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Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

September 23, 2011

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.

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

Photos by Jennifer Causey

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I'm a native New Yorker, Le Cordon Bleu graduate, former food writer/editor turned entrepreneur, mother of two, and unapologetic lover of cheese.


casadelmonte October 3, 2011
Many many congratulations Merril what a happy time for you, enjoy it all
chefrockyrd October 2, 2011
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.
fineartdaily October 1, 2011
Congrats! That is wonderful news! Take naps now...
Panfusine September 30, 2011
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!
gingerroot September 29, 2011
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.
zephyr050 September 29, 2011
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!
Droplet September 26, 2011
Best wishes :)
Sandra V. September 26, 2011
Looking forward to making this recipe and CONGRATULATIONS!
whataprize September 26, 2011
Meow!! Congratulations Merrill, and this sounds like an amazingly delicious drink, so fresh!
pshipper September 26, 2011
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.
mrslarkin September 25, 2011
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!
KitchVega September 25, 2011
Congratulations Mama!!!! And the drink looks fab too!
suzilightning September 25, 2011
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.
snamkrane September 25, 2011
Congratulations, Merrill! :) How far along are you?
enbe September 25, 2011
Congratulations :)
marynn September 25, 2011
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...>;)
Julie@Kitchen September 25, 2011
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)!
Waverly September 25, 2011
Merrill, I am so happy for you! The grape soda looks delicious.
MrsWheelbarrow September 25, 2011
So very happy for you, Merrill!
creamtea September 25, 2011
Wow, great news! May it be a healthy and easy pregnancy for you & the little one.