I am not a soda kind of girl. Growing up, I always chose sparkling water, but my brothers loved root beer, cola, ginger ale, and yes, orange soda, too.
I was never tempted to give their sodas a try until one crazy hot mid-summer day in humid Ohio — the kind of day my family spent floating on a raft in a lake with a drink in hand. Somehow, my usually prepared self had forgotten to bring water. Out of sheer desperation, I drank a cold orange soda for the first time, and I had to admit, it was so refreshing! Since that day, I have come to appreciate a cold orange soda on a hot summer day.
Even though I am not a soda freak and don't drink it all the time, I have been wanting to make homemade orange soda ever since the summer heat set in. I figure that if the soda is homemade, I can control the ingredients and the amount of sugar.
I was originally thinking it might be a little tricky to make soda at home, but after a little research, I realized that I only needed four ingredients and about 10 minutes of my time (seriously, just 10 minutes).
If you want to serve this to a crowd, simply double or triple the recipe as needed. I guarantee that whoever you serve these to — your kids, your significant other, your friends — will love you.
1 cup granulated sugar
Lemon-lime flavored seltzer water
Zest the oranges and the lime, then add the zest to a medium sauce pot.
Squeeze the juice out of the oranges; you should have around two cups of fresh orange juice, but if there's less, just add water until you reach two cups. Pour the orange juice over the zest and add the sugar to the pot, too.
Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once it's at a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the syrup has reduced by about a third. Remove the syrup from the stove and let it cool slightly.
Pour the syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a glass jar, discard the pulp and the zest, and then place the jar in the fridge until it's cold, about one hour.
When you're ready for soda, fill a glass with ice. Pour in the syrup so that it reaches 1/4 to 1/3 of the way up the glass (add more or less depending on how sweet you like it).
Fil the glass with seltzer and stir to combine.
Serve the soda with orange slices for an easy garnish, and drink through a fancy straw.
See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.
This article originally appeared on Food52.com: How to make orange soda at home
More from Food52...