Last week we dropped off a keg of apple & ginger carbonated juice with the good folks at Beer Table (in Park Slope) who now have a dedicated soda draft line. It seemed to go over well which made us very happy. This week Antonio has been hard at work finalizing the recipe for a more experimental bitter soda - a dried lemon, juniper & hops soda - which we think will go great with the range of beer that Beer Table has.
The dried lemons we picked up from our favorite spice store in Manhattan, Dual Speciality Store in the East Village. These are lemons or limes that have been dried in the sun until they are hard, dry and nearly black. Apparently they are used in some middle eastern cuisines. We had been eyeing them for months, wondering what they tasted like (delicious tart, lemony, earthy funk!) and finally decided to pick some up and try some recipes. Juniper berries (not really a berry, but the female seed cone produced by some species of juniper trees) are used in northern European cuisines, and are one of the predominant flavors in gin. Hops of course are used in beer, we used chinook hops, a very bitter and very aromatic variety used in American style IPA's. So, while these components are from very different places, they have overlapping but still complementary flavor profiles that make for a nice mix- the tartness and earthiness of the lemons seems to pair really well with the piney aromatics of the juniper berries and the bitter, citrousy notes of the chinook hops. There is also a touch of raw honey to balance things out, though the soda is not at all sweet.
Look for this flavor at Beer Table sometime early January, and stop by now to try some apple ginger and some great beer.