by Nate Lumpkin
“Assume Nothing!” A mantra for The Crown as we worked towards opening our doors in March of 2019, the phrase became a Menu section, encouraging our visitors to drop their preconceptions and be open to new and delicious experiences. And now it’s the title of a recipe series, for you to recreate at home. Here’s to a year of assuming nothing!
This is a tart sparkling soda made from the syrup of fresh guavas, served over ice.
Guava is a tropical fruit thought to originate in Central America, particularly Mexico. The fruits are small to medium-sized, with an edible rind, and contain a large number of seeds that are also edible. Its flavor is tart and sweet, like a pear, and has a mild bite, like a pineapple. Guavas are used in a variety of sauces, drinks, candies, and preserves.
Our guavas are sourced from Brokaw Farms, a family-owned ranch in Santa Paula, CA. We had hoped to serve a Passionfruit Soda similar in style to this one in the spring of 2020 and had even frozen a large amount of the juice to hold us over during the early part of lockdown, but on returning to the Crown in July found that our freezers had failed, and we had to throw out all the syrup. Hopefully, this refreshing soda makes up for a little bit of lost time and serves as a pleasant introduction to the warmer months.
- Ripe Guavas cut into thin slices
- Fresh, filtered water to cover the guavas
- Sugar equal to half the volume of water
Combine sliced guavas, water, and sugar. Simmer for half an hour, removing any foam that arises, and stirring occasionally. Pass through a sieve and cheesecloth to remove the solids.
To Make the Soda:
- 1.5 ounces syrup
- 12 ounces sparkling water
Pour the syrup and sparkling water over ice. Stir to incorporate.
First of all, the guavas need to ripen, and you can know when they have a strong sweet smell and are somewhat soft to the touch. They may be dappled yellow or fully yellow. Any hard, green guavas should be allowed to ripen further.
Cut the guavas into thin slices, discarding any discolored parts. Add water to cover, making sure to measure the water beforehand, and then add sugar equal to half the volume of water. We used four quarts of water and two quarts of sugar, but your amount will certainly be different.
Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the mixture simmers gently. Skim off any foam that forms. Simmer for half an hour, stirring occasionally and removing the foam. Don’t worry if you can’t get it all.
Remove from the heat and let cool a bit. Pass the entire mixture through a sieve to filter out the solids. We folded cheesecloth and set it over a large sieve. This will take a little while: feel free to stir the mixture in the cheesecloth to encourage it to filter through and wash the cheesecloth of solids when the mixture begins to clog. Refrigerate until it’s ready to use.