One Christmas, when I was small, I remember we got a soda stream. It had wavy glass bottles, and my love affair with cordial syrups began. My sister and I would doctor up our own concoctions and rip through the flavour concentrates.
I don’t know what happened to that machine, maybe Mum got sick of buying the flavours, but you’ll still find at least one homemade cordial concentrate in my fridge today for a thirst quencher and energy boost when you come in from the garden.
DIY Non-Alcoholic Drinks
As we head into the holiday season, I liked the idea of having something a bit more sophisticated to offer to the increasing number of guests wanting a non-alcoholic drink.
And that means bubbles and grown-up flavours, but I don’t want to buy plastic single-use bottles of soda water, so I decided to get a soda stream and add some fizz to my homemade soda flavours.
Homemade Lemon Lime & Bitters
Most classic lemon lime and bitters recipes add aromatic bitters to ready-made lime syrup and top up with lemonade.
Our recipe makes a concentrated cordial from just five ingredients: lemons, limes, bitters, sugar, and citric acid. Store in the fridge and serve with soda water, ice and a slice for a refreshing classic long drink.
The citrus peel contains a lot of aromatic oils that you can easily extract to add an intense lemon, lime flavour to your cordial concentrate.
Juice fresh limes and lemons. You can scale this recipe up and down depending on how much fruit you have. Just keep to the ratios of ingredients to achieve the best lemon lime and bitters flavour.
How Long will Homemade Syrup Last?
The lemon lime and bitters syrup will last up to six weeks in the fridge with citric acid in the recipe. Citric acid acts as a natural preservative and also adds sourness to the flavour.
What are Aromatic Bitters?
Bitters are a concentrated flavouring extract made from steeping flowers, bark, herbs and spices in clear alcohol. They are used sparingly and have a robust, distinctive bitter flavour.
In our kitchen, bitters get added to roasting meats and gravies, as well as the classic cocktails. There are many different brands, but I use Angostura aromatic bitters.
I’m pretty happy with the results of my first grown-up soda stream experiment. I hope you like it, and I’d love to hear your ideas for other DIY soda flavours.
Homemade Lemon Lime & Bitters Syrup
Heather Cole - Country Trading Co.
Make a lemon, lime cordial concentrate from fresh fruit and add just the right amount of bitters to create a classic soda flavouring concentrate.
This recipe makes 3 Ltrs (3 quarts) of concentrate. It keeps well in the fridge and makes a great gift.
If you want to make a smaller batch you can scale this recipe up or down based on how much fruit you have to juice.
500ml (17 fl oz) Fresh Lime Juice - approx. 8 limes
500ml (17 fl oz) Fresh Lemon Juice - approx. 6 lemons
50 g (1 3/4 oz) Citric acid powder
1 kg (34 oz) White sugar
1 ltr (1 quart) Cold water
10 teaspoons Angostura Aromatic Bitters
Wash the lemons and limes in warm water to remove wax or dirt.
Zest the rind of the lemons and limes, being careful not to get the white pith
Whizz the zest with 2 cups of the sugar in a food processor until the sugar has taken on the oil from the zest
Juice the lemons and limes and add with the zest to a large stock pot
Add the citric acid, remaining sugar and water to the pan and stir to combine.
Heat gently to dissolve sugar, but do not boil.
Remove from the heat and stir in the bitters. You may prefer to start with 6 teaspoons and work your way up to 10, tasting as you go. Just remember it isn't lemon lime and "slightly bitter" so don't be shy with the bitters. You will be watering this down with soda water so the flavour needs to be quite strong.
Strain into clean glass bottles and store in the fridge.
Serve 15 mls of syrup in a long glass topped with soda water and a slice of lime.