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simple syrups, simple homemade sodas...

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

I love sparkling drinks...sparkling water, homemade sodas, anything with bubbles just makes me happy. Since traditional soda isn't so great for you, I'm always looking for ways to make my own version at home with real fruit and juices. An easy way to make homemade sodas is to use flavored simple syrups. You can make them in advance and serve with sparkling water at a moment's notice. And, they have way more concentrated flavor then simply mixing sparkling water with juice. All you need to do is choose a flavor and make a simple syrup and adjusting the amount of sugar based on the natural sweetness of fruit. Here's how and a few of our favorite flavors...

To make a simple syrup...

1. Combine ¾ cup sugar and 1 cup water in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.

2. Stir in (1 cup fruit) and bring to a boil.

3. Reduce heat and simmer until fruit has broken down, about 6-7 minutes.

4. Strain mixture through a cheesecloth or fine sieve; let cool.

5. To serve, whisk together simple syrup and 4 cups of soda (or add more or less syrup to your desired level of concentration. Muddle or garnish with mint or additional citrus if needed.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

A few of our favorites shown above...

Strawberry-Thai Basil Soda (orange-red with green herbs)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for the syrup base. Add 1 cup trimmed and chopped strawberries and ½ cup Thai basil leaves.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. The strawberries should get soft and the leaves will wilt. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture of the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrup.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ a lemon. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

Blueberry-Ginger Soda (fuschia)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for syrup base. Add 1 cup blueberries and ½ cup ginger, peeled and chopped.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. The blueberries should blister. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrups.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ a lemon. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.

Oh Joy / Homemade Sodas

Grapefruit-Juniper Berry (light yellow)

1. Add 1 cup water and ¾ cup sugar to a saucepan on low heat for syrup base. Add 2 tbs fresh juniper berries (lightly crush the berries first) and 5-6 peels from a grapefruit with as little pith as possible.

2. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately reduce to a simmer. After 6-7 minutes, take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool.

3. Once cooled, pour through a fine mesh strainer and discard solids to yield flavored syrups.

4. To serve, combine ½ cup syrup with 2 cups sparkling water and top with the juice from ½ grapefruit. Add more syrup to taste for sweetness.

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Enjoy! These would be a great addition to Labor Day fun this coming weekend!

{Photos by Casey Brodley, recipes by Ariel Fulmer, styling by Ariel Fulmer and Joy Cho. Lidded bottles from Amazon, Anne and Kate glitter swizzles.}

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