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 Posted: Sat Apr 5th, 2014 09:06 pm
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Hellcat
Root Beer Lover


Joined: Tue Nov 15th, 2005
Location: USA
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Ok, this recipe I previously posted in the Drinks thread. This is the Carbonated Syrup Water recipe from Civil War Recipes: Receipts from the Pages of Godey's Lady Book, edited by Lily May Spaulding and John Spaulding. From page 49:


Put into a tumbler lemon, raspberry, strawberry, pineapple or any other acid syrup, sufficient in quantity to flavor beverage very highly. Then pour in very cold ice water till the glass is half full. Add half a teaspoonful of bicarbonate of soda (to be obtained at the druggist's), and stir it well in with a teaspoon. It will foam up immediately, and must be drank during the effervescence.

By keeping the syrup and the carbonate of soda in the house, and mixing them as above with ice water, you can at any time have a glass of this pleasant drink; precisely similar to that which you get at the shops.* The cost is infinitely less.

*Flavored soda waters as well as soda counters where they were served) were firmly in place by the time the Civil War began.


Ok, so in the Drinks thread I said that Arm & Hammer Baking Soda was the same thing as bicarbonate of soda. That actually came from looking things up online and finding out that bicarbonate of soda was another name for sodium bicarbonate. Which is also called bread soda, cooking soda, and baking soda. I also said in that thread, as at the time Albert Sailhorst and I were discussing making root beer, that I was going to try it with the root beet concentrate I had here. As my next post pointed out, that was a flat out mistake as the concentrate didn't have any acid to it that I could see and I didn't add enough to get a root beer flavor.

But I was far from ready to give up on this recipe. And today I finally revisited it, this time going for a lemon soda. This is the point in these, I guess you'd call them blogs, where I say what I did an my opinion of the results. And I'm not going to change that.

So for starters I had to have an acid syrup. I made a simple syrup by boiling a quarter cup reconstituted lemon juice with a quart cup sugar and let that cool. As I said of my horrid root beer failure, I didn't have acid in the concentrate (or at last there wasn't near enough acid to do anything with). This time I figured I'd try with lemon juice, knowing citrus fruits contain citric acid. And I figured the lemon juice would be a good place to re-attempt this recipe.

Once the simple syrup was cool I poured about half into a 10 oz. glass and then added slightly more than half the glass full of water from a Brita filter pitcher from the fridge. I know, the recipe says half full, I made a mistake in filling the water (I'd say I was closer to three-quarters full). Then I added a half teaspoon of baking soda and stirred. The result foamed up nicely as I stirred.

And now it was time for a taste. I might back off slightly on the baking soda, not do a full half teaspoon but certainly not a quarter teaspoon. However, this exceeded my expectations. Actually, everyone who tried it liked it. One person even said it tasted to them a little like Seven-Up. I kinda expected it to be more heavy towards the baking soda flavor than it was. The fizzing was a little like the old vinegar and bak9ng soda trick we tended to learn in school science (I wanna say elementary school, but I can't be so sure some folks didn't learn that trick until middle school/junior high). The water does dilute the effect somewhat with only about an 1/8 of a cup of the lemon simple syrup so at about three-quarters of the glass full it didn't overrun the glass. And that "effervescence" the recipe talks about was still seeming to tickle the back of my throat nearly half an hour later. Maybe that was just my imagination.

Would I do this again? I'm seriously considering orange juice simple syrup right now. I'll have to try that and give my opinion on it. But this recipe s one that is worth doing again and again. Though I'm not so sure about strawberrys, is there really enough acid there for this? Maybe I try that the way I make my strawberry shortcake, but that would be more like a "Mikes Hard Lemonade" as I use brandy in that.

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