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Thursday, September 29, 2016

J@H - Homemade Cherry Cola

Sorry to have been so sporadic posting here recently, I have been crazy busy with lots of things happening in my non-internet life. Many changes have occurred over the past four weeks and I'm hoping they mean that I will have more time for cooking, blogging and life!

The big news? I quit my job,! Then I took off two and a half weeks before I started a new job! I'll miss the people at my old job, the international travel and the unique business model. What I won't miss? The 2 hour and 15 minute commute.  Each way.  

In addition to my new job, I also got myself a car! I haven't owned a car in almost six years. Since I lived in Connecticut, I got around on my own two feet or via public transportation. Trains, trams, buses, I've learned the tri-state area system pretty well over the past five years. Need to know how to get anywhere via NJ Transit? I can get you there. Now I just need to learn how to drive in New Jersey. Trust me, it's a whole different game from driving anywhere else!

With these changes, I've added so much more time to my life. I finally have the time to finish my Junk at Home Challenge! I decided to get going on it right away and try my hand at cherry cola.  

I've made a few recipes from the Homemade Soda cookbook by Andrew Schloss, but I've always shied away from making this recipe. It requires a lot of ingredients. Most of the ingredients are pretty common, but I had quite the grocery list and had to visit a specialty grocer to pick up dried bitter orange peel.

The recipe itself comes together very quickly. Once the cherry cola concentrate is finished, you just have to let it cool and you can be enjoying floats in no time! This cherry cola definitely tastes like cherry cola, but it doesn't taste like something that you would buy in the store. The flavors are much more complex and pair really well with vanilla ice cream!

Let's see if I can finish my 2015 challenge by the end of 2016!

One Year Ago: Pumpkin Mallomars
Two Year Ago: Rigatoni with Pepperoni, Mozzarella and Arugula
Three Years Ago: Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Four Years Ago: Sun-dried Tomato Ravioli with Basil Cream Sauce
Five Years Ago: Pumpkin Pie Mallomars
Six Years Ago: Chocolate Crisps

Homemade Cherry Cola

1 quart water
1 cup dried cherries, chopped
Finely grated zest and juice of two oranges
3 large cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
2 tablespoons dried bitter orange peels
2 teaspoons coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon finely grated nutmeg
2 pounds sugar
2 tablespoons browning sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract

Combine first eight ingredients (through sugar) in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat and stir until sugar dissolves. Boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and add browning sauce, vanilla extract and almond extract. Cool and strain through a fine mesh sieve, lined with cheesecloth.

Carbonate with a siphon: Combine 3/4 cup cherry cola concentrate with 3 1/4 cups water. Add to your soda siphon and carbonate according to your manufacturers instructions.

Carbonate with seltzer: Add 1/2 cup cherry cola concentrate to a glass, pour in 1 1/2 cups seltzer, stir until blended.

Top off a cup of cherry cola with some vanilla ice cream!
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