An artist and a chemist making soda and carbonated juices from scratch, using fresh and seasonal ingredients. Fresh draft soda - available at the Brooklyn Flea on the weekends & select bars & restaurants

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Our first bit of press! NY Times food blog

Eric from the Brooklyn Flea sent this little bit of press over last night - woo hoo!  Thanks for mentioning us! And we're in such delectable company too (Porchetta has ridiculously delicious pork sandwiches; Good Fork is one of our favorite Brooklyn restaurants)

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Photos from the tasting party and lots of root beer floats!

It's Sunday Soda Tasting Day!  We invited some friends over to help us taste our first soda scale up and to say thanks to everyone for the support we've received over the past few months, raising funds and putting up with our incessant soda and juicing talk.
The first few pulls of the taps resulted in very foamy soda spewing out and some sad attempts at stemming the foamy outbursts, but eventually we got it right (the lines in the jockey boxes must be as cold as possible!), and were soon serving up some 3 flavors of soda celebrating the beginning of spring!

Happy ginger beer drinker, Binh.
Our friend Adrienne had bought over ice cream for floats.
 Step 1: pour root beer into large glass

Step 2: scoop in generous serving of ice cream

Step 3: Watch it foam!

Step 4: Do as David did, and slurp happily away

Give thumbs up (thanks to Opher's thumb)

Maria enjoying her root beer.

Our first scale up!

Our first scale up and soda party was a success! It featured a lemon-ginger ale; cucumber, lime & sea salt, and a root beer.  No terrible technical issues, no meltdowns and no sick guests.  Weather was beautiful this whole week so it was a tad tough to be indoors all day Saturday peeling 8 pounds of ginger and juicing an insane amount of lemons & limes, but it was worth it.

The first thing we had to do was make the root beer on Friday night... the sheer amount of spices we used made the apartment smell quite wonderful (or as our roommate noted: "even the trash smells good!"). The photos below of the cardamom, star anise, juniper and vanilla don't quite do the aroma justice.

Saturday involved juicing piles of citrus fruits by hand (for some reason we don't own a citrus fruit juicer yet which means Tony and I had to juice the limes & lemons using forks.  

Peeling the 20 cucumbers was much faster
and of course our Ruby 2000 (our little beast) just made quick work of everything, pumping out liters of wonderfully fragrant green liquid.

We spent Saturday evening carbonating the three kegs, attempting to shake all three kegs evenly and learning tricks from various homebrew sites for best carbonation.  The 3 kegs then sat in our gigantic freezer over night.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Apple & ginger soda; and cucumber, lime & sea salt!

This past rainy Saturday we had a visitor to our kitchen - Liza from (a project through the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, about everything DIY in New York).  We took the opportunity to try out two totally new flavors - apple & ginger; and a cucumber based soda.  Also, this was our first time using our monster of a juicer - the Ruby 2000, which is now dominating one entire corner of our kitchen.

We juiced 5 green apples and a big chunk of ginger, to make about 900ml of liquid.  No sugar was added (the apples were sweet enough and we wanted to keep the tart nature of the green apples present).  The mixture was filtered and poured into our trusty soda siphons for carbonating.

The second soda we wanted to dry was inspired by the (hopefully) upcoming warm weather season.  We're huge fans of cocktails using cucumber and gin, and thought we would try to make our own mixer.  Again the Ruby 2000 made quick work of our 5 cucumbers, producing about 800ml of juice.  We tried again to use mint, but haven't figured out how to extract a fresh mint flavor without using huge piles of mint.  Even steeping mint in hot water didn't quite produce the effect we wanted - none of the really fresh mint flavor came through.  

So it was improvisation time - we rummaged through our fridge and realized we had a whole bag of limes.  We juiced 2 limes, then added the lime juice to the cucumber juice. The tartness of the limes is a great contrast to the mild, fresh cucumber juice.  
Lime zest was added to our simple syrup (1/4 cup of sugar), which was then added to the juice to balance out the lime juice. A tiny pinch of sea salt was added to bring out the all the individual flavors.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Root beer time!

The main ingredient in root beer was traditionally sassafras root, but the essential oil of sassfras was found to carcinogenic in mice in the 60's.  Safrole, an oil extracted from sassafras is apparently also used in clandestine MDMA (ecstasy) synthesis.  So no sassafras anymore.  Most recipes I've seen seem to use sasparilla, but most of the root beers I've tasted taste much more like birch and vanilla.  Based on earlier taste tests with different roots and spices, I'll start by trying- 

vanilla bean
lemon zest

This first batch was a good start!  A bit of tweaking is still necessary, and I want to try using yucca or something else to replicate the thicker creaminess of my favorite root beers but the taste is already pretty close!

Caroline got back from enjoying the Animal Collective & Danny Perez performance piece at the Guggenheim just in time to taste the uncarbonated root beer liquid and Stephanie finally got to taste a bottle of our ginger beer.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Lemon, thyme & pink peppercorn soda

Had an hour free before the commute into Newark, so decided I'd give my sister's suggestion of lemon & thyme soda a try.

8 sprigs of thyme boiled for 30 min, then the juice of 1 and a half lemons was added.
About 1/4 cups of white sugar was added, as well as the zest of the lemons
We debated how much lemon juice to add to make sure the more subtle taste of the thyme was not overwhelmed, eventually settling on about 7 tablespoons.
At the last minute we decided to see how the floral flavor of pink peppercorn would hold up - it ended up complementing the savory taste of the thyme and the acidity of the lemon very well.

And as a nice side note, our lemon & thyme soda makes a pretty kickass cocktail with Boomsa Genever (a gin aged in oak). Perfect Friday night drink.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

A stamp?

Been playing around with ideas for a logo and a stamp (we want a stamp! we want to stamp things!)
There's a great rubber stamp maker in the East Village (Casey Rubber Stamps) who we're going to take our design to.

Any suggestions?  I know we can't legally bottle and sell yet, but drawing a cup wasn't very fun. And we do hope to one day be able to bottle our stuff to distribute at least within New York.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Cascade hops soda, with pink peppercorn & orange zest

Hop Soda?!
We love beer over here at brooklyn soda works, especially good, crisp, hoppy american IPAs.  Today we decided to try out a bitter soda made from hops.  The idea was to combine the pine/grapefruit aroma and bitterness of fresh cascade hops with the fruity/herbal spice of pink peppercorn and some orange zest to round it out.  
First try was just way too bitter- we used about 20 fresh Cascade hop flowers and boiled for about 30 min.  Most of the great aroma of the hops was lost in the boil and a we got a whole lot of bitterness that overwhelmed the more delicate peppercorn and orange zest flavors.  

Second try was much better- 2 tablespoons of pink peppercorns boiled in 1L of water for about 15 min, then the hot water was poured over 7 hop flowers and the zest of 1 orange.  Let it sit until it cooled and then sweetened lightly with about 1/4 cup of sugar.  

Yummmmm, tastes nothing like beer but should appeal to beer fans or anyone who likes hops or other bitter and floral tastes.