We’re over a week past Easter so I won’t bore you with photos from our annual egg hunt and luncheon. However, there is something I do want to share from that day because it’s fun, yummy and definitely shareable.
A fresh fruit Italian soda bar. So easy and impressive.
I came up with the idea to set up this create-your-own beverage station after an impulse buy at Costco left me with a case full of sparkling mineral water. Plus, what better way to use up some of the five pounds of strawberries that found there way into my cart on that very same Costco trip.
The day before the festive gathering I spent the morning hulling strawberries, chopping pineapple and gutting a watermelon. My efforts were rewarded with much praise for the deliciously fruity, fizzy drinks my guests concocted themselves.
Here’s what you do to create your own fresh fruit soda bar:
- Wash and chop two cups of fresh fruit. The juicier the better. If making for a party be sure to select a few different fruits for variety. As stated above I used strawberry, watermelon and pineapple.
- Simmer the fruit with 1/2 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar) and 1 cup of water for about 20 minutes on low heat. Do not boil or scorch the fruit.
- Once the fruit has simmered down to a pulpy syrup, put it in the blender and give it a whiz.
- Add the fruit back to the pan with an additional tablespoon of sugar and allow to simmer again on low heat for an additional 15 minutes.
- Allow the fruit syrups to cool completely and the pour into cute little bottles sealed tightly with plastic wrap.
- Store in the fridge until ready to use.
- Set up the soda bar up by putting out chilled bottles of mineral water along with the syrups, ice, cups and straws.
- Invite your guests to mix up their own refreshing beverage.
We used 16 ounce cups and 2-3 tablespoons of syrup was plenty when topped off with the sparkling water. I also made a simple syrup for those who wanted their drinks a little sweeter.
When choosing the fruit make sure you select fruits with high water and sugar content. And make sure the fruit is in season and very ripe for maximum sweetness and taste. I would not suggest using bananas or even apples for this. Peaches, mangoes, melons, kiwis and any citrus or berries would work well. You can strain the syrups once they have gone through the second simmer to remove any pulp and seeds but I didn’t and there is no need unless you really wanted to.
At some point our liquor cabinet was raided and a few guests spiced up their fruity sodas with a splash of rum or vodka. I was told the drinks were awesome naughtied up with a little booze, but I didn’t partake in that fun. Of course everyone drank responsibly!
I highly suggest adding a fresh fruit Italian soda bar to your next fiesta. It’s fairly simple and simply delightful. Your guests will rave.