A couple weeks ago while enjoying a gorgeous meal at Cascadia while perusing the wine list I spotted a beverage option on the menu that peaked my interest. Dry Soda read the listing.
What are these?, I asked our server. Are they new? Who makes them? "They are a local company, based in Tacoma. Brand new to the market. These are being served at a few restaurants and high end hotels in the city. They are delicious. Try one. You'll love it."
So I did. I debated between the Lemongrass, Lavender, Rhubarb and Kumquat, eventually choosing the latter. A few minutes after that the very same server came back to the table with a tray, a bottle and a champagne flute.
She opened the bottle and poured the aromatic and sparking liquid while I observed the light fizzle raise on the glass.
I reached for the flute, brought it closer to my nose, inhaled and got a whiff of fresh, crisp and delightful Kumquat peel scent, the kind that brought back menorie of a few months back when my kitchen was infused with the fragrance of these tiny orange gems, during my Kumquat Compote exercise.
What followed was the proverbial icing on the cake: a small sip of this crystal clear drink with its elegant and tiny bubbles was enough to make me close my yes and sigh. Lovely! Just the right pairing for my meal and something I definitely needed to have seconds of.
When I returned home I Googled the name on the bottle and found a company website with a bit of information. The next morning I went looking for Dry Soda at a nearby grocer.
I also emailed Dry Soda to try to find out a bit more information on where to buy their product in the city and on any recommended pairings.
Sure enough, just a few hours later there was a very kind email from a Dry Soda representative with more scoop.
"DRY Soda was developed specifically to be paired with fine food. We chose natural extracts that had good sensory appeal and worked to get the sweetness level, acidity levels and carbonation levels to the optimum for food pairing -- much like a wine. The sodas are all natural with low levels of pure cane sugar. They range in calories from 50-70. The sodas are sold in white tablecloth restaurants, four star hotels and high end retail locations."
Needless to say I've already tried them all (Kumquat, Lemongrass, Lavender and Rhubarb) and have become quite infatuated with the Rhubarb and Kumquat for obvious reasons, as these happen to be two of my favorite fruits.
These are delicious thinking man sodas and a formidable alternative for non-alcohol drinkers, young diners at the table, for those of us who eschew traditional carbonated drinks and on occasion would rather not drink alcohol (or are taking medications that prevent us from indulging in a bit of wine or champagne) with a fine meal (or bag of popcorn) but still want to partake of a nice beverage with a bit more flavor and personality than the usual offering of imported sparkling water.
Dry Soda is not only very delicate but not overly sweet and with a realy intense and true to the herb or fruit flavor. And at less than 70 calories per bottle these are a fabulous option for those counting calories or wanting to save points for their dessert.
The Georgian Room, Flying Fish, Dahlia Lounge, Lark, Canlis, Crush and The Herbfarm among others are already listing them on their menus.
Larry's Markets and selected QFC shops are selling them too (I found mine on the cold soda section). So stock up on these to serve next week to your guests, drink up and expect many compliments...and a few questions.
By the by, this very young company (les than 14 weeks old) is already planning a Los Angeles launch next December and it would not surprise me at all that Napa/SF and New York will be next.
These beautiful sodas are definitely Thomas Keller worthy!
Sharelle Klaus at Dry Soda recommends the following pairings:
Kumquat -- Kumquat has a very clean citrusy taste with a high acidity this is our most versatile flavor that truly pairs with everything. --But some good pairs include: tuna, various risottos, oysters, sweet leafy greens and roast chicken.
Lemongrass-- Has a dry bright flavor with medium acidity -- Asian inspired dishes, spicy flavors, goat cheese and asparagus all work great with lemongrass.
Rhubarb-- Is our boldest flavor with high acidity and tartness -- this bold taste pairs perfectly with winter vegetables, comfort foods, stews, hamburgers and any beef or veal dish.
Lavender -- This is one of our most popular flavors -- it is floral and low in acidity as well as the sweetest of the sodas. I love to have lavender with desserts of any type. But it does well with roast duck and cheese courses as well.