Now maybe lavender soda is a staple in other parts of the US or Britain and I will get comments telling me that people there have been tossing back lavender soda for ages, but it was new to me. A company called Dry Soda Co. produces the stuff out of Seattle and they sell it at one of my local supermarkets. Which, being three thousand miles away from Seattle, gives you an idea of how successful this home kitchen start-up has become.
Admittedly lavender isn’t an obvious first choice for soda, and if you live in my neck of the woods, you have to defend your soda selections carefully since New York Mayor Bloomberg has got a bunch of ads running on local television reminding people in a forceful fashion of the horrors of unrestrained sugar ingestion. The campaign features citizens being doused with all the packets of sugar that their soda contains. You’re supposed to recoil in horror and say, “Goodness! I hadn’t the foggiest notion that soda has that much sugar in it!”, and presumably go cold turkey or else turn to the methadone of stevia.
Someone is exhibiting a touching naivete, and it just might be the mayor. That is, if he thinks he can stand between New Yorkers and their sugar rushes.
But to return to the lavender version of this particular vice- it has cane sugar rather than high fructose corn syrup, and is 70 calories a bottle. I can live with that, even if Mayor Bloomberg can’t since, unlike the Worshipful, I accept that all things must pass, including life spans.
The soda is quite dry as advertised, and has a decidedly delicate flavor. It is somewhere in between ginger ale and lavender, with just enough lavender surfacing to give it a distinctly floral tone, but not enough to make you feel you are gargling with Pour un Homme. There are hints that it might make a good mixer for those who like to concoct adventurous cocktails. Lavender soda might make a good partner for gin, but my mind runs along lines of Lavender shortbread paired with it (more sugar) or possibly a scoop of lavender ice cream so as to make a lavender float (even more sugar and some saturated fat).
It would make a delicate alternative to iced tea in the South, and an excellent partner for lemon meringue pie (still more sugar, so much as to press the panic button in NYC). I know that it goes well with Mexican food, because I’m in the habit of messing about with tamales and tacos, and my husband makes a very good Mole sauce and I’ve enjoyed the combination. (I thought I was clever to think of food parings, but apparently that was the entire point of the enterprise.)
Altogether, it is a find, and although it may not be a favorite of lavender avoiders – and there seem to be many of you out there – you should still try lavender in food. It does pick up certain things nicely, baked goods for instance, and might be good in ratatouille along with fennel seed and Sambuca (my personal additions). Perhaps if the mayor comes to call, I’ll offer him a nice glass?
(Full disclosure – I have no connection with the company or anyone in it, or frankly, with the city of Seattle. I just like the product.)