I’m A Soda Jerk…


Or at least I’ve been pretending to be a soda jerk… or a bartender, or even a chemist… it all applies…

My soda jerking had nothing to do with soda, or ice cream, but I might be able to say it had a lot to do with flavored syrup…

Well, kinda…

Ok… so my friend gave me 8 lemons…

She picked them herself from a family member’s backyard lemon tree. She said that they were sometimes sweet enough to eat like an orange. Sounds pretty hard core! At first I didn’t know what to do with all those lemons… sure, I thought about lemonade… I also thought about cupcakes… but 8 lemons will make quite a few cupcakes!

I thought about it for a few days… I kept going back and forth between lemonade and cupcakes… the problem with the cupcakes was that I’d have a ton of them and what I really wanted for dessert was brownies… so that was going to make a hell of a lot of goodies. Ultimately, I decided on lemonade…

The reason I didn’t immediately jump on the opportunity to make fresh squeezed lemonade is because, I’ve never been successful at it. Mine always turned out to be kinda sour and watery… never like the kind you get from a restaurant/fast food place.

When I was a kid, my mom worked at a fast food place (in the mall) that had fresh lemonade on the menu. I was always enthralled by the process of taking a half lemon, sticking in the squeeze lever, then adding sugar water… and voila, the best tasting lemonade you’ve ever had. This was just something I was never able to recreate at home. And trust me I tried… do you remember those glass bottles of lemon juice? I kept trying to make lemonade with that stuff and it just never worked out. 😐

So before I made my final decision to make lemonade out of these 8 lemons… I did some research.

I came across this post, where a lemonade recipe was revealed to me and opened my eyes to the possibility of making a great lemonade once and for all! And I finally had an ‘aha’ moment… I had my ratios all wrong all these years!

Now I had the tools and the knowledge to make the perfect fresh squeezed lemonade!

So first, I got out my old friend, Mr. Juicer…

I cut off the rind of the lemons…

And I juiced…

I got about 1 1/2 cups of lemon juice!

So I combined 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1 1/2 cups water…

Brought it to a boil, then reduced the heat and simmered until the sugar was dissolved… about 5 minutes… to make a simple syrup… then let it cool about 20 minutes…

Then I realized I had a problem…

I don’t own a pitcher.

For years, we haven’t needed one, so I gave them away. And now I was faced with the questions; do I go out and buy a pitcher (which I will have to find a place to store it most of the time)?… or do I get creative?

Get creative, of course!

And that’s how I became a soda jerk…

See, I took a 1:1 ratio of lemon juice to simple syrup… then I added some cold water… and stirred. It was the best damn lemonade I’ve ever had! And it was a ton of fun to make!

Soon, I had a shot glass that I used to measure out the lemon juice and simple syrup… I added some water… tasted added a bit more simple syrup… and voila… fresh squeezed lemonade and I got to be silly while doing it… can’t think of a better way to make a beverage! 🙂

So… the recipe is… flexible… but there is a starting point. First start out with equal amounts of lemon juice and simple syrup1, then add about double that amount of water (ie. 1/2 cup lemon juice + 1/2 cup simple syrup + 1 cup water = great place to start). Then add more or less of each item until you’ve found your preferred ratio. The beauty of playing soda jerk is that you can experiment with each glass you make until you figure out the ratio you prefer without feeling like you are working with the entire pitcher of liquid, where it would be really easy to over dilute.

We enjoyed this lemonade so much, I’m thinking I need to get 8 lemons each time I go to the grocery store! I’m secretly hoping my friend will have more lemons that she needs to unload. Oh, and I was noticing something else about my friend’s lemons…

The rind was smoother than that of your typical lemon… could it be that she is picking meyer lemons? Now I’m really wanting her to have a bumper crop of lemons that she needs me to help out with!

Until next time…
~nic

1 When you make simple syrup with a ratio of 1:1 water and sugar… it will yield slightly more than the amount of the water.

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4 thoughts on “I’m A Soda Jerk…

  1. Thanks for sharing the recipe link, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recipe for lemonade so it was equally interesting to see the recipe and how you made it. I would have gotten creative as well with your beverage containers. I always seem to forget something crucial like that when making something new, it’s annoying. I was just telling a friend tonight that I need a juicer and this just proved itself further with this post!

  2. Pingback: The Great Taste Off… « The Auspicious Squirrel

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