A new trend is bubbling up: Restaurants are making their own sodas in-house, without the high-fructose corn syrup, the preservatives or the weird additives you usually gulp. Cool off this summer by ordering up one of these refreshments — in sizes even New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg would approve of.
From-scratch sodas are so popular at this farm-to-table restaurant’s Potomac location that they outsell Coke and Diet Coke combined. Chief mixologist Jon Arroyo wants to drop commercial colas entirely, so he’s been working on his own version for more than a year. “It’s the hardest soda to make,” he says. “Just think of all the artisanal colas you like. There probably aren’t any.” The good news is he’s already nailed the pineapple pop ($5), which includes a squirt of lime juice and fresh mint. 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, Md.; 301-340-8783.
The Summer Spice Fizz ($5) at this Dupont spot sports a yellowish hue — and a whole lot of flavor. That’s because the citrus concoction of orange, lemon and lime is sassed up with ginger, nutmeg, cinnamon, vanilla and homemade lavender syrup made with raw sugar. 1310 New Hampshire Ave. NW; 202-861-1310.
“We took the whole craft bar concept and applied it to soda,” says general manager Justin Kraemer. The menu always has a few options, such as rosemary-pear ($5). It’s made by muddling together simple syrup, freshly squeezed lemon, juicy pears and rosemary. Once the soda water is added, it’s ready for you to drink up. 427 11th St. NW; 202-546-0088.
The zingy five-spice ginger beer ($5) is made by simmering cinnamon, coriander, allspice, clove and star anise with sugar and water to create a simple syrup, which is combined with lemon and ginger. Head mixologist Taha Ismail plans on changing the flavors with the seasons. He’s already done blood orange-habanero and strawberry-cardamom. “People are surprised to see them on the menu,” he says. “But I didn’t want to do something that you’d expect.” 707 6th St. NW; 202-289-3600.