Orange Ginger Soda

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I have only made this recipe once, but I think it is ready to share. This was my first time using orange oil, which I talked a little bit about yesterday. I wasn’t sure how much flavor to expect from it, so rather than using it as the main ingredient, I decided to call in a ringer and borrow from my favorite soda recipe, ginger beer.

I actually had the idea to make an orange ginger soda a few weeks ago while eating dinner and talking about my plans for Homemade Soda Week with my wonderful girlfriend, Amy. She had made broccoli with ginger, orange zest and orange juice. It was delicious and I needed one more recipe to round out the week, so I gave it a shot.

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Originally, I thought this might be a crazy idea and a good way to share the sentiment that it’s okay to just throw ideas at the wall when you’re making soda. Surprisingly, this one stuck. The orange oil comes through in the aroma and initial flavor of this soda, then the ginger comes in late, cleanses the palate and insists on another sip. The small amount of orange juice also comes through in the end, with a very different character than the oil.

Since this seemed like a crazy idea, I only made a three gallon batch instead of my usual six. The orange oil comes in tiny eighth of an ounce bottles and the store I buy it at usually only has a couple in stock, so it may be necessary to keep the batches this size, anyway. I would definitely not object to having more of this around, though. One more note, the orange juice does have some fermentable sugar so you could adjust your sugar addition to count that. I figured with only two cups of juice, it would not be enough to worry about.

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Orange Ginger Soda (3 gallon batch)
2.5 gallons water
2 cups orange juice
1 cup lemon juice
1 lb ginger root
.25 oz orange oil
6 cups Splenda
.5 cup sugar
1 champagne yeast packet

Prepare the ginger root by cleaning it with warm water and grinding it in a food processor with enough water to keep from getting too sticky. Add the ginger mush to a paint strainer bag in a bucket and add warm water on top of it. Let the ginger and water sit for about an hour before continuing.

After the time is up, remove the ginger bag and squeeze as much liquid out as you can before discarding it. Add the orange oil, orange juice, lemon juice and Splenda, starting with less than listed if you want to customize to your own taste. Once you’re happy with the flavor (although, I’ve found the orange oil comes out more after the drink is carbonated), add the sugar and yeast and then stir thoroughly before packaging in plastic bottles. Give the bottles a couple weeks, or however long it takes them to get hard, then they’re ready to drink.

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