When Kevin was small, we used to visit a coffee shop where he could get an Italian soda-club soda and ice, topped with a flavoured syrup. He loved them more than canned pop, but they were often a bit pricey so became a family treat when Mom and Dad went out for coffee. I loved that he could play around with the flavours, but sometimes the syrups had artificial colors and flavours that I wasn't too happy with.
Recently we discovered how to make some of our own syrups, and began mixing and matching them here at home. What I love about making them yourself is that not only are they very easy, but you get to control the sugar and what else is added. All you have to do is boil a bit of fresh fruit or juice with sugar and water, let it cool, then store in a jar in the fridge, ready for when you want to make a drink. Don't even stop at drinks, these fruit syrups are delicious over pancakes, ice cream, or even drizzled on cheesecake. The best part? No colors, flavours, or preservatives added.
When the temperatures are soaring and you want something fun and cool for the kids to drink, skip the pop and let the kids put together their own sodas with fresh fruit slices, ice, club soda, and these syrups. Below is our favourite combination but you can experiment and try adding juices as well such as pineapple, cranberry, or mango. For adults, coconut rum adds a nice touch.
lime syrup (recipe doubled)
slices of fresh lime
adults only: coconut rum (1 shot per glass)
Rhubarb Vanilla Syrup (adapted from Dinner With Julie)
2-3 stalks chopped fresh rhubarb
1/2 vanilla bean pod
1 cup sugar
2 cups water
In a medium sized pot over medium heat, bring the rhubarb, sugar, vanilla bean, and water to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer until the rhubarb has broken down and the mixture has thickened, about 30-40 minutes. Strain through a fine mesh sieve to catch the solids, remove the vanilla pod, and pour syrup into a jar. Cool to room temperature before sealing and storing in the fridge.
T o make a drink, fill a cup half full of ice. Add 1 cup of club soda. Pour in 3-4 tbsp of rhubarb syrup, and then 1-2 tbsp of lime syrup. Stir. Garnish with a slice of lime, orange slices, or sliced strawberries
Makes about 2 cups of syrup