I was given a bunch of fresh chamomile flowers last week which I put in a glass of water on the counter and had a great time looking at every time I went into the kitchen. Once the flowers started snowing yellow pollen onto the counter, I realized I had to make something out of them before it was too late. I’ve never been a huge fan of chamomile tea and it’s been way too hot out for tea anyway, so I went with a chamomile simple syrup.
At first, I didn’t know what I’d do with the syrup. I tried making a bourbon cocktail with it, but the delicate chamomile flavor was dropkicked by the bourbon. When a craving for a cold, bubbly seltzer hit me, I got the fabulous idea to make a chamomile soda which was a perfect way to let the chamomile shine.
I’ve always been a fan of unique soda flavors. At the New Amsterdam Market in Manhattan a few weeks ago, I tried P&H Soda Co.'s lovage soda. Lovage is an herb that tastes like celery. Celery soda might not sound so great, but it was just sweet enough and just savory enough to be pleasing and refreshing. The fun thing about simple syrup is that you can infuse it with any fresh herb or tea that you can think of. Here’s a simple recipe for your very own homemade chamomile soda. Don’t worry if you can’t find fresh chamomile flowers; you can use chamomile tea bags and get a similar result.
Makes about 2 cups syrup
1 bunch fresh chamomile flowers (or 3 chamomile tea bags)
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
To make the syrup:
1. Add the sugar and water to a small pot over low heat. Stir until all sugar is dissolved and the syrup starts slightly boiling.
2. Turn off the heat, add the chamomile flowers and let the syrup cool to room temperature. Strain the syrup through cheesecloth into a mason jar or bottle. Keep refrigerated and use within 5 days.
To make the soda:
1. Pour your desired amount of syrup into a glass of cold club soda with ice.