DIY Orange Soda

diyorangesodaOrange Crush, Sunkist and other kinds of orange soda are great, even if they taste more like orange the color than like orange the fruit. DIY orange soda has the same mix of sweet and tart as the store-bought stuff, only with the flavor of real oranges.

The citric acid is key to getting that sharp flavor associated with the real-deal orange soda, but it also extends shelf life a little. Leave it out if you like, but then this won’t be as tart and will taste more like OJ than Orange Crush and its kin.

DIY Orange Soda

Zest of 2 navel oranges
1/2 cup fresh orange juice (about 1 orange)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon citric acid
Seltzer

Zest the oranges. Be sure to avoid including any of the white pith. Juice one orange and strain out the pulp. Combine the zest, juice, sugar, water and citric acid in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes, then let it cool. Refrigerate the cooled syrup and then mix one part syrup with three parts seltzer for each serving.

Adjust the amount of seltzer to taste. I suggest mixing on a glass-by-glass basis and storing the syrup separately, unmixed.

The recipe I created and posted here was first published on Serious Eats in my DIY vs. Buy column

Limoncello Margarita

limoncellomargaritaHappy Cinco de Mayo! I got together with Savvy Housekeeping for a delightful and springy margarita made with homemade limoncello. Celebrate with one today!

Limoncello Margarita

1 1/2 ounce tequila
1 ounce limoncello
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce orange juice

Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake thoroughly. Strain into a glass.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Orange Creamsicle Cocktail

orange-creamsicleWe’ve been enjoying some February sunshine here in California. But even if you’re in a blizzard, this Orange Creamsicle cocktail will give you a little taste of summer (with seasonal fruit). Savvy Housekeeping and I whipped up this cocktail that tastes like a light and sophisticated alcoholic Creamsicle. If only the ice cream man carried these.

Orange Creamsicle Cocktail

1 1/2 ounces vodka
2 ounces fresh orange juice
1 ounce cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 ounces simple syrup
Sparkling water

Squeeze the orange juice. Combine juice, vodka, simple syrup, and vanilla in a cocktail shaker. Add ice. Add cream. Close and shake thoroughly. Strain into a glass and top with sparkling water to taste.

Photo by Savvy Housekeeping

Meyer Lemon Margarita

meyerlemonmargaritaHappy National Margarita Day! I’m not sure who started this holiday, but I’m positive I like the way it’s celebrated. This cocktail uses fresh Meyer lemons, mint and honey to bring a new twist to a beloved classic. This combo gives it a fresh taste that will certainly lift your spirits.

Meyer Lemon Margarita

1 1/2 ounces honey
3-4 generous sprigs of fresh mint
1 ounce fresh Meyer lemon juice
2 ounces tequila

Muddle the mint and honey at the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add lemon and tequila, then shake with ice. Strain into cocktail glass (serve over ice if desired).

I used Casa Noble Crystal tequila.  This tequila had a nice smooth quality that worked well with the lemon and honey, as a more peppery tequila would have distracted from the flavor combinations. You can use your favorite brand, but be sure it’s 100% agave tequila.

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