Photos by Stuart Mullenberg

Homemade Blackberry Soda

Bike rides, flip-flops, beach trips and berries mean summer is definitely in high gear, and what better way to make the most of the season than by chilling out with a refreshing fruit soda? This homemade blackberry soda from 2009 James Beard Award winner Maria Hines, chef and owner of Tilth restaurant in Seattle, combines the delicate flavor of lemon verbena with ripe, jammy berries. Subtly herbal, with just the right amount of sweetness, this no-fuss soda is perfect for lazy afternoons on the porch or a backyard barbecue with friends.



1 cup sugar
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh lemon verbena leaves, loosely packed (if you can't find lemon verbana, you can substitute for another herb, such as thyme)
2 pints fresh, ripe blackberries
Ice cubes
Soda water (Hines uses Fever Tree)



Fine-mesh strainer
Slotted spoon
Large wooden spoon
Glass jar



spacer Step 1

Combine sugar, water and lemon verbena leaves in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and let the mixture simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.




Step 2

Remove verbena leaves with a slotted spoon and let  the syrup cool completely.




Step 3

In the blender, puree the blackberries until fruit makes a thick pulp.





Step 4

Strain blackberry juice into a jar by pressing blended fruit through a fine-mesh strainer with a large wooden spoon.





Step 5

Add the verbena syrup to the blackberry juice and stir well. This is the base for your soda and will keep refrigerated for one week.




Step 6

To serve, fill a Collins glass with ice and add 1 part of blackberry-lemon verbena juice to 3 parts club soda. Stir gently to combine and garnish with a sprig of lemon verbena and fresh blackberries. Serves 4.



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