The Innovative Flavors of Brooklyn Soda Works

Visitors enjoy Brooklyn Soda Works on the High Line at 14th Street. Photo by Rowa LeeVisitors enjoy drinks from Brooklyn Soda Works. Photo by Rowa Lee

 

How many soda manufacturers begin production with a trip to the farmer’s market? Brooklyn Soda Works may be the first. The company’s creative process is almost as refreshing as their drinks – unlike traditional sodas on the market that combine artificial syrups with carbonated water, Brooklyn Soda Works carbonates their own cold-pressed fresh fruit juices and adds steeped herbs and spices.

Founders Caroline Mak and Antonio Ramos first combined their professional backgrounds in art and chemistry to create innovative fizzy drinks four years ago, when they wanted to make the perfect ginger beer for homemade dark and stormies. Impressed by the result, the duo went on to combine grapefruit, honey and jalapeño, then tried cucumber, lime, and sea salt. Four years and more than 30 flavors later, they’ve set up shop on the High Line at West 14th Street, where they serve up ice-cold glasses of whatever’s in season.

Blueberry soda with lemon is a fan favorite on the High Line, but with flavors that rotate every week or two, there’ll always be a new and innovative combination to try. Every flavor tells a story – Caroline and Antonio draw inspiration from, “great produce at the farmers markets in spring and summer, to flavors of foods that we've tried during our travels,” says Caroline. She and Antonio “bring back spices from places we've been to, and always make sure to visit markets when we travel.”

If you’re lucky, you might have the chance to try Caroline’s favorite – red currant and shiso – or Antonio’s – strawberry, hops, and peppercorn (inspired by a trip through Belgium when strawberries and hops were abundant). Caroline loves their High Line location because it gives tourists and regulars an excuse to “sit down, enjoy a refreshing drink and take in the view of the Hudson and the unique flowers and plants that grow up there.”

You can look forward to seeing Brooklyn Soda Works’ flagship flavor – apple and ginger – in stores this September. And if you'd like to try another Brooklyn Soda Works flavor at home, we've included their recipe for ginger beer below.

Photo by Rowa Lee

Ginger Beer
Makes 1 liter

  • 40–50 ml (1.4–1.7 oz) fresh ginger juice
  • 45 ml (1.5 oz) fresh lemon juice
  • 13 ml (0.4 oz) molasses
  • 2 whole pieces star anise
  • 1/2 stick cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp cloves
  • Cold water to fill to volume
  • 1/4 cup cane sugar

Grate fresh ginger and squeeze enough juice to get 40 to 50 ml. Store in fridge. Bring 300 ml (10 oz) of water to a simmer and add the molasses, star anise, cinnamon, and 1/4 cup sugar. Simmer for 30 minutes. Cut the heat and add the allspice and cloves, then steep for five minutes. Filter to remove solids, then add this liquid to ginger juice and lemon juice. The liquid should be as cold as possible before carbonation – storing it in the freezer for 10 minutes usually does the trick. Pour the liquid into a carbonation siphon (the colder the siphon, the easier it will be to carbonate), pop in the CO2 cartridge, and shake for 30 seconds. If you do not have a carbonation siphon, you can reduce the molasses, sugar, and spice mixture to a syrup by slowly simmering it for an additional few minutes. Then add seltzer water.

Brooklyn Soda Works is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:30 PM at West 14th Street. For hours and locations of all our vendors, see High Line Food.

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