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Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

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Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

- Merrill

It's a sure sign that fall has arrived when the grape guys appear at my local greenmarket. They have giant tubs of different grape varieties -- all of which they let you sample -- in a wide spectrum of hues, from green to golden to deepest purple. The darkest of all are the Concord grapes, those round fat beauties with dusky skins that look as if they’ve just been frosted, and whose intense, not-at-all-sweet flavor has inspired legions of “grape” flavored candies, jellies and gum.

Recently, I decided that I like the flavor of Concord grapes most in drink form. Several years ago, I tested and loved this recipe from the New York Times Magazine, involving a heavily spiced grape purée to which you add vodka, lemon juice and soda water. Over the past few months, as a non-drinking mother-to-be (yes, the cat’s officially out of the bag, people!), I’ve been on the hunt for new and interesting -- and alcohol-free -- ways to imbibe. So I decided to make a Concord grape soda, inspired by the Times recipe. I cut back on the spices, opting for a just a little cinnamon because I wanted a purer grape flavor, and I upped the lemon juice, forgoing the vodka (but you don't have to!). This drink is refreshing, intensely grapey, and a sure herald of fall.

Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

Makes 6 drinks

  • 2 lemons
  • 1 pound Concord grapes, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • Pinch salt
  • Soda water

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Like this post? See Merrill's post from last week: Lobster Diavolo

Photos by Jennifer Causey

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Comments (61)


almost 4 years ago casadelmonte

Many many congratulations Merril what a happy time for you, enjoy it all


almost 4 years ago chefrockyrd

Congrats on the baby.
I forgot all about this grape drink. Thanks so much for the reminder. Everyone in my family had a grape arbor.
Besides making beautiful jelly, my mom made many jars of grape "base" and canned it in mason jars.
Then thru out the year we would be sent down to the cellar to get a jar. She would put some in a tall glass and add club soda or ginger ale to it sometimes with a wedge of lemon. As a kid I always thought it was so special. Now I have to find some grapes.


almost 4 years ago fineartdaily

Congrats! That is wonderful news! Take naps now...


almost 4 years ago Panfusine

Merill!! Congratulations! (duh, missed this news until I saw the cream cheese cookie pics & wssmoms link!) We need to have a baby shower recipe theme one of these days!


almost 4 years ago gingerroot

Somehow I missed this last week, but this sounds delicious and wow, Congratulations, Merrill!! Such happy, exciting news - best wishes to you and your husband.


almost 4 years ago zephyr050

This sounds wonderful...and please explore and share more non-alcoholic beverages!
As a teetotaler, i may be among the minority of the foodie world, but there are lots of us who must avoid alcohol--but we still enjoy interesting beverages. i am particularly fond of elderflower cordial--must pay big bucks to get it and am willing to. The "ginger swizzle" at Gramercy Tavern is one of the few mixed drinks i've ever been offered at a "good" restaurant--though i'm often offered interesting, unusual "sodas" at quirky joints.
Looking forward to more!


almost 4 years ago Droplet

Best wishes :)


almost 4 years ago Sandra Vitorovich

Looking forward to making this recipe and CONGRATULATIONS!


almost 4 years ago whataprize

Meow!! Congratulations Merrill, and this sounds like an amazingly delicious drink, so fresh!


almost 4 years ago pshipper

Congratulations, to you, Merrill. Made this syrup yesterday and it's fantastic. I'm thinking about all the other ways I might use this, starting with a little on some vanilla ice cream.


almost 4 years ago mrslarkin

Mrs. Larkin is a trusted source on Baking.

What happy news! Lots of love and luck to you, Merrill.

The soda looks delicious! Saving the recipe. I would love a recipe for Concord grape jelly - do you have any you like? Also going to try and freeze some - frozen grapes are yummy!


almost 4 years ago KitchVega

Congratulations Mama!!!! And the drink looks fab too!


almost 4 years ago suzilightning

many congratulations. i went to school in Fredonia, NY in the heart of Concord grape country - even working for one of my mom's friends in their vineyard. and we had a grape arbor that gave us grapes for jams at home on Shelter Island.

the soda looks good. have you thought about making it more of a spritzer? or playing around with some of the other grapes and adding flavors like lemongrass, ginger or key lime? am interested as i no longer drink alcohol.


almost 4 years ago snamkrane

Congratulations, Merrill! :) How far along are you?


almost 4 years ago enbe

Congratulations :)


almost 4 years ago marynn

While the smile on your face may be bigger, mine is pretty darned big. How fun to celebrate with you and your current and incipient family. And what burgeoning possibilities! I loved the craving suggestion, and I am also going to hope you will tackle the challenges of cooking when your pregnant self is suddenly adverse to what you know your shared body needs, home cooking as a new/working mother, and making terrific, palate-expanding baby food at home. Or not, as you see fit...>;)


almost 4 years ago Julie@Kitchen

Congratulations on your happy news. A toast to you with this wonderful looking concord grape and lemon soda (mine might have just a splash of vodka)!


almost 4 years ago Waverly

Merrill, I am so happy for you! The grape soda looks delicious.


almost 4 years ago MrsWheelbarrow

Cathy is a trusted source on Pickling/Preserving.

So very happy for you, Merrill!


almost 4 years ago creamtea

Wow, great news! May it be a healthy and easy pregnancy for you & the little one.


almost 4 years ago Fairmount_market

Warmest congratulations Merrill! You guys should run a contest for pregnancy food cravings.


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Hold that thought...


almost 4 years ago Greenstuff

Chris is a trusted source on General Cooking

Wow! I didn't have too too much interest in grape soda, but took a look because of all the comments. Cheers, Merrill! (That's a non-alcoholic Cheers!) Best thing in the world.


almost 4 years ago motay29

give it bubbles with champagne yeast! here's a guideline for the meathod: http://www.saveur.com/article....


almost 4 years ago Summer of Eggplant

Congratulations Merrill! What wonderful news!


almost 4 years ago mcs3000

Congrats, Merrill - so exciting!


almost 4 years ago cookbookchick

Congratulations, Merrill, to you and your hubby! You'll have to start a new project: BabyFood52!


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Brilliant idea!


almost 4 years ago HCR

That lucky baby is going to be eating the yummiest baby food around.


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

No pressure! :)


almost 4 years ago Elycooks

Congrat Merrill! So happy for you and Jonathan. Best to you!


almost 4 years ago WinnieAb

Aw, congrats Merrill! That is super awesome news, and grape soda is on my must-make-soon list :)


almost 4 years ago cookinginvictoria

Wow, warmest congratulations to you and your husband, Merrill! Such happy news. I love the look of this recipe and I intend to try it soon. I am always on the lookout for Concord grape recipes -- we have a Concord grape arbor in our backyard, and we usually have a bumper crop. That is, if the neighorhood raccoons don't get to them first!


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

How amazing. Do you make lots of jelly and jam?


almost 4 years ago Kari Johnson

Kari is the manager of Whisk, a kitchenware store in Brooklyn.

So excited for you, Merrill! Congratulations.


almost 4 years ago WeeklyGreens

Yeah, Merrill! A big congrats to you. I wish you a comfortable and easy pregnancy (and same for delivery!). Cheers to you!


almost 4 years ago Soozll

Congrats, Merrill..I hope your pregnancy goes as well as (both of) mine went. I never felt so good!
I bought my first ever concords at the farmers mkt last week. They were seedless..how handy is that! The flavor and texture were identical to the seeded variety. I've always loved a wedge of lemon in any grape drink. I can't wait to try this recipe.


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Wow, lucky you!


almost 4 years ago gluttonforlife

A bun in the oven---how wonderful, Merrill!! xo


almost 4 years ago Niknud

How wonderful - I wish you a comfortable and uneventful time of it! Congratulations!


almost 4 years ago Merrill Stubbs

Merrill is a co-founder of Food52.

Thanks so much, everyone!


almost 4 years ago lastnightsdinner

I knew it!!! Huge congrats to you, and enjoy the ride - it really does go by so fast :)


almost 4 years ago inpatskitchen

Congratulations Merrill!


almost 4 years ago boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

Oh, such wonderful news. Warm congratulations to you all. And the soda looks wonderful in either version.


almost 4 years ago AllisonGG

Congratulations Merrill!! So exciting...


almost 4 years ago Helen's All Night Diner

Congratulations, Merrill! I've been up to my eyeballs in grapes this summer, too. Made a couple batches of grape conserve that turned out wonderful...


almost 4 years ago betsysbites

congratulations merrill!!


almost 4 years ago nomnivorous

Congratulations, Merrill! And what an absolutely gorgeous color that final drink makes. What a beauty.


almost 4 years ago jwlucas



almost 4 years ago Minimally Invasive



almost 4 years ago Hilarybee

Congratulations, Merrill!! I love concord grapes. Love to see more non-alcoholic beverages, too.


almost 4 years ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Congratulations, Merrill!


almost 4 years ago Rivka

Yay Merrill! Congrats! Hope you're feeling good. I'm thrilled to have yet another delicious recipe for concord grapes - I actually just posted a focaccia using them on my blog. 'Tis the (fleetingly short) season.

Congrats again!


almost 4 years ago Midge

Delicious! Congrats Merrill!


almost 4 years ago wssmom

Oh, how exciting! Congratulations! p.s. the drink looks great even without the booze!


almost 4 years ago erinmcdowell

Congratulations Merrill!!!!!! Love the concord grapes.


almost 4 years ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Lovely drink and warmest congratulations, so happy for you!


almost 4 years ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Oh my goodness!!!!! What an exciting cat to allow out! :) HUGE congratulations to you!!!! And, I now know what I'm going to do with the concord grapes that came in our CSA this week!


almost 4 years ago EmilyC

Many congrats Merrill -- that's wonderful news! The world definitely needs more interesting and fun drinks like this where you don't miss the alcohol! It looks perfect for fall.


almost 4 years ago Brianne Du Clos

Merrill! Congratulations!

This soda looks divine.


almost 4 years ago cbear1984


And this looks awesome.