Scratch Soda: The Art of a Great Tasting, Fresh Soda

RaspberryLimeRickey_LeahFrankl SMALLAs spring is (finally) on the horizon, so too are efforts to focus on lighter, better-for-you beverages to feature on seasonal bar menus.

This isn’t about alcohol or bar cocktail trends; it’s about artisan soda, and finding a fresh and delicious alternative for non-spirits-imbibing guests.

Enter: scratch made sodas. Embracing the process of crafting soda offerings that are actually better for guests is not as daunting as you might think.

Why serve scratch sodas?

  • You can get really creative with flavor profiles and seasonal inspirations to complement food menu offerings
  • The simplified ingredients can be cost effective if you purchase ingredients in bulk, rather than dealing directly with standard soda company contracts
  • Best of all, you’ll feel great about upping your bar concept creativity and serving these healthy, great tasting options to guests at the bar and the table

Inspired by our very own Beverage Director Jon Arroyo, who was ahead of the beverage trend curve years ago by developing a selection of scratch made sodas for client FarmersRestaurantGroup.com, we asked Jon to regale us with his inspiration, methodology, and approach to how to make soda concepts from scratch and why going back to basics is so important.

Inspiration. Jon focuses his scratch made sodas to reflect a modern interpretation of the classic soda shop/pharmacy sodas found during Prohibition.

Methodology. Keep it simple. Jon advises introducing customers to classic flavors first, delivering them consistently (i.e. as close to the original recipe/intention as possible). For example, for Phosphates, Jon’s team uses phosphoric acid in the beverage and Foxes Ubet chocolate syrup is used in Founding Farmers’ traditional New York Egg Cream. Then, once the classics are proven and established, begin experimenting with new, seasonal, interesting flavor profiles. A couple of Jon’s non-traditional favorite flavors are ginger and hibiscus.

Approach. Utilize a similar approach to your scratch soda menu as selections found on your overall beverage program. As such, Jon uses the same principals for all beverage concepts: fresh ingredients, house-made syrups, and elixirs, mixed with simple flavors delivered with consistency and in a timely manner. Ensure the ingredients and flavors you choose are relevant to your overall brand and menu concept positioning.

*photo: courtesy of the scratch made soda selections at Founding Farmers.

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