When I look back on my childhood I have to say it was pretty sweet. That has more to do with the love and affection of my parents rather than the presence of sugary treats or beverages in our pantry. Yeah, my mom was the type who bought carob chips instead chocolate, who baked zucchini bread instead of cookies (thankfully the carob never made it into the zucchini bread, because I actually really liked the zucchini bread). Occasionally we could have orange juice – the frozen concentrate kind that you mixed with water – but pretty much never would we get soda like Coke or 7UP. It was only at my neighbors’ house across the street (they had a swimming pool, cable TV and they had ColecoVision. would I get to drink such sweet nectar because they kept their cupboards stocked with all sorts of soda. They even had the mini cans! These were the best because they were small enough for a kid to mimic a “mug” by placing the thumb on the top of the can and the pinky on the bottom and holding the can shaka style. It’s like “Yeah, I’m drinking from a mug that’s actually my hand!” It just didn’t get much cooler when I was seven. I guess I lived a pretty sheltered life. Pardon the trip down memory lane, but all this is to say, I didn’t get soda much when I was a kid and when I did, it was a real treat. I did’t really have much of a taste for Coke, gravitating to the more “healthy” options of 7UP or ginger ale (my parents’ food indoctrination ran pretty deep). But when there was a can of Welch’s grape soda on the table – forget it. That was my jam!
All these years later, I still have a thing for grape soda. But I’m an adult now – at least age wise. And I’m a cliche. I have two young kids whose sugar intake I limit like a dictator and I’m also one of those annoying food oriented (though never mistake me for some newbie hipster foodie) DIY types who likes to make my own food stuffs and blog about it – yeah, even more annoying. So, imagine my delight when I discovered that the house we moved into a couple years ago had a grape vine growing along the fence in our front yard that borders our neighbor’s driveway.
I have no idea what kind of grapes they are but I do know that they’re delicious and as they ripen they go from tart to full bodied and sweet. Our yield this year was pretty good, so I thought, why not take the juice of these lovely grapes and make a concentrate of grapey essence that I could add to the seltzer water which I annoyingly adore (I was also an early adapter of and proselytizer for the Soda Stream). So that’s what I did. And you know what? It’s way better than Welch’s – as it should be because this was a whole lot more labor intensive than going the store and buying a can or case of Welch’s or Fanta. And less sugar? See, Mom? I’m still listening.
Here’s how I do it: