zest of 2 lemons
zest of 2 limes
2 tsp Citric Acid
Boil in 2 Cups water for 10 minutes, and strain.
Put back on stove and dissolve 1 1/2 Cups of white sugar for every 1 Cup of tea.
After cooling, mix syrup with soda water in 1:4 ratio (3 Tablespoons per glass), or more or less to taste.
I searched the internet for recipes for lemon-lime soda syrup, and all the recipes I found included lemon and lime juice mixed with simple syrup. I've always had these ingredients in the bar and I've made many lemon and/or lime sodas by mixing these. These are refreshing drinks, but they are not an adequate substitute for Sprite or 7-Up in cocktails that require them; they're just carbonated lemonade and limeade.
I decided to start with a basic tea of lemon and lime zests and citric acid, then add juice until it tasted right. It turns out that the right amount of juice is none.
Since the recipe didn't call for any bark, roots, nuts, or seeds, I figured it didn't need to boil for the full 20 minutes to extract the flavors. I decided to cut the boil time to 10 minutes (It was probably closer to 8 minutes when I pulled it off the burner).
It was very easy to strain; it went right through the coffee filter.
I used white sugar instead of agave syrup to keep the final syrup as light-colored as possible.
by itself, the syrup tastes remarkably like Froot Loops. Mixed with soda it makes a very convincing substitute for Sprite or 7-Up. I made a cocktail by mixing it with whiskey (a 7-and-7), and I would not have been able to tell it wasn't a commercial soda.
A year ago, the New York Times published this recipe for cola syrup.
I won't bother posting an illustrated step-by-step recipe since this blog already did a much better job of that than I could.
I've made a couple of batches attempting to add kola nut to the recipe. The kola nut that I get (from this source) is hard as a rock, and boiling for 20 minutes wasn't sufficient to extract much. So I start simmering the kola (2 Tablespoons) in 3 1/4 Cups water for 20 minutes, than I add the rest of the ingredients:
zest of 2 Oranges
zest of 1 Lemon
zest of 1 Lime
2 tsp Fresh Ginger
1 inch Vanilla Bean (split)
1/2 tsp Lavender
1/2 tsp Citric Acid
1/8 tsp Star Anise (one point)
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/8 tsp Cinnamon
and simmer for 20 minutes more. The resulting tea is difficult to strain; after straining the big stuff out, the rest won't go through a coffee filter. The best I could do was let the particulates settle in the fridge overnight and gently decant all but the settled out bit the next day.
Next, I returned the tea to the stove to add the sugar. For each cup of tea, I added 1 1/2 oz. of brown sugar, and 10 1/2 oz. of white sugar (i.e. I put 3 Tablespoons of brown sugar in a measuring cup, and fill to the 1 1/2 cup line with white sugar).
At this stage, the recipe also calls for caramel color, but I was unable to find any of that. This step is optional and can be skipped, but I still decided to color it with regular food coloring (4 drops of black, 8 drops red, 12 drops yellow) which worked just fine.
I made a Rum and Coke with 3 Tablespoons rum, 3 Tablespoons cola syrup and filled the rest of the glass with soda water.
If I had ordered a rum and coke at a bar and they served me this, I would be convinced that the bartender used spiced rum, and accidentally started pouring ginger ale in it before noticing their mistake and switching to cola. It's a tasty beverage, but nobody would confuse it for a typical rum and coke.