8.28.09 Elixir aka Adult Soda

Elixir 790 xxx
I feel a soapbox moment coming on again. Sorry. But I just can't remain silent when it comes to soda because IT'S THE DEVIL. Why would you want to drink anything that falls under the category of "soft" drinks, anyway? Gross. Did you know that soda is not only worthless to your body, it actually causes actual harm?! I'm sure you've heard by now that soda consumption is linked to type 2 diabetes and obesity. The sugar it contains combines with bacteria in the mouth to form acid, and even the diet version contains carbolic acid—this means weakened enamel and more cavities! The phosphorous and caffeine contribute to osteoporosis. And I just read that soda consumption may be linked to chronic kidney disease, development of metabolic syndrome (a heart risk) and fatty liver, a chronic liver disease. YUCK! SPIT IT OUT! AND DON'T LET YOUR KIDS NEAR IT!

OK, I'm calm now. I understand that plain water—or even water cut with fresh cucumber juice and lemon—can get boring day in and day out. So what about tea? Green tea? Jasmine tea? Mint tea? All delicious, cold or hot. But I can also offer you another alternative; something to drink maybe once a day  (NOT 5 times a day) that isn't shit in a can. In our house this delicious drink is referred to as an elixir or, due to its sophisticated, less sweet nature, as adult soda.What I'm really talking about is just a flavored simple syrup. YES, IT'S MADE WITH SUGAR. But you can use organic cane sugar (not high fructose corn syrup, the devil's juice) or you can even use honey, yacon syrup or agave nectar (if you can find a truly raw version).

Infused Simple Syrup

Makes 1 cup, enough for 16 large adult sodas
  • — 1 cup sugar (or 3/4 cup honey or 2/3 cup agave nectar)
  • — 1 cup water*
  • fresh or dried herbs and spices

Heat water and sweetener in a small saucepan until sugar (or honey or agave) is completely dissolved. Do not boil.

Remove from heat and place 2-3 tablespoons of fresh herbs, lightly crushed, or about 1 teaspoon of dried spice (1/2 teaspoon of saffron) to steep in the liquid, covered, for several hours.

Taste to see if syrup has achieved your desired intensity. If so, strain into a clean jar and refrigerate. If not, let it keep steeping until you're happy.

*One of my favorite variations is to substitute fresh lemon juice for the water; then steep several sprigs of rosemary in the syrup. I first tried this at Bar Boulud in Manhattan. I also had a passion fruit and chile version at Perry Street. You can really get creative with this very basic recipe.

Download recipe  Download Recipe

Adult Soda

serves 1
  • — 1 generous tablespoon flavored elixir
  • plain or sparkling water

Place 1 generous tablespoon of flavored elixir into a tall glass with ice. Fill with plain or sparkling water. Stir with a long-handled spoon or chopstick.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


You seem to really not like high fructose corn syrup. You should do a little research about agave nectar before you suggest that as a good substitution. It is another highly processed product that does not naturally occur in the state you buy it in.
Adam on July 3, 2010 at 1:38 pm —
You're right, I don't like high fructose corn syrup. But you're not totally right about agave nectar. It's possible to find it made from mature plants and minimally processed, as I do at rawguru.com. I encourage you to find out about it here.
laura on July 3, 2010 at 3:52 pm —
oh laura, how much i love your blog! i have just made my rosemary infused syrup, and it is gorgeous. i'm thinking sage in a day or two! x
Nina on July 18, 2011 at 4:54 pm —
Nina! So glad to know you're still out there. Infused syrups will change your life; try making them with honey as well...xoxo
laura on July 19, 2011 at 3:05 am —