Acid Phosphate is a cool ingredient to work with since it provides a pure sour taste without added flavours, like the oils in lemon or lime contribute. It also enhances flavours because it contains salts of calcium, potassium and magnesium. This means it can either crank up the flavour profile of a strong drink or enhance a more delicate flavour, like honey.
Having moved out to the country I have taken to doing things, like beekeeping. Why? Because I can and I’m just a curious person. The thing with bees is that they produce a lot of honey. A single, healthy hive can produce 100 to 200 lbs of honey in a season. That’s a lot more honey than the bees need to survive the winter, so in exchange for building them the hive, doing the maintenance, being their healthcare practitioner and advocating on their behalf, they pay rent in the form of honey.
So what does one do with all of this honey? If you are me, you try to make a drink out of it. The honey produced in this area is light with a pleasant floral aroma and a mild acidity. There are a number of honey based cocktails, like the Air Mail and Bees Knees, but I’ve never found the combination of honey and lemon or lime to work well, it always seems that the honey is overpowered by the citrus flavour. This is where the neutral Acid Phosphate flavour comes in handy.
Though honey, soda and Acid Phosphate makes a refreshing drink, it lacks the complex kick that many people have come to love about modern cocktail culture. The solution is to add a complimentary flavour or a touch of alcohol. Obviously gin would work well, but I’d recommend a lighter style of gin. G’Vine seems to be an obvious choice here. Vodka would also work as the neutral flavour won’t obscure the delicate honey flavour of the drink.
As for complimentary flavours, essential oils and floral waters are a good way to go. If you want to make a floral type soda, try using lavender, chamomile or rose. To make a floral syrup:
Take 1 oz of essential oil dissolved in one pint of alcohol (essence).
Then take 1 oz of the essence and add to a 1 quart of simple syrup.
Soda syrup was typically 3 parts sugar to 2 parts water. In my case I’m using honey instead of sugar.
Sticking with the honey theme, I decided to make a Honey Myrtle (melaleuca teretifolia) syrup. Honey Myrtle is native to Australia and the key essential oil in it is Citral (80% to 90%), which is a major component of lemon grass and lemon verbena. It is a minor component in lemons and limes. The aroma has elements of lemon grass and a unique honey aroma, hence it’s name. Oddly, citral is a component of a pheromone that bees release to communicate, so it seems appropriate to make a honey based drink.
I’ve made some modifications to the syrup since the Honey Myrtle essential oil is rather potent, I used half the normal amount. I also reduced the size of the recipe for convenience. Always feel free to adjust your recipe to suit your tastes. You could substitute lemon grass essential oil and get similar results.
Honey Myrtle Essence
¼ oz Honey Myrtle Essential Oil
½ pint Vodka (72% abv)
Honey Myrtle Syrup
¼ oz Honey Myrtle Essence
8 oz Honey Syrup (3 parts honey : 2 parts water)
Honey Myrtle Phosphate
1 oz Honey Myrtle Syrup
7 oz Soda Water (ice cold)
4 dashes Acid Phosphate
Fill an 8 oz glass with 7 oz of soda water and then add the syrup, Phosphate and stir gently. This is also know as serving still.
Honey is not very colourful and neither are essential oils so for visual effect you can use a fancy glass, or make a tincture of saffron or turmeric and vodka and use that to give the drink a bright, all natural, yellow colour.
Writer, author of Fix the Pumps, chemist, beekeper and general do-er-of-things, Darcy can generally be found looking for new and interesting things to do, usually over a cocktail. Currently working on more soda fountain history.