Floral Soda Mixer Tasting – Chapter III

Chapter III of the Mixer Compendium was going to be on tonic water, but, as one loyal reader pointed out, we’ve talked about that rather a lot of late, so, instead, here is a slight change of tack: Floral Soda.You may be wondering what exactly this is; essentially, it is a group of drinks that I have created that encompasses any soft drink that is flavoured with flowers. As a note, today’s article will omit elderflower flavoured soda, as this will eventually have its own chapter.
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Floral Sodas are very popular on the continent; although less prevalent in Britain, a relatively recent UK release was Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade. As they are less common than other types of soda, today I will talk a little more about alternatives and homemade varieties.

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Recipes

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Chamomile Soda Recipe

.The first syrup is chamomile. I am quite fond of chamomile tea – a habit that I picked up from an old friend – and it invariably forms a part of my daily Tiffin at 15:00. A bit of experimentation was needed before I got a product I was happy with – one of the products even tasted a lot like popcorn! – but here is my final recipe.

100ml water
100ml sugar 
Combine in a saucepan on low heat until sugar has dissolved.
Add one to two chamomile tea  bags (a little goes a long way) and leave to steep for 10-15 minutes, then remove the tea bag.
Allow to cool, strain and bottle.
To use, mix one part syrup with three parts water.

The result is a syrup which is lightly yellow. When mixed with soda it creates a light gold soft drink that both smells and tastes like chamomile tea.

Lavender Soda Recipe

The second syrup was made of Lavender I found that my first batch (using only one teaspoon of Lavender) was too week so here is the improved recipe.

100ml water
100ml sugar
1tsp citric acid
2tsp dried lavender flowers
Add all the ingredients to a saucepan, bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain, cool and bottle.
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The Tasting

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#1 La Gosse Rose
A light, bubblegum pink in colour, with a strong, sweet, jelly-like nose, similar to Turkish Delight.
It has a medium fizz and sweetness, but is flat in terms of flavour and rather one-dimensional; that one-dimension is definitely rose. There’s a flash of flavour at the beginning, followed by a short finish. On its own, Mrs. B quite liked it.

#2 P’TIT Violette Quinquin
This soda was a grey shade of purple. It had quite a strong nose of sweet Parma Violets.
It had medium fizz and was sweet and floral, like the Palam Violet or Refreshers sweets, with some elements of crystallised violets. The finish was very short. Once again, Mrs. B quite liked it.

#3 Chamomile Soda (Home-made)
A champagne, golden yellow colour. The nose was sweet and floral, full of chamomile and honey. The taste was very similar to chamomile tea: floral and delicate with some sweet honey notes. We found that this was too sweet when mixed at a ratio of 3:1, but at 4:1 it was much more balanced and adding a slice of lemon is a nice touch, too.

#4 Fentiman’s Rose Lemonade
Pale pinky-yellow, with a subtle nose consisting of hints of sweet rose and lemon.
Quite tart on the tongue, with an initial taste of zingy lemonade and a little floral rose at the end. Quite dry and not very sweet.

#5 Lorina Violette
A very pale violet purple soda, with a weak nose of vanilla and violets.
The taste is predominantly of vanilla and violets; it’s quite sweet, but still rather refreshing.

#6 Lavender Soda (Home-made)
The colour of this soda was a very pale, purply-pink. The nose is surprisingly faint, with only a small amount of lavender.
The taste isn’t great; it needs a lot more flavour. Another teaspoon of lavender in my syrup recipe should do it.

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Cocktails

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1) Chamomile Collins
Tart and floral and exceptionally refreshing. The soda works very well alongside the gin and the lemon. This is really good and would be great as a summer cooler. It also has a beautiful, lasting lemon finish.

2) Pimm’s & Rose Lemonade
My chosen garnish was rather extensive: cucumber, mint, lemon, orange and lime. The result was a fruit cup that was a little sharper and less sweet than most and there was a very light hint of Turkish Delight from the Rose Lemonade at the end.

3) Long Haul Flight
This is essentially a long Aviation, consisting of gin, lemon juice and Maraschino, topped up with Violet Soda (this therefore adds the violet flavours to the drink, instead of Creme de Violette.)

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About DTS

partial to a martini? to a smoke-hazed gin joint & a perfect tipple poured with the style, swank & skill of a true aficionado? …then pull up your stool to the bar, prepare to stock up your cocktail cabinet & get ready to drink it all in as we introduce you to a stitch in times’ resident barman… David T. Smith is a drinks enthusiast currently residing in the U.K. a long-time fan of tasting & exploring various types of alcohol, he has a fascination for vintage spirits and cocktails, in particular their heritage & origins; this was strengthened last year when he presented a talk and accompanying monograph on the Martini. it was as a result of his research of this topic that he was introduced to drinks paraphernalia, & he is now the happy owner of a colourful collection of bottles, books, and gadgets from a wide range of eras… an avid believer in the validity and variety of personal opinion, particularly in the subjective area of tasting, he enjoys hosting tasting sessions for friends, constantly challenging them to find their own favourite tipple. in addition to all of this, he is also interested in economics, three-piece suits, board games & keeping alive the art of engaging in enjoyable conversation with a good glass of port whilst surrounded by pipe smoke… www.summerfruitcup.com Thanks to Analiebe for writing this rather flattering blurb for me.

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