Bootleg Soda: Plum Soda

Another excerpt from Bootleg Soda: A Smart Aleck's Guide. Also known as: "What happened when we got one of those SodaStream things at HQ and didn't like the syrups you could buy for it." We're putting up excerpts all week!

The Smart Aleck’s Guide to Bootleg Soda: 100+ Homemade Soda Syrup Recipes, plus 50+ classic fountain drink formulas.

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All right. Now that we’ve made a simple fruit soda with juice, let’s move on to one made out of fresh fruit. Which is also very easy, most of the time. 

Plum soda is a simple-to-make concoction that’s a great introductory “fresh” soda to try making yourself - you’ll pick up some of the basic skills of making a fruit-based syrup, and you’ll discover a flavor of soda you’ve probably never tried before. A good one, too! You don’t see much of anything plum-flavored in the world, but one sip of a plum soda and you’ll wonder why. It’s sort of a grape-like flavor, so what you get here is a sort of “fresher” tasting version of standard grape soda.

1 cup of chopped fresh plum
1.5 cups sugar
1 cup of water

Chop up some fresh, crisp plums - about three small ones will get you to a cup’s worth - into small chunks (about 8 chunks per plum). Measure out a cup of the chunks and put them in a saucepan with the cup of water. Heat to boiling, then lower heat simmer, covered, for twenty minutes, uncovering to muddle (mash) the plums about halfway through. A potato masher works well for this, but you can also use a meat tenderizer, the butt end of an ice cream scoop, or anything, really. 

Once it’s done simmering, the water will have taken on the flavor of the fruit. Now it’s time to strain out the chunks and pulp. Our favorite way to strain is through the aeropress coffee maker (web link). It strains out the chunks and pulp while pushing through even more of the flavor, and it’s easy to clean up. You can save some of the pulp to use as garnish if you like; some people like real fruit floating in their soda more than others. 

Measure out the liquid “base” you’ve created (it’ll be about a cup) and put it into a saucepan. Add in the sugar - roughly 1.5 parts sugar to 1 part of the liquid (most of the time we use a 2:1 ratio to get it thick and strong enough, but in some cases it just made things too sweet). Heat to boiling while stirring to dissolve sugar, then immediately remove from heat and cool.

Mix one part of the syrup to 4-8 parts carbonated water. If you don’t use all off the base for the syrup, you can also simmer it with more spices to make a Professor Plum Spice Soda, the recipe for which is in Bootleg Soda.
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