A really easy to make homemade cola soda that is bursting with flavour from spices, citrus and lavendar. This is what cola should taste like when it’s made with real ingredients and not 110% sugar*! *probably an exaggeration
My mum’s first reaction when she saw this Homemade Cola was “why isn’t it black?!” And that may well be similar to the reaction you are having, it certainly doesn’t look like the cola we know. And, I’ll be straight up with you, it doesn’t exactly taste like it either. But there’s a good reason for that, and that is it’s made with a reasonable amount of sugar and all natural flavours and no colouring. I won’t claim to know exactly what Coca Cola put in their drinks, even after having been to the World of Coke twice (totally worth doing if you’re in Atlanta just btw) but I know there is A LOT of sugar, and colourings to make it as dark as it is.
When you first sip this cola drink you’re going to be taken back by how fresh it tastes and you’ll be amazed by all the different flavours dancing around on your tongue. A lot of different spices and flavours go into making cola, and you can taste each one separately but they all seem to marry together perfectly all at the same time. If you compare this to branded cola, in the first instance it will taste like a completely different drink but after a few sips you’ll begin to realise that these are the flavours you can taste in store bought coke but they’re overpowered by the extreme sweetness. I won’t sit here and pretend to be above Coca Cola (although I am above Pepsi, I’ve spent too much time in Atlanta to have anything nice to say about Pepsi!) I have a slight addiction to Cherry Coke and control the amount I drink when I keep it in the house, which is why I don’t let myself buy it, it’s just so bad for you! You don’t have to spend much time on my blog to realise I am far from a health nut, but when I’m not eating and testing sweets, I do try and limit the sugar I have in my diet (it’s kind of necessary with all the dessert recipes I make!). Homemade cola is definitely the best answer to cutting down the sugar in your diet but not completely giving up treating yourself.
This Homemade Cola does have sugar in, but it’s a fraction of what you’d find in store bought. One batch of of this syrup contains about 200g sugar (about 1 cup), and one batch of syrup will make approximately 10 drinks. Which means each drink contains about 4 tsp of sugar – certainly not a health food and something you still want to limit your intake of, but you can feel a little better about serving this to your family once in a while than a big can of high fructose corn syrup! This Homemade Cola is more than just that though, the flavours are phenomal and, what’s more, you can actually taste them! It’s a delicious combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, star anise, citrus, lavendar and vanilla – all of these flavours mingle together to make one big, amazing flavour that tastes so fresh you certainly most miss the sugar!
Homemade Cola - A really easy to make homemade cola soda that is bursting with flavour from spices, citrus and lavendar. This is what cola should taste like when it's made with real ingredients and not 110% sugar!
- 200g sugar
- 2 tbsp brown sugar (see note 1)
- 240ml water
- Zest of 2 medium oranges
- Zest of 2 large limes
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1 star anise
- 1 heaped tsp dried lavendar flowers
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp minced fresh ginger
- Put all of your ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil on a medium heat.
- Stir until sugar has dissolved, then reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer for 20 minutes.
- Place cheese cloth over a fine mesh sieve, and place over a heatproof bowl. Strain the syrup mixture through the cheese cloth and sieve, fold over the cheese cloth and use the back of a spoon to squeeze out as much flavour as you can.
- Pour the strained syrup into a sterlised jar (this will make it last longer) and seal while it's hot. Leave to cool, then place in the fridge. Will keep for up a month in the fridge, longer if sterlised.
- To serve: Put ice in a glass, and pour 1-2 tbsp of syrup over. Top up with soda water. Serve with slices of lemon. lime or orange for an extra summery feel!
Brown sugar is optional if you'd like to reduce the sugar amount, however it does add a slight caramel flavour and colour to the syrup.
This Homemade Cola is so easy to make it just makes sense to replace your normal soda with it. My recipe makes a small batch, however you can double it as much as you like. The syrup will keep well in the fridge, particularly if you sterilise the container first. Homemade Cola would be perfect to serve at BBQs and parties this summer, and how awesome would it be to serve at a kid’s birthday party – it’s a nice treat for them without loading them up on caffeine and high fructose corn syrup! Serve it in cute, single-serve bottles like mine – I got these from Wilkos (a British store), they’re Kilner and were about £1.50 each I think. And, for the adults, use this Homemade Cola for the base of your favourite cocktails and mixed drinks to really up your cocktail game – I can’t wait to try this in a Long Island Iced Tea myself!
Have you ever tried Homemade Cola before? If not, you need to – NOW! It really will blow your mind how delicious cola can actually be! I love making homemade soda syrups in general, and I can’t wait to experiment with this base to make my very own Cherry Cola – then I really will be in trouble, delicious trouble though! But if you’re trying to reduce the amount of sugar in your family’s diet but don’t want to have to give up all the nice things entirely, Homemade Cola (and other homemade soda) is definitely something you should try – I’m willing to bet the kids will love it even more than than the store bought stuff! Give it a try and let me know what you think!
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