Ginger ale, club soda, and tonic are your three standard mixers. Coke and 7-up sometimes make appearances, but it’s time to take another look the next time you’re walking down the soda aisle. There are a slew of new options in craft soda, squarely aimed at the mixology opportunity. Players big and small are getting in on the action. Pepsi’s got its “1893” colas, Rogue Brewing is complementing its spirits line with new sodas, and Seattle-based Dry Sparkling continues to expand its offerings with new flavors like Fuji Apple, launched in April, and seasonal limited editions, like Malali Watermelon and Serrano pepper, available June through September this year.
Recently I had the chance to check out Dry Sparkling’s new HQ in Pioneer Square and taste the Fuji Apple soda, which is exclusively available at Target. For the event, AQUA by El Gaucho’s Nolan Patin created two signature cocktails – a Fuji-tinez, a martini play, and a Vanilla Fuji Collins with Bainbridge Distilling’s Vanilla Vodka. The Fuji Apple is great both straight up and as a mixer. I was lucky enough to bring home a 4-pack and do a little of my own mixing (thanks, Dry Sparkling!)
Making your own syrups for cocktails, or sodas for that matter, will open up a whole new world of flavors and they’re dead simple (sorry, punny). If you’ve never thought about doing cocktails with rhubarb, it’s time. I had rhubarb apple pie in mind with this cocktail, so I added a tiny bit of vanilla extract to the mix after the syrup came off the heat. A couple of added dashes of Fee Brothers’ Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters bring the spice. It leans heavily toward cinnamon — use it sparingly.
Some scenes from the Dry Sparkling Fuji Apple launch event:
Rhubarb Apple Vodka Collins with Dry Sparkling Fuji ApplePrint Recipe
- Rhubarb Syrup
- 4 c. chopped rhubarb
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. water
- 1/4 t. vaniilla extract (optional)
- The Cocktail
- 1 oz. rhubarb syrup
- 2 oz. vodka
- 1/2 t. fresh lemon juice
- 1-2 dashes Fee Brothers Old Fashion Aromatic Bitters
- ~4 oz. of Dry Sparkling Fuji Apple
- thinly sliced lemon zest to garnish
To make the rhubarb syrup, combine rhubarb, sugar and water in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer and cook until rhubarb breaks down, about 10 minutes. Take the syrup off the heat and add the vanilla, if using.
Strain the syrup through a fine mesh strainer and press the rhubarb pulp with the back of a spoon. Let cool and then store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
To make the cocktail, fill a shaker half full of ice. Add rhubarb syrup, vodka, lemon juice and bitters. Shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds. Pour into a small champagne glass (not a flute). Top each cocktail with Dry Sparkling Fuji Apple. Garnish with lemon zest.