Though it may be chilly outside, I think the beginning of the year is an excellent time for a glass of homemade grapefruit ginger soda. I came up with this recipe when my partner swore off commercial soda, and after months of holiday indulgence, the light and tangy fizz is most welcome. The soda is sweetened with honey, not sugar, and the ginger provides a note of warmth for winter.
This recipe is for a syrup that you can mix with carbonated water (store-bought or homemade). It has a bittersweet, grown-up flavor from the use of grapefruit zest and a slight spiciness from the addition of fresh ginger. I tried making the soda with both yellow and pink/red grapefruit and preferred the latter, as it has more natural sweetness.
You could certainly use sugar to make the syrup, but honey is a nice alternative for those avoiding refined sweeteners, and it gives the soda some extra vitamins and minerals. Plus I just really like the flavor of honey with grapefruit and ginger. Looking beyond soda, the syrup can also be used in cocktails or drizzled over fresh fruit salad.
Grapefruit Honey Ginger Soda Syrup
Makes about 6 (8-ounce) drinks
Zest of 1 large pink or red grapefruit (preferably organic)
1 cup freshly-squeezed pink or red grapefruit juice (from about 1 large grapefruit; if necessary, top off with water to make 1 cup
3/4 cup mild-flavored honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh ginger
Carbonated water, for serving
Combine the grapefruit zest, grapefruit juice, honey, and ginger in a small saucepan over medium heat. Boil for 2 minutes, stirring to dissolve the honey.
Remove from heat and let cool. Strain the syrup through a sieve into a clean container and discard the solids.
To serve, spoon 2 tablespoons of syrup into an 8-ounce glass, top with carbonated water, and stir to combine. Taste and add more syrup, if desired.
The syrup can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.
(Image credits: Emily Han)