Recipe

Fresh Strawberry-Rhubarb Soda

To pack this soda with the bracing acidity of raw rhubarb and the delicate aroma of fresh strawberries, I needed to capture them in a glass without using heat (like I did to make my intensely flavored Double Lemon-Lime Soda). That’s because cooked strawberries and rhubarb (my favorite combination between layers of flaky pie pastry) have a very different flavor than fresh. To extract lots of fresh strawberry flavor, I slice the strawberries and macerate them overnight in sugar, a technique I picked up from Evan Harrison of Mamaleh’s Delicatessen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The sugar draws moisture from the fruit through osmosis, creating a syrup that gets saturated with lots of strawberry flavor during its long stay in the refrigerator. For the rhubarb, I simply blend it and strain it through cheesecloth; I then let the juice settle overnight to clarify a bit. (Like unfiltered beer, this soda is not completely clarified, so it will foam more than traditional soda and it features a creamier head.) After mixing the strawberry syrup and rhubarb juice together, I carbonate the entire mixture using a cream whipper and CO₂ cartridges. The result is unlike any soda you’ll find at the supermarket—bursting with fresh strawberry sweetness and rhubarb pucker and topped with a creamy, champagne-like foam. Get smart about soda science by checking out our feature story “Fizz Ed: The Sweet Science of Soda”.  

Yield
Makes about 1 quart soda
SFS_StrawberryRhubarbSeltzer-6_20_1_.jpg
Ingredients
900 g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
450 g strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
100 g sugar
170 g cold water
  ice
2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
¾ cup cold water
  ice
Essential Equipment
Instructions
    • 900 g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 450 g strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
    • 100 g sugar
    Line fine-mesh strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth, leaving 2 inches of overhang, and set over 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Place rhubarb in blender and blend on high speed until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer rhubarb to prepared strainer and press with back of ladle to force juice through. When mixture looks dry, gather edges of cheesecloth together to form ball. Using your hands, squeeze ball to extract as much juice as possible; discard rhubarb pulp. (Rinse and hang cheesecloth to dry—you will use it again in step 2.) Transfer rhubarb juice to lidded container. Toss strawberries and sugar together in medium bowl; cover. Transfer both covered containers to refrigerator and let sit for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.  
    • 170 g cold water
    Line fine-mesh strainer with reserved cheesecloth, leaving 2 inches of overhang, and set over 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Transfer strawberry mixture to prepared strainer and press with back of ladle to force juice through. When strawberries look dry, gather edges of cheesecloth and join in middle to form ball. Using your hands, squeeze ball to extract as much juice as possible. Transfer strawberries to airtight container and save for another use. Gently pour rhubarb juice into strawberry syrup, being very careful to leave sediment behind; discard sediment (some juice will be left with sediment). Stir in cold water, transfer to airtight container, and store in refrigerator until ready to make soda. (Juice can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)    
    • ice
    Transfer cream whipper to freezer and chill until very cold, at least 15 minutes. Pour 240 g (1 cup) cold strawberry-rhubarb juice into cream whipper and add 30 g (about 3 cubes) ice. Stir until ice is dissolved. Screw cap on cream whipper and charge with 1 CO₂ cartridge. Shake cream whipper for 20 seconds. With nozzle facing up, cover nozzle with paper towel (to catch any small amount of spray), and very slowly vent cream the whipper completely. Charge with 1 more CO₂ cartridge and shake cream whipper for 20 seconds. Let cream whipper sit for 5 minutes. With nozzle facing up, cover nozzle with paper towel (to catch any small amount of spray), and very slowly vent cream whipper completely. Unscrew cap, pour soda gently down side of serving glass, and serve (with ice, if desired).   
Instructions
    • 2 pounds rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
    • 1 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced thin
    • 1 cup (7 ounces) sugar
    Line fine-mesh strainer with 4 layers of cheesecloth, leaving 2 inches of overhang, and set over 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Place rhubarb in blender and blend on high speed until mostly smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer rhubarb to prepared strainer and press with back of ladle to force juice through. When mixture looks dry, gather edges of cheesecloth together to form ball. Using your hands, squeeze ball to extract as much juice as possible; discard rhubarb pulp. (Rinse and hang cheesecloth to dry—you will use it again in step 2.) Transfer rhubarb juice to lidded container. Toss strawberries and sugar together in medium bowl; cover. Transfer both covered containers to refrigerator and let sit for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.  
    • ¾ cup cold water
    Line fine-mesh strainer with reserved cheesecloth, leaving 2 inches of overhang, and set over 8-cup liquid measuring cup or large bowl. Transfer strawberry mixture to prepared strainer and press with back of ladle to force juice through. When strawberries look dry, gather edges of cheesecloth and join in middle to form ball. Using your hands, squeeze ball to extract as much juice as possible. Transfer strawberries to airtight container and save for another use. Gently pour rhubarb juice into strawberry syrup, being very careful to leave sediment behind; discard sediment (some juice will be left with sediment). Stir in cold water, transfer to airtight container, and store in refrigerator until ready to make soda. (Juice can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)    
    • ice
    Transfer cream whipper to freezer and chill until very cold, at least 15 minutes. Pour 1 cup cold strawberry-rhubarb juice into cream whipper and add 1 ounce (about 3 cubes) ice. Stir until ice is dissolved. Screw cap on cream whipper and charge with 1 CO₂ cartridge. Shake cream whipper for 20 seconds. With nozzle facing up, cover nozzle with paper towel (to catch any small amount of spray), and very slowly vent the cream whipper completely. Charge with 1 more CO₂ cartridge and shake cream whipper for 20 seconds. Let cream whipper sit for 5 minutes. With nozzle facing up, cover nozzle with paper towel (to catch any small amount of spray), and very slowly vent cream whipper completely. Unscrew cap, pour soda gently down side of serving glass, and serve (with ice, if desired).   
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