I’ve been bitten by the soda jerk bug.
Ever since Andy and I took a trip to Galco’s Soda Pop Stop this past weekend, I haven’t been able to stop thinking about new soda flavors I want to try. And since this apocalyptic heat wave has ruled out baking indefinitely, I’ve been able to indulge my soda-making whims all week.
Or as I call it, courting diabetes.
I will never understand the use of “vanilla” as an adjective to mean “bland.” Whoever coined this metaphoric usage must have never actually tasted, smelled, or had any sort of sensory exposure to vanilla, because I’m pretty sure vanilla bean is one of the strongest and most distinctive flavors on the planet. No wonder the Aztecs used this shiz as currency.
Ever since I’ve been off chocolate, I’ve gained a new appreciation for this often-overlooked flavor. It’s been one of Andy’s favorites for a while, so I’m glad it’s something we can now share, although I’m convinced I will never acquire her taste for cream soda. Or cilantro.
This soda was made with her in mind, and as such has an over-the-top vanilla flavor that will definitely make you wonder what vanilla-as-synonym-for-bland guy was thinking. It’s also a great way to use leftover vanilla bean husks once you’ve scraped out all the seeds.
So what do you say? Won’t you court diabetes with me?
1 1/2 c water
1 1/2 c sugar
1 seeded vanilla bean husk
club soda *
1. In a small saucepan, combine sugar, water, and vanilla bean and bring to a boil.
2. Boil for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mixture has reduced to a thin syrup (it will reduce by about half, so you should end up with roughly 1 1/2 c)
3. Remove from heat and let cool. Use a fine mesh sieve to strain out any pulpy vanilla bits, then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge. Save your vanilla bean for a future batch of syrup, or stick it in a jar of plain white sugar to make vanilla sugar!
4. To make soda, just add some syrup to a glass, pour club soda over it, and stir. Andy likes it strong, so I use about a 25-75 syrup to soda ratio for her. How much syrup you need also depends on how much water has cooked out. Experiment until you find a proportion you like!
* Club soda has a slightly acidic taste, so use sparkling water if you prefer a sweeter soda. Just don’t use tonic water, because quinine is gross!