My favorite soda is cream soda. No soda is as smooth or flavorful as a cream soda, in my opinion. A few days ago, when I was reading the ingredients on some popular sodas I noticed that the only ingredients are carbonated water, sugar/high fructose corn syrup, caramel color and “natural flavors.” Who knows what “natural flavors” means in this context, but caramel color gave me a clue to figuring out how to make sodas.
The clue was relatively simple, but it is something that most people ignore. I asked myself: “Why is caramel color used?” There are plenty of other colors that could just as easily appeal to people. My hypothesis became: maybe caramel color is used because at one time these drinks used actual caramel. Cheap resources and the development of “natural” and “artificial” flavors allowed them to substitute real caramel for substances that tasted like it. Thus the need for artificial colors was needed to maintain the original look.
Whether that is true or not is speculation, but when I mixed a caramel sauce (made with cream) with club soda the result was amazing! The best cream soda I have ever had! The interaction between the acidity of the club soda and the proteins and fat in cream create a foam layer on top of the drink that further adds to the look of it. Also, the addition of Bailey’s Irish Cream takes the taste to another level.
4 tablespoons of caramel sauce (add more or less based on taste preferences)
1 cup of club soda
1 tsp of Bailey’s Irish Cream (optional)
Add caramel sauce to the bottom of the cup. Stir in the club soda. Stir in Bailey’s (optional).
1 cup sugar
1/8 tsp of cream of tartar
1/4 cup water
3/4 cup heavy cream
3 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar, cream of tartar and water over medium-low. Cover and wait until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat and bring to a boil, without stirring. If necessary, use a wet pastry brush to wash down any crystals on the side of the pan. Boil until the syrup is a deep amber color, about 5 to 6 minutes.
- Remove the sugar from the heat and carefully whisk in the heavy cream. The mixture will bubble. Stir in the unsalted butter, and salt. Transfer the caramel to a heat-resistant container or mug to cool on counter for 20 minutes.
- Move caramel to refrigerator to finish cooling.