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 Posted: Sat Apr 5th, 2014 09:06 pm
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Hellcat
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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.



 Posted: Mon Apr 7th, 2014 06:20 am
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Hellcat
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Well I'm back with a couple of fresh experiments on this recipe.

First up, my considerations of orange juice from the initial post. Because things had gone so well with a quart cup worth of lemon syrup I decided to try doing a bit more for an orange flavored carbonated syrup water last night. Ramp it up to a half a cup of syrup. Keep in mind when I tried it with the lemon simple syrup I poured about half the syrup, or 1/8 cup, into the 10 oz. glass before adding the water so I got two glasses worth of drink. Here I was figuring 1/2 cup syrup I'd get four glasses of drink. I used store bought orange juice, made from concentrate, as I didn't think I had any oranges present (did find today I had one orange). Again equal amounts OJ to sugar to make the syrup, 1/2 cup each. Let it cool. Then added a quarter of the syrup to a 10 oz. glass and follow everything as instructed.

The results? YUCK!!!!! Orange flavored Arm & Hammer drink with no fizz. I actually had to pour all the syrup, including this glass of premade mixture, into a larger glass, add more water and a little more backing soda and stir vigorously to even get the slightest hint of fizz. It still tasted nasty even with half the amount of baking soda I would have used for four glasses worth of this drink had it succeeded.

I've gone through various reasons why it didn't work. First is the OJ, even though it doesn't say it, might have had calcium added. No idea if calcium would have an inverse effect on the results or not. Get back to that in a few sentences. Second, IT WAS FROM CONCENTRATE. Supposed to be 100% juice from concentrate, so I have no real idea how that would have affected things vs fresh squeezed. Again, get back to that in a few sentences. Third, I'd used a metal spoon to stir the syrup as I was making it instead of a wooden one like I'd used in making the lemon syrup. Could that have alter the make up of the syrup? Fourth, a white froth formed on this syrup as I was making it. Could something have been lost and this forth been a sign of the loss. Fifth, I used a metal spoon to stir the soda in the glass, just as I had with the lemon flavored carbonated syrup water, but here I had the spoon in the water and syrup before adding the baking soda. Could that have somehow altered things? Yet I didn't put the spoon in before adding the baking soda when I moved to a taller glass. But I think my sixth reason may be the real answer. I tried the OJ after I finished off this failure. It tastes a little off. Doesn't taste like it has calcium in it, a lot of the OJ's around here, particularly the store brands, don't taste the same with calcium added to them as without. Don't know if that's any different anywhere else, I'd assume it is but I'm not going to make the statement as a fact. It tastes like orange juice that's either been heavily watered down or that's been made from slightly bad oranges, if that makes sense. Not sure I'd chalk it up entirely to being from concentrate as it's also like they tried adding something to it. I've been drinking this brand for a while and it's like it's closer to orange flavored water, missing some citric acid. Could be I didn't shake up the gallon enough before I opened it of the first time. Figure the next time I try orange flavored carbonated syrup water I'll freshly squeeze the oranges. Or I'll try the juice before I try using it.

So the first experiment since yesterday's success was a disgusting failure (but hey, tasted better than my 2011 attempt with the root beer concentrate cause it at least tasted like orange, though with a heavy baking soda flavor from a half teaspoon). But the second.... Let's just say that that Seven-Up gave me the idea to try a lemon-lime attempt. I used the reconstituted lemon juice again and some lime juice, ReaLime in fact. I used a quarter cup sugar, but slightly more than that for the combined juices (about 1/8 cup lime juice and enough lemon juice to bring it up to about a quarter of the way between 1/4 cup and 1/3 cup). This extra juice may have had an effect on the results.

Speaking of the results, tasty. Not a clear lemon lime flavor, but worth repeating. However, that "effervescence" that the book refers to, the carbonated fizz/foam on top of the soda. I actually had about a half glass of water and syrup both times I added the baking soda and stirred. And both times it, the fizz, was nearly flowing up and over the sides of the glass. Very vigorous. Not sure if it was, indeed, the extra bit of juice giving it a little more acid to interact with the baking soda or if it was the use of the ReaLime. In with case, trying to drink it while the fizz was still so thick was a little like breathing in a citrus flavored fog. But the drink itself was very good.



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