Christmas

Concord Grape and Lemon Soda

September 22, 2011
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

Recently, I decided that I like the intense flavor of Concord grapes most in drink form. Several years ago, I tested and loved a recipe from the New York Times Magazine involving a heavily spiced grape purée to which you add vodka, lemon juice and soda water. So last week, I decided to make a Concord grape soda, inspired by the Times recipe. I cut way 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!). The resulting soda was refreshing, intensely grapey, and a sure herald of fall.
Merrill Stubbs

  • Makes 6 drinks
Ingredients
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 pound Concord grapes, rinsed and stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken in half
  • Pinch salt
  • Soda water
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. Zest and juice 1 lemon and put the zest in a heavy, wide saucepan. Set the juice aside. Add the grapes, sugar, cinnamon stick, salt and 2 tablespoons of water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir until the sugar dissolves and cook gently over medium-low heat until the grapes have all broken down, about 20 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Press the grapes and juice through a fine mesh sieve until you have a smooth puree (you should have about 3/4 cup). Discard the grape seeds and peels left in the sieve, as well as the cinnamon stick.
  3. To make the soda: Cut the second lemon into thin wedges. Put several ice cubes in each of 6 tumblers. Add 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 tablespoons of the grape puree to each glass. Fill with soda water and stir gently to combine. Add a lemon wedge to a each glass and serve, with stirrers if you have them.

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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.