The fresh taste of autumn comes to life in homemade apple soda. This refreshing sparkling beverage is bright and slightly sweet. When made with fresh apple juice, apple soda is a brilliant way to take advantage of the fall apple harvest and preserve the fruit's sweet taste for months to come.
The apple soda recipe begins with fresh apple juice. Using an electric juicer is the quickest method. However, the stovetop method of simmering chunks of apple in water, processing to a pulp, and straining out the juice adds just a little more time. A simple and fun project, especially after a visit to a local orchard, allows you to make as much fresh apple juice as you like.
Once you have the juice, it's time to make the syrup base for the soda. White granulated sugar is fine but, raw sugar adds a darker sweetness, pairing perfectly with apples. The secret ingredient for any soda—homemade or commercial—is citric acid. The organic powder gives the syrup's flavor a necessary sour boost and doubles as a preservative for a longer shelf life than most homemade syrups. With the syrup in the fridge, you simply have to add club soda when you're ready to enjoy a tall glass of apple soda.
- For the Apple Juice:
- 4 to 5 large apples
- 2 cups water
- For the Apple Syrup:
- 2 cups apple juice
- 1 cup raw granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon citric acid
- For the Apple Soda:
- 3 ounces apple syrup
- 6 to 8 ounces club soda (to taste)
- Garnish: apple wedge
Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, the apple soda is broken down into workable categories to help you plan for preparation and assembly.
Make the Apple Juice
Gather the ingredients.
Wash the apples well. Cut them into quarters (or smaller chunks, depending on the apples' size), removing the stem, blossom end, and seeds.
In a medium saucepan, combine the apples and water. Bring to a rolling boil.
Reduce the heat, cover, and let simmer for 20 minutes. As the apples soften, mash them slightly with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Remove from heat and let cool for about 10 minutes.
Process the apples in a food mill or blender to create a juicy pulp.
Place a fine-mesh strainer over a medium bowl and strain the apple juice from the majority of the pulp. Use a spatula to shuffle the pulp to remove more of the juice.
Line the strainer with two layers of cheesecloth and strain the apple juice a second time to remove the remaining pulp.
Use the apple juice right away for the syrup or let cool and transfer it to a jar with a tight seal. Refrigerate it for up to 2 weeks or freeze as cubes for up to 6 months.
Use Caution When Blending Hot Ingredients
Steam expands quickly in a blender and can cause ingredients to splatter everywhere or cause burns. To prevent this, fill the blender only one-third of the way up, vent the top, and cover with a folded kitchen towel while blending.
Make the Apple Syrup
Gather the ingredients.
In a medium saucepan, bring the apple juice to a boil, stirring in the raw sugar until completely dissolved.
Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.
Remove from heat, let cool for about 10 minutes, then stir in the citric acid.
Once completely cool, pour into jars with tight seals and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months.
Where Is Citric Acid in My Grocery Store?
Citric acid is located near the pectin and other canning ingredients and materials. It is sometimes called "sour salt" in the kosher section or spice aisle.
Make the Apple Soda
Gather the ingredients.
In an ice-filled glass, pour the fresh apple syrup.
Top with club soda and stir well.
Garnish with an apple wedge. Serve and enjoy.
- The apple syrup recipe yields 2 cups, enough for about 5 sodas. It's easy to make larger and smaller batches as needed.
- Small and medium apples will work perfectly. For the 2 cups of juice used in this recipe, you'll need 4 heaping cups of cut apples.
- The leftover apple pulp is actually a simplified version of applesauce that can be eaten or stored; add lemon juice or cinnamon to give it extra flavor. It can also be used to make apple butter.
- To preserve the apple garnish and prevent it from turning brown, squeeze lemon juice over the flesh immediately after cutting it. This will prevent oxidation for a couple of hours; don't cut it too early.
What Are the Best Apples for Juicing?
Any variety of apples can be made into juice, though some are better choices than others. This recipe features Fuji apples and has been tested with a backyard apple tree of unknown variety; both worked out very well. Sweet apples tend to create the best apple juice; some other varieties to try, include Red and Golden Delicious, Gala, and Honeycrisp. If you use tart apples, such as Granny Smith and Arkansas Black, consider adding more sugar to the syrup. Since the peels are left on for this recipe, the apple's color will determine the color of the juice and syrup.
- Use bottled apple juice or cider instead of fresh juice. Simply skip to the syrup steps and reduce the sugar to 3/4 cup when using sweetened juice.
- Instead of club soda, use another carbonated water. Ginger ale adds sweetness, tonic water gives it a dry note, and sparkling water is refreshingly crisp. You can also use plain carbonated water from a soda maker; depending on the model, the apple syrup may work in some soda makers, too.