Aly and I have been enjoying kitchen duty lately, trying new dishes and old favorites as we prepare dinners. We came up with a homestead-style foccacia that will definitely be a “keeper,” and has inspired us to experiment further.
Much of this effort is directed at beverages. We’ve made root beer with the sassafras and sarsaparilla bark Aly got at a store near her college. We’re a bit put off by its appearance, which reminds us of ditch water, but it smells like root beer. We’re also trying to make rhubarb soda.
Aly got that idea after sampling a bit of my rhubarb wine in its first stages of ferment. She proposed making soda by setting up a wine batch, but with less sugar, capping it to retain the carbonation, and drinking it as soon as it develops.
We won’t have long to wait. The day after we started it, the bottles are showing signs of building carbonation. The flavor’s excellent; with a little carbonation it should be fantastic, a perfect north country summer drink. My only concern is that it might be so good that none of the wine batches will last long enough to become real wine.
I’m really pleased with the rhubarb, both as wine and soda. The recipe allows us to extract much of the juice from the rhubarb, then stew the remains. This means that we get the full value of the rhubarb, plus whatever drinks we make from it. I like that it’s not an either/or proposition. Not that rhubarb is a scarce resource on our homestead . . . .