July 11, 2023
Confession : I adore Coke, and specifically Diet Coke. Sadly, these beverages do not love me back. Thinking the caffeine was preventing a good night’s rest, I tried Caffeine Free Diet Coke. Same result. Whatever is in these tasty fizzy drinks disagrees with my body chemistry. Cue the violins.
The internet will tell you how to duplicate the taste of cola beverages in a complicated manner. I am not interested in exactitude, nor in detailed and complicated instructions. When I want a fast and easy “cola” fix, I whip up today’s simple recipe.
I remember several things about cola drinks. Fizziness is number one. Then there is that peppery bite that tickles the tongue. Acidic citrus adds to the ideal faux cola drink.
Fizzy and citrus are easy with lemon or lime flavored seltzer. My favorite hot sauce is sriracha. I snagged a large bottle before a shortage limited stocks. This miracle flavor booster lasts for months in the fridge. Balsamic reduction syrup (called balsamic glaze) needs a permanent spot in your kitchen. Use this tart-sweet sauce to give salads a smile and beverages a kick. Furthermore, the molasses color tricks the eye into thinking your chilled drink really is cola.
The basic recipe pulls together balsamic reduction (glaze), hot sauce and citrus seltzer. To my palate this is plenty sweet, but if you want a diet soda facsimile, add a tiny sprinkle of powdered pure stevia. Recent news bits delivered bad news for all you fans of artificial sweeteners. Stevia is, fortunately, a natural and plant based option that will make you feel virtuous.
Our Copycat Cola Beverage is alcohol-free, but addition of spirits will make for an interesting cocktail.
Copycat Cola Beverage
recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company
makes one 12 ounce beverage
1 ½ tablespoons balsamic glaze
¾ -1 teaspoon hot sauce – best is sriracha
12 ounces chilled citrus seltzer – lemon or lime best
optional : powdered pure stevia
In tall glass or container, stir together balsamic glaze, hot sauce (¾ teaspoon gives a good kick and the full teaspoon is for the brave) and a few tablespoons seltzer with spoon. Mix slowly and carefully so carbonation of seltzer is not lost. Gradually add rest of seltzer and serve over ice. If you like the taste of diet beverages, or you prefer more sweetness, add a few grains of pure powdered stevia to taste.