Friday, November 2, 2012

Autumn Giveaway - Homemade Soda: 200 Recipes (and the winner of the slow-cooker book!)

This giveaway is now closed.  The review, however, still stands! 

This is the second book in a series of book giveaways - click here to see what is next in the lineup! Like us on Facebook to stay updated on all of the giveaways in this lineup! 

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher.  They did not pay me for my review.  As some of you know far too well, the opinions expressed herein most definitely are and perhaps unfortunately always will be my own!

First, a little business: Our giveaway for Slow Cooker: The Best Cookbook Ever is over and the winner was selected using a random number generator.  I had to check twice to be sure the winning number was correct, because she kept leaving us Facebook messages about how badly she wanted this book - and I didn't want her to think I rigged it - but the winner was #9: Britni!!!  I'll contact Britni via her e-mail address, get a mailing address from her and send her the absolutely fabulous, huge, and magnificent slow cooker book!!!

Now, on to our next book review and giveaway. 

This book blows my mind, every time I open it.

Brought to us by one of my absolutely favorite publishing houses, the urban homesteading-DIY-loving folks at Storey have once again scored in the big-time leagues with this book.  Browse their website for more fabulous titles.  Like their Facebook page and follow them for reports on new publications and regular giveaways!

Homemade Soda: 200 Recipes for Making and Using ... fruit sodas and fizzy juices, sparkling waters, root beers and cola brews, herbal and healing waters, sparkling teas and coffees, shrubs and switchels, cream sodas and floats, and other carbonated concoctions

I love carbonated drinks - absolutely adore them.  J'adore, fizzy drinks.  I cannot stomach most store-bought sodas, though.  When I drink a Coke, I can hear my teeth crackle as they rot out of my skull.  I feel it burn a high-fructose-corn-syrup-shaped-hole all the way down into my gullet and leach poison into my body.

A little dramatic, I know.  What's a body to do, though, if one still wants a fizzy drink?  A refreshing, sparkling drink; bubbly in a cold-sweated glass jar on a hot day, slowly sipped from a bottle after a long workout, poured into a tall glass at dinner with elegant folk.

This book makes joyful living possible.  Once again, I can enjoy the bubbly.

The first chapter opens up with an introduction to common ingredients used throughout the book (different sweeteners and flavorings like honey, brown sugar, birch bark, ginger), a primer on soda storage in the home, and a troubleshooting section.

The first question you might have is, do you need a fancy machine?  A soda siphon?  Bottler?  Yes and no.  Yes, if you want to bottle your own soda, you'll need a simple capper, and you can get a soda siphon or water carbonator if you so desire; but you can still create the bubbly without these tools, and there is no need to create massive batches of soda and bottle it - you can make syrup and store it in the fridge, and add to your carbonated water (either homemade, or from a bottle) as you so desire!  You can use beer or champagne yeast to lightly ferment and bubble your drinks (they will not be alcoholic).  All of these various methods are described and explained in the book, and most of the recipes have directions for the three primary means of developing that signature bubble: mixing with seltzer, carbonating with a siphon/CO2 charger, or brewing in the bottle.

As Mr H and I work towards an almost-trash-free lifestyle, eliminating especially plastic waste from our lives and with it the negative effects of BPA and BPS and other chemicals from plastic, this book is a true boon in that we can prepare our own drinks at home and stop wasting bottle after bottle from the store.  It is worth noting that bottles from brews without a screw-off cap - that is to say, with a cap you need to pry off with a bottle-opener - can be reused and recapped by the home-mixer!

Just what kinds of recipes can you expect to find in this treasure of deliciousness?

We start off with the simplest of selections: sparkling waters.  Support your day with a bottle of home-prepared Mineral Water, Energy Water, or Vitamin Water.  All manner of delicately flavored waters (Lychee, Sparkling Rose Water, Honeydew Mint Seltzer) are contained here, all perfect for a hint of flavor in your refreshment, a mineral or nutritional boost to your drink.

This section is followed by fruit sodas.  Let your mind ferment with passionate flavors like Orange Honey Ginger Ale, Black Lemonade, Original Orange Crush!  Just choosing a few titles to include in this review was torture - how could I leave out Raspberry Lime Rickey, Kiwi Lime Soda, Very Cherry Cola, and all the other delightful titles?  A sip of this sweetness would turn any simple picnic into a high-rollin' party.

Turn the page to the section on root beers and cola brews. Imagine packing a bottle of your own, Homemade Rooty Toot Root Beer, 7-Root Beer, Ginger Ginger Ale, Coffee Chocolate Stout, or Orange Kombucha?  These and other recipes fill this section with possibilities of greatness.

On to the herbal sodas and healing waters!  These drinks are all aimed at increasing your health quotient, while bringing a smile to your face!  Ginseng Soda, Antioxidant Explosion, Bedtime Chamomile Soda, and Calming Waters are just a few of the drinks that will improve your life in more ways than one.  Treat yourself to a sip of Joint Juice after yoga, a Sports Recovery Soda to replenish electrolytes after a tough workout, and an Immunity Solution to keep your system boosted during the winter months.

Next, splurge on some fizzy juices.  Vanilla Pear Sparkler, Applale, Homemade Tonic, and Sparkling Lemon Drop are just a couple of the recipes that will dazzle you with their greatness.  Recipes like Carrot Cinnamon Slush and Cherry Basil Juice challenge your preset ideas on bubbly drinks, and up the ante with their added nutritional value!

Have you been introduced to sparkling teas, coffees and chocolates yet?  Let me take you there.  Chai Fizz, Sparkling Green Tea with a Hint of Coconut, and Effervescent Raspberry White Tea get the ball rolling (and set my mind aflame with variations using the loose-leaf teas in my cupboard!).  Sparkling Iced Tea Lemonade sets the stage for a perfect afternoon luncheon, while Sparkling Latte, and Espresso Jolt bring to mind an exciting morning setting out for errands or work.  Let's not leave out wild titles like Turkish Java Mud, Brown Sugar Mocha Soda, or - wait for it, wait for it ... Chocolate Ginger Ale!

We can't ignore the cream sodas, egg creams and floats!  Start with Plain Delicious Cream Soda and work your way up from there, to Banana Cream Soda, Sparkling Orange Creamsicle, and even the devilish-sounding Peanut Cream Soda.  Learn the old soda-jerk art of the egg cream (there aren't actually eggs in it!) and treat your deserving family to French Vanilla Egg Cream on a cool afternoon!  Bring pizzazz to holiday parties with Sparkling Egg Nog and Ginger Pineapple Coconut-Cream Floats!

As if your mind weren't already reeling, let's turn to the shrubs, switchels, and other vinegar drinks.  To start with, this is where we learn what all these names even mean!  Who could turn down something called Apricot Raspberry Shrub or Sweet-and-Sour Apple Cider?  A Malted Molasses Switchel is perfect for a barbecue dinner, and a Citrus Rice Vinegar Cordial makes for fine sipping after supper!

Then we move on to recipes for soda foods, with savory mains and sides like Baked Sweet Potatoes with Root Beer Rum Butter and Fruity Meatballs.  We wrap it up with sweet desserts to tantalize the tongue with titles like Ginger Ale Pound Cake and Chocolate Root Beer Cheesecake!

If this book sounds half as exciting to you as it does to me, I know you'll want to get your own copy!  Before you head to the bookstore, enter our giveaway and see if you can win it for free!  Storey Publishers will mail your copy directly to you, once the giveaway is complete.

Enter the Giveaway! 

Step 1.  Leave a comment below.  Do you have a favorite carbonated drink?  What do you think you'd like to try first from this book?  I'll use your e-mail address to contact you when you win, so be sure it's one you use!

Step 2.  Please share this giveaway with a friend!

Contest ends Saturday November 10th at midnight (Eastern Standard Time!) and will be immediately followed by the next book giveaway .... (Yes, you may enter all of the book giveaways, no matter how many you win!)

May the thirstiest brewer win!!

Mrs H
tweet us @_mrs_h
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