Lemon Leaf Soda is unlike anything I have made (or bought) before! The flavor is very herbal and has hints of citrus blossom fragrance. There is a tiny bit of bitterness that makes it a great stand-in for an all-natural tonic water in cocktails, too. I think you will love it!
1. Bring a pot with a gallon of water to a boil. Add your washed lemon leaves, add a cover, and steep overnight.
2. Strain the “tea” from the leaves, and mix in the honey or sugar, lemon juice, and starter culture. You want it sweet, but nothing crazy. Keep in mind that the sugars here will be digested to make the fizz you’re after, so you want it a bit sweeter than your end product. We like our drinks to be barely-sweet, so this is very individual.
3. Pour all of this liquid into glass containers or demijohns. Cover loosely, or add an airlock, and put it in your cupboard or another place that it won’t be disturbed.
4. Wait. Taste. Wait. I made a couple of smaller batches and one larger, and the small ones fermented more quickly. There’s something about the compounds in the lemon leaves that makes them ferment much more slowly than other types of soda I have made before. Be patient, it could take up to a month, depending on heat and other conditions. The upside is that this lemon leaf soda seems to be much more stable than fruit sodas, that can quickly over-ferment and become way to fizzy or too dry. I’ve kept bottles of lemon leaf soda in the fridge for months and months, without and they just get better! When it’s a barely sweeter than you want your final product, pour the soda into swing-top (grolsch-style) bottles and let it sit for another week or two, to develop some good fizz. You must use this kind of bottle— it could explode otherwise.
6. When your bottles of lemon leaf soda are ready, just store in the fridge or in a cool place.