lemon juice. Bring this to a boil while stirring. The strawberries and the rhubarb will break down and you'll need to strain the juice through a sieve, jelly bag or cheese cloth. I've found that one round of filtration isn't quite enough. So when filtering my homemade soda,
I put it once through a jelly bag, and once through a coffee filter. The jelly bag removes the large pulp that would quickly clog the coffee filter, and the coffee filter removes most of the finer sediment. What you're left with after the coffee filter is a very fine sediment that takes quite some time to settle out and is imperceptible after a slight shake to the bottle.
The pulp that is left from the jelly bag still has some flavor, put it back in the pot, add the second cup of water, and bring to a boil again, then strain and filter a second time.
Once you have your 2 cups of juice, in a separate pot, add the sugar and heat until dissolved. Remove from heat and add the last of your lemon juice. Now you have a nice tart syrup, top up to 1 gallon with carbonated water.

March 30, 2011

Recipe 7 - Homemade Apple Pie Soda

This was delicious, the flavor is a bit light and not too sweet, but very tasty and very simple, provided you have a green apple syrup.

For one gallon:
10 ozs (1 1/4 cups) Monin Green Apple syrup,
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 gallon carbonated water.

For one 12 oz bottle:
1/8 cup green apple syrup
1 Tbsp brown sugar
dash of cinnamon
10-11 ozs carbonated water.

Bring the three flavor ingredients just to boiling in a saucepan while stirring then remove from heat to get a thick syrup. Chill then add to carbonated water. Yes, it's that simple. In the future, I'd like to try and make this with Granny Smith apples, but that will be for another time. For now, I'm going to add a scoop of ice cream and enjoy a la mode!

Other green apple syrups can be substituted. The recommendation from Monin was 2 oz syrup to 10 oz carbonated water, so I cut that in half and made up for the reduced sweetness with the other flavors. I'd imagine following recommendations from a syrup such as Torani, then baking down to account for other flavors would be similar and work just as well.

I like the flexibility of this homemade recipe, because it's so easy to do by the glass or single bottle. I can easily whip this up in a few minutes, or keep to small batches if I know my keg is close to empty and I won't have enough carbed water for a larger batch. Just be sure that if you're bottling you should boil first, even if the simplicity is enticing enough not to, you want to make sure you don't have anything wild start to ferment in it. This is obviously less important for single servings that won't sit for long periods of time.

March 27, 2011

Equipment - The BierMuncher Bottle Filler

I've been doing a lot of browsing on the homebrew forums posted in the links section and found this bit of advice suggested to me by a number of members. This is a pseudo counterpressure bottle filler that works beautifully from a keg and keeps more carbonation in your beverage better than any other method I've ever seen.

It's simply a racking tube with a #2 drilled rubber stopper. These can be purchased from a homebrew supply store for just a few dollars. Remove the black piece at the base of your racking cane, and slip on the stopper.

Hook the top of the cane into your keg's tap and you're set!

As you bottle, place the base of your tube in such that the stopper is nice and snug in the mouth of
your bottle. You'll need to hold this in as you pour, which is easier said than done depending on your pressure that you've carbonated at. As your beverage is dispensed into the bottle, you'll see the flow stop, and the liquid in your bottle will show no bubbles. SLOWLY release the pressure by squeezing the side of the stopper. This is like slowly opening a 2-liter bottle, and the slow release of CO2 will be gentle and you won't lose as much carbonation.
It you're careful and cap immediately, leaving minimal headspace, you can still retain excellent carbonation levels.

A couple of things to keep in mind:
-For optimum results, be sure to keep everything very cold, the bottles, your syrup, your keg and it's contents. Gas is more soluble in a cold liquid than a warm liquid.

-The stopper fits some bottles better than others, so choose your bottles accordingly, unless you have access to a wider variety of drilled stoppers.

-Be careful about relieving pressure. Release it too fast and you'll blast soda all over your kitchen. The more agitation you have, the more carbonation you'll lose.

March 2, 2011

Recipe 6 – Strawberry Ginger Ale

This turned out to be a tasty beverage, though not as tart as I’d like. I think I’m going to have to order some citric acid to start using in my recipes. It has just enough ginger to give it an extra zip without standing out over the strawberry.


2 ¼ cups sugar

1 -8 oz can strawberry nectar

¼ cup lemon juice

¼ tsp ground ginger

¼ tsp strawberry extract

-Filter the strawberry nectar. This time I took the time to do this, and I was very pleased with the results. There is still some sediment, but not nearly as much as the peaches n’ cream.

-Add sugar, ginger and nectar to a sauce pan and heat just to simmering.

-Remove from heat and add the lemon juice and the extract. I also added a few drops of food color for show.

This should be enough syrup for 1 gallon of carbonated water. I ended up using 1/3 cup syrup per 12 oz bottle, which turned out to be a little too sweet.

This would be a very refreshing summertime beverage. Too bad it’s not summertime as you can see from the picture. You can also see that there is very little sediment, unlike the peach. No shaking required!

March 1, 2011

Recipe 5 – Peaches N’ Cream

After my banana recipe, I’m not sure why I decided to do another “cream” recipe. Again this one had NFDM in it, but since it didn’t seem to be a problem before, I wasn’t so concerned. I’m also not sure why I didn’t think to filter this one after my experience with the banana recipe. It turned out alright, though. Here’s what I ended up with:


1 – 7.5oz can Peach Nectar

¼ cup Nonfat Dry Milk

2 ½ cups sugar

1/8 cup lemon juice.

1 tsp vanilla extract

-Dry blend the sugar and Nonfat Dry Milk. Add it to a sauce pan.

-Filter the Peach nectar through a coffee filter to get the pulp out, then add it to the sauce pan.

-Bring this to a simmer to get the sugar dissolved then add the lemon juice and remove it from the heat.

-Once it cools, add the vanilla.

This should give you enough syrup for a gallon of carbonated water. As you can see from the picture, it's super easy!

Dry blending the sugar and NFDM will make sure that you don’t get clumps of milk powder in your syrup, so make sure that it’s blended so that there are no lumps.

Filtering the nectar is going to be key to making this look good. I didn’t do this and I got a bunch of pulp in my soda. That’s fine if you like dregs at the bottom of your bottle, but if you don’t want a soda that requires you to “shake well before opening” you should filter it. I don’t mind it myself, but I want other people enjoy these and floaties in your bottle have a certain “ewww” factor that I don’t people to associate with my sodas. I thought that nectar would be more flavorful than just juice, but now I’m starting to rethink that plan. I think I’ll go with clarified juice from now on. It will be easier to work with and probably taste about the same in the end.

I added some food coloring to make it look less drab, if you’re into the “no artificial flavors or colors” then that’s fine, too.

This actually tasted better than I thought and the pulp sludge wasn’t so bad. I remember peach nectar being gritty with pulp, but this actually went down pretty smooth. Like the banana, though, this seems to be missing the creamy note a little bit.

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