Have no illusions—this isn’t the same thing as cracking open a can of Coke. Instead, this is a homemade soda made from natural ingredients with the same refreshing pucker that you get from Coke. Recipe adapted from Brooklyn Pharmacy & Soda Fountain.
Grated zest of 2 medium oranges
Grated zest of 1 large lime
Grated zest of 1 large lemon
1/2 cinnamon stick
1 star anise pod
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
2 teaspoons minced ginger root
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
1/4 teaspoon citric acid (optional)
2 cups water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
In a medium, heavy pot, combine the orange zest, lime zest, lemon zest, cinnamon stick, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla, citric acid, if using, and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low or medium-low so the mixture is simmering, and let cook for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool just briefly.
Carefully strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve to remove the spices and citrus zest. Return the syrup to the pot, and bring to a boil again over high heat. Add the granulated sugar and brown sugar, and let boil for 5 minutes, stirring to make sure the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and let cool. Refrigerate the syrup in a covered container for up to 5 days.
To make Natural Golden Cola Syrup: Stir up to 1/4 cup Natural Golden Cola Syrup, or to taste, into 8 ounces (1 cup) seltzer.
Dr. Who?: While the jury’s out as far as what the 23 ingredients in Dr. Pepper are, adding just a splash of maraschino cherry liquid to the Natural Golden Cola results in a similar taste to the secret formula.