Fizz And Fireworks: Make A Patriotic Homemade Soda For The Fourth

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If you haven't heard the buzz — or maybe it's the fizz — handmade sodas have been experiencing a full-on revival over the past few years. Whether they're mixed at home with a Soda Stream-like device or made at an old-fashioned soda fountain, the rise of homemade sodas has been driven by a general shift toward less-processed foods.

"Old-timey sodas represent the movement toward higher quality — meaning seasonal, small-batch, local, even organic," Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights at the Hartman Group, a consumer trends consultancy, told NPR's Allison Aubrey in 2011.

Americans bought more than 1.2 million home carbonators last year, with worldwide sales of SodaStream alone rising to $436.3 million from $289 million in 2011, The New York Times reports. Bartenders and home cooks have used the devices to liven up more than just water. Juices, tea and more can be carbonated, though that may void the manufacturer's warranty.

For the Fourth of July, we asked mixologist and soda fountain entrepreneur Gina Chersevani to help us find a patriotic way into the homemade soda trend.

Last year, Chersevani started Buffalo & Bergen, a soda counter in Washington, D.C.'s Union Market — it features an original 1939 soda fountain that she found and had restored.

"At some point," she notes, "another jerk was standing here and this was their job." Jerk, by the way, is the traditional name for those who manned soda fountains in the 19th and 20th century.

In the summer, Chersevani makes a Red, White and Blue float with blueberry and raspberry syrups, vanilla ice cream and seltzer. She says it's a perfect Independence Day treat.

"Raspberries and blueberries ... are peaking right now, so they're beautiful and bright," she says. "I would say this is as much Fourth of July as you can get in a glass."

Here's her recipe if you want to try this at home. Happy Fourth of July!


Recipe: Red, White And Blue Float

Chersevani makes the syrups in large batches for the restaurant, but the recipes are easily scaled down.

Raspberry Syrup

Makes 12 ounces

4 pints raspberries, mashed

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Simmer all ingredients together in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and strain. Keeps for at least two weeks in the fridge.

Blueberry Syrup

Makes 12 ounces

3 pints blueberries, mashed

2 cups sugar

2 cups water

Simmer all ingredients together in a saucepan until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and strain. Keeps for at least two weeks in the fridge.

Float

1 ounce raspberry syrup

2 scoops vanilla ice cream, divided

1 ounce blueberry syrup

Seltzer

Place one scoop of ice cream on the bottom of a tall glass. Add raspberry syrup, followed by two ounces of seltzer water. Add the second scoop of ice cream and then the blueberry syrup. To finish, top off with seltzer.

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