I am a big fan of Botanical drinks and Fentimans in the UK make a wonderful botanical cola. Basically Coca Cola the company now use almost entirely chemical formulas and dried powers to make their legendary beverage but it is also possible to create a replica using actual fruits, sugars and spices.
This instructable will show you how to make a Cola syrup using ingredients that are easily available in most stores and using techniques that won't baffle even the most laymen's of cooks.
It's a greatly satisfying venture and I can guarantee you will be proud of the result. I invited friends over to sample the cola one summers afternoon and I can assure it went down a treat.
This instructable has been adapted from Brooklyn Pharmacy & Soda Fountain Brooklyn.
Step 1: Gather Ingredients & Utensils
Grated zest - 2 Medium Oranges
Grated zest - 1 Large Lime
Grated zest - 1 Large Lemon
1/8tsp - Ground Cinnamon
1/8tsp - Ground Nutmeg (preferably fresh)
1 section of a star anise pod, crushed
1/2tsp - Dried Lavender Flowers
2tsp - Preferably fresh Minced Ginger (I used jarred stem ginger and chopped it finely)
One-and-a-half inch piece of Vanilla bean, spilt
1/4tsp - Citric Acid
2 cups + 2tbsp - Plain Sugar
1tbsp - Brown or Demerara Sugar
Options 3/4tsp - caramel colouring
The citric acid can be bought at most health food stores or the homebrew section of some supermarkets. I got mine from Tesco in the home wine making isle. Dedicated homebrew shops will almost certainly sell this also.
The Dried lavender I sourced from my garden. I happen to have some lavender growing in my back garden. So I simply picked some of the flowers and dried them in my fan oven at 100•c. I left the door open slightly as to avoid burning them. I kept checking to check when they had dried and then took them out and jarred them in an old empty spice jar. If you don't have lavender growing in your garden you can source this from health food stores and other similar shops. I haven't tried this recipe without the lavender but if you fail at finding this I'm sure the syrup will still taste delicious.
I didn't use the food colouring. I'm a big fan of no artificial colouring foods and drinks so opted to leave this out. It does give the cola a good dark caramel colour if you so desire, as without this the recipe makes for a very pale orange coloured cola.
Zester or fine grater
Tsp and tbsp measurements
Heavy based pan
Muslin or cheesecloth
Step 2: Boil and Simmer
Add the zests, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla pod and citric acid.
Reduce to a lower heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Step 3: Whirl Sugars
If you don't have a food processor simply transfer the sugars to a large bowl and mix them together with a spoon or by hand. It's being dissolved at a later stage so this doesn't make much difference.
If you are using the food colouring add this to the sugars at this stage.
Step 4: Prepare Sieve and Strain
Once the ingredients have simmered for 20 minutes pour them through the lined sieve onto the sugars.
Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth or muslin and twist the top making sure to squeeze all of the lovely flavourful goodness out of the cloth. You can press the cloth against the side of the bowl with a spoon to squeeze and remaining juices as to not burn your hands.
Step 5: Stir and Dissolve
Step 6: Chill and Enjoy!!
I'm sure if you added some extra vanilla flavouring you could make vanilla cola. And mixing it with Rum is delicious.
Serve ice cold and enjoy your home made Cola.