Saturday, October 17, 2009

"Cream soda" #1

Homemade Root Beer, Soda & Pop includes a recipe for "Cream Soda" because "no book of soft drink recipes would be complete" without one. I don't think Cresswell is confident in this recipe because he suggests that it be "a starting point for you in your quest for the ultimate cream soda."

I went ahead and tried a slightly modified and smaller version of the recipe:

scant 1/4 cup raisins
5 inches vanilla bean, split
1 1/4 cups light brown sugar
3 inches chinese (coarse) cinnamon bark
3 quarts water
root beer dregs

There was also supposed to be 1/4 tsp cream of tartar added before bottling, but I just realized that I forgot that step (as confirmed by the still-sealed jar on my ingredient shelf.)

The finished product is definitely a starting point. I wouldn't call it cream soda, really. More like cinnamon raisin toast with vanilla icing in a bottle. If ever a soda was meant for breakfast, this is it.

I removed the cinnamon after 15 minutes of simmering, afraid of it overwhelming the flavor. It turns out that once chilled, the cinnamon pulled back considerably. The cinnamon is mostly discernable as an aftertaste; it could use a little more, and that might be good, but would take it even further from anything like cream soda.

Splitting the vanilla bean turned out not to be a great idea. The tiny seeds aren't really a problem, but they didn't filter out well.

Finally, the yeast must have been weak. After six days of warm weather, it still needs more fermentation, though it's definitely going. I'm not sure where to go with this one. Upping the cinnamon and adding the cream of tartar would probably let it live up to its full cinnamon toast potential. If I'm going for cream soda, though, I might do something completely different.

UPDATE: Another couple days, and this finally carbonated properly, and I have to say it's pretty good. Yesterday, I started another batch with less raisins, much more vanilla, and without chickening out on the cinnamon. I'm optimistic it'll be even better.

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