The Artisan Soda Workshop by Andrea Lynn is a great little book filled with 70 recipes for homemade soda syrups, to which you add sparkling water to make fresh refreshments. The book has copycat recipes for some commercial sodas and some vintage sodas like egg creams and root beer. My favorite recipes, however, are the ones using fresh ingredients, herbs and spices, and other seasonal ingredients.
I've been making my own sodas for several years now (once I realized how easy it is) but there are so many "Why didn't I think of that?" recipes in this book that I expect I'll wear out the binding within a year. I started with the recipe for Strawberry-Balsamic Shrub, which is delicious, but takes 5 days for the strawberries to infuse into the vinegar. Then I made one of the easiest recipes in the book: Sea Salt–Lime Syrup, which takes just a day to infuse. It uses the zest of limes (that I always have around for cocktails), the juice of those limes, agave syrup as a sweetener, and sea salt.
Not only is the syrup super easy to make, I'm pretty sure I can use the same format for lemon, orange, and especially grapefruit syrups as well. And since this is a cocktail column, I should mention that a splash of vodka gives all these sodas a satisfying kick.
Sea Salt–Lime Syrup
From The Artisan Soda Workshop by Andrea Lynn
Yield: About ¾ cup
Perfect in a margarita, this also makes a simple, refreshing drink on its own. On a hot day, the slightly salty beverage really hits the spot.
.5 Cup Boiling Water
.5 Teaspoon sea salt
1.5 Tablespoons agave syrup
Grated Zest and Juice of 2 Limes
In a heatproof container, stir together the boiling water and salt to combine. Add the agave and the lime zest and juice, and stir to combine. Let the mixture cool, then refrigerate in a covered container for 12 to 24 hours. Then, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the lime zest. Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 7 days.
To make Sea Salt–Lime Soda: Stir 1 tablespoon Sea Salt–Lime Syrup, or to taste, into 10 ounces (1¼ cups) seltzer. If desired, you can even sprinkle a few flakes of sea salt into the glass to serve.