--- Cool summer drinks ---
I have several favorite coffee shops along my usual routes - Nixon's Coffee House in Englewood and La Belle Rosette just down the street being two. But, during the summer, I don't want coffee. I want something that will quench my thirst, so I will usually order an Italian soda, basically a seltzer lightly flavored with a syrup.
That's away from home. At home, my housemates usually drink ice water or seltzer flavored with MiO, and MiO has sugar substitutes. As I get older, most sugar substitutes are beginning to have unpleasant effects on my system, so MiO's out.
I decided to make my own flavor syrups and it turns out that it's easy. A simple syrup is just equal parts sugar and water. For two 20 ounce bottles, I heat 2.5 cups sugar with 2.5 cups water for 4 minutes in a microwave and stir it until all the sugar dissolves. After the syrup cools, I place 5 milliliters of water soluble, food grade flavor and a couple drops food color in a bottle and add half the simple syrup. (20 drops make a milliliter but I use a graduated cylinder. It quickly get old dispensing 100 drops from a squeeze bottle.) There's no preservatives, so I keep the flavored syrups in the refrigerator.
[Hibiscus and blackberry syrups]
To make an Italian soda, I place ice in a tall glass, add about an inch of syrup, and fill the glass with carbonated water. To make a French soda, I add some cream or canned milk. Add milk to the soda, not soda to the milk, or it will curdle.
I order the flavors from an outfit in Florida called Wizard Labs. They have about 800 different food grade flavors. (https://www.wizardlabs.us)
[Hibiscus French soda]