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Seltzer is all the rage right now thanks to LaCroix, Polar, and a bunch of other brands. But drinking slightly essenced seltzer might not be enough sweetness if you drink a couple cans of Coke a day. Enter: the syrups you’d typically use for cocktails. These are slim bottles of thickly concentrated flavor like ginger, berry, or even cola that you can add at your own pace to your favorite plain seltzer. Using syrups typically used for cocktails means that you can control how much sugar is going into your beverage. Too often with sodas prepared for us, we have no idea how much sugar is going into our drinks. If you add your own syrup, you can see the sugar that’s going in for yourself, and then taste along the way. If it’s your New Year’s resolution to wean yourself off of Coke, it’ll be easier if you can have something else you like that’s just a little less sweet.
Here are some syrups you can try:
Make your own
You can make your own simple syrup (literally just a syrup combining sugar and water) when you abide by a “simple” 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. Add a cup of sugar to a cup of water and heat on low, until the sugar is dissolved. Then add a second cup and heat until the syrup thickens. You can add a splash of vodka as a preservative. To make flavored syrup, add lemon zest, berries, or herbs to the mixture when warming.
Get our Rhubarb Syrup recipe.
Get our Strawberry Syrup recipe.
Get our Cranberry Simple Syrup recipe.
Buy your own
Drink More Good/Facebook
is based in Beacon, NY and they make syrups in all kinds of nuanced, interesting flavors, from Jalapeño Black Tea to Hibiscus Rooibos. Additionally, More Good does annual fundraisers to provide clean water to areas of the planet that desperately need it. Their syrups are on the more expensive side ($13 a bottle) but if you’re buying packs of soda for yourself, it’ll definitely end up being less expensive in the long run.
If you’ve ever been to a Bed Bath and Beyond, you’ve probably been pitched buying a SodaStream machine
, a carbon dioxide canister, and one of the big, friendly looking jugs of syrup. These come in off-brand, not copyright infringement names, like Dr. Pete’s and Fountain Mist. So if you’re looking for that Dr. Pepper or Sprite taste, you can definitely find it with the SodaStream brand
. They also have essences (like you’d find in a LaCroix) called “waters” and fruit flavorings called “fruit drops,” as well.
Visited an Italian style cafe recently? The baristas are probably making flavored coffee and teas by using Torani syrup
. It comes in giant bottles with a wide variety of flavors from Blue Raspberry to Orange. Not as nuanced as More Good, but worth it if you are going to go through a ton of the stuff.
PokPok’s Drinking Vinegars
Chef Andy Ricker
has lit up New York City
and Portland with his authentic Thai food, and has made an entire business off of Thai drinking vinegars, sold in Whole Foods
. Vinegar has been known to kickstart and cleanse your digestive system and Chef Ricker combines apple cider vinegar with fruit flavors like Tamarind to give your seltzer a spicy, acidic kick. This is next-level soda.