Tuesday, May 5, 2009

meyer lemon soda

I'm really into making soda these days. Now that the weather's heating up a little, it's nice to drink something cold and carbonated that's also not overly sweet. And making homemade flavored syrup is one of those stupidly simple things that makes you feel really clever.

I saw a pile of gorgeously golden Meyer lemons at the store a few weekends ago and after a little internal debate, I let myself buy three. These lemons aren't cheap, and I always feel pressure to use every bit of fruit, rind, and zest to make something where their bright, perfumey essence really shines. Maybe I will be lucky enough to have a Meyer lemon tree growing in the imaginary yard in the imaginary house I will have someday, but until then, I've got to suck every last bit of juice out of these babies. I didn't really feel like baking or making lemon curd, or making anything especially time-consuming or difficult. But they also won't be around much longer, and I wanted to enjoy just a few before they disappear.

It was a hot day, so I thought about making lemonade. Or better yet, Meyer lemon soda, which seemed a tad more special (and truthfully, would allow me to stretch out the lemony goodness just a little bit more). I grabbed a bottle of soda water and that was that.

Meyer lemon soda
If you can't get your hands on Meyer lemons, or they are out of season, regular lemons will definitely work. I'm not a lemon snob. But a combo of grapefruit and lemons will create a closer approximation of the Meyer lemon flavor.
(Makes about 3 cups syrup)

2 Meyer lemons, washed, cut in half, and de-seeded (Or substitute 1 small grapefruit and 1 lemon)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
Soda water

In a saucepan, combine the sugar and water and stir until combined. Put the pan over medium-high heat. Add the lemons, squeezing the juice into the sugar-water mixture (scoop out any stray pits). Place the squeezed-out lemon rinds into the mixture. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid. Let the mixture sit for about 20 minutes and steep. After 20 minutes, remove the lemon rinds. Store the syrup in a jar.

To make soda: fill a drinking glass about halfway with syrup. Add ice and cold soda water and stir. Taste to make sure it's flavorful enough, adjust with extra syrup if needed.


Cate O'Malley said...

Never thought about making my own soda, but a Meyer lemon version sounds perfect for warm weather.

Lisa said...

Cate: Oh, it's so easy and fun. Be sure to make this before Meyer lemons are gone! Although now I'm already thinking about strawberries and blueberries and other summer fruit...

Pink of Perfection said...

First, yum and refreshing. Second, I am in love with that vase in the first picture. In fact, after looking at my haul after a recent thrifting session, I have discovered I am OBSESSED, apparently, with that shade of blue. Just looking at it makes me so happy. Also, just to reiterate, yum.

Lisa said...

Hee. The vase is from a prop closet clean-out at a previous magazine job. I love that color too and snatched that little guy up quickly.

Yes to thrifting! I need more of that in my life but don't know where to go other than the Brooklyn Flea or the little flea market at PS 321. Where do you go? And more importantly, can we be real-life friends?

Daniel said...

This soda was delicious and got me wondering about Meyer lemons. Here is what I learned from the font of all human knowledge, Wikipedia:

"The Meyer lemon is a citrus fruit, native to China, thought to be a cross between a true lemon and a mandarin orange or sweet orange. The Meyer lemon was introduced to the United States in 1908 by the agricultural explorer Frank Nicholas Meyer, an employee of the United States Department of Agriculture who collected a sample of the plant on a trip to China. It is commonly grown in China as an ornamental plant. It became popular as a food item in the United States after being rediscovered by chefs, such as Alice Waters at Chez Panisse, during the California Cuisine revolution. Popularity further climbed when Martha Stewart started featuring them in her recipes.

The Meyer lemon is also known as the Valley lemon in southern Texas due to its popularity in the Rio Grande Valley region."

Oh, Alice Waters, my life wouldn't be half as fancy without you!

The Single Gal said...

Love this! I've also made simple syrup infused with thyme and added it to lemonade - that would be delish here too...

Lisa said...

Daniel: That was very informative.

TSG: I've tried this with rosemary, but not thyme. Thanks for the idea!

Lisa said...

Thank you, Sophie!

Jenn said...

We moved into a rental house that has not one, but two meyer lemon trees. I need more lemon recipes, thanks.

Lisa said...

I am so jealous, Jenn!


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