a journal of tea-inspired foods and recipes
My newest cookbook acquisition is Homemade Soda by Andrew Schloss. It’s a bright, cheery book with 200 recipes for crafting homemade fizzy drinks using all kinds of herbs, spices, fruits, vegetables, tea, coffee and chocolate.
I picked up the book at World Market – a store I can’t seem to walk out of without one or two totally unnecessary, spur-of-the-moment purchases. I bought it on a whim alongside my favorite tea-inspired sodas, Chai Cola and Maté Mojito by Taylor’s Tonics, which I love using as mixers for weekend rum drinks.
Flipping through the pages of Homemade Soda inspired me to try crafting my own flavorful sodas at home, where I can control the amount of sugar, use seasonal ingredients, and experiment with herbs and teas I already have on hand from my Zanitea tea blending business.
What’s great about the tea used in this recipe is that white tea pairs so well with fruit. Maybe it’s because I already have berry on the brain, but I get a citrus-y, fruity aroma from the Adagio’s White Peony Tea that I used in this recipe. White tea is the least processed, least oxidized and least astringent tea, so it generally has a wonderfully smooth and mild flavor.
White tea is also said to have the highest levels of antioxidants of any tea plant. Which makes another great reason to pair it with berries, which are said to be higher in antioxidants than any other fruit.
Ingredients facts aside, I also like to offer interesting, non-alcoholic beverage options at dinner parties, for designated drivers or those who don’t drink. A jar of fruit-flavored tea syrup and a bottle of seltzer water and I’ve got a thoughtful, fancy drink for a dinner crowd.
The recipe I made below has been doubled from the syrup recipe in the book. I wanted to make sure I had a jar of syrup for myself as well as one to give to the host or hostess of the next dinner party.
Happy cooking and sipping!
(Adapted from the Effervescent Raspberry White Tea recipe in Homemade Soda by Andrew Schloss)
Makes about 3 cups, enough for 2 medium jars
2 cups water
1 ½ cups sugar
8 teaspoons loose leaf white tea (I used Adagio’s White Peony Tea)
6 oz. fresh raspberries (about 1 heaping cup)
1. Combine water and sugar in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring a few times as the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and stir in the tea leaves and raspberries. Cover with a lid, and steep for 5 minutes.
2. Remove the lid and mash the raspberries into the liquid with a vegetable masher or back of a wooden spoon. Let the mixture cool, uncovered, for 5 more minutes, and then strain to remove the bits of raspberry and tea leaves.
3. Allow the syrup to cool completely before storing in sealed jars. The syrup will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.