Anything can happen at the Market. Last week, I fell in love. The problem is, the guy's a real jerk.
Seriously--did you meet the Soda Jerk yet? Oh, my goodness. When the weather is warm and you crave something cool and flavorful and refreshing (and you've done the ice cream and pops for a few weeks running), come throw your money at the Soda Jerk.
My faithful Market companion chose a Lemon Lavender soda, and I had a Blueberry Basil. They were eye-closing delicious! Not the same old flavors. Not the same old too-sweet, too-high-fructose-corn syrup. Nice and bubbly. These ones were made with local, organic ingredients where possible and real sugar. Now I love a Coca-Cola on a hot day, but you know how, if the Coke isn't well-iced and very cold, it's too sweet? (At least for me. It makes me grimace just thinking about it. Europe, I'm looking at you!) Well, you'd never have that problem with these sodas because they're just the right amount of sweetened, to let the quality ingredients and flavors shine through.
The other thing you need to know about storebought soda is that "natural flavors" are, at bottom, no different from "artificial flavors." They are both just the results of a chemistry lab, except "natural flavors" begin with what once were items found in nature, before they were fiddled with. Want to know more about this? I refer you to my older post on Mark Schatzker's excellent book on fake flavor: The Dorito Effect.
The Soda Jerk's offerings, however, are concocted from actual ingredients, concentrated into syrups. My blueberry-basil came from actual local blueberries, for instance. It's summer in a cup, people!
And, speaking of cups, that soda cup and straw you're left with, after you've sucked every last drop of soda out and have even poured the ice into your water bottle, so as not to lose the faintest aftertaste of that heavenly flavor, that soda cup and straw and lid are fully compostable. Awesome.
For those of us who like to make our own sodas, spritzers, and cocktails at home, the Soda Jerk sells a ginger syrup that he's had hot and cold with equally pleasing results. Yum.
We're promised a rotation of soda flavors this season, depending on sales, and I'm eager to try them, but if you see the blueberry-basil on offer... oh my.