Our kumquat trees have been so prolific this season that I thought it was time for me to experiment and re-create my favorite soda, Orangina, from scratch. In France, Orangina is a very popular sparkling beverage made from tangerine and oranges. I've tried making this with oranges in the past, but the citrus flavors weren't strong enough to resemble the famous drink. Since kumquats have a unique, strong, lemony flavor, I gave the fruit a try.
I've made homemade soda drink in the past, using dry active yeast (I'll post the recipe this summer) but unfortunately because of the cold weather (I assume), after 3-4 days, the fizz didn't happen. So I re-made it using carbonated water. Because the process is immediate, you'll be able to enjoy a delicious soft drink right away. The soda is very flavorful and has a striking orange color -not the radioactive hue of artificial orange drinks-. If you can find kumquats at your local market, give this a try. Your taste buds will thank you!
Servings: 8 servings
40 kumquats, + extra for garnish
½ cup water
1 cup superfine sugar (or granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
juice of 1 lemon
2 cups ice cubes
1-½ quarts club soda (or any carbonated water)
Prepping the kumquats: Slice the fruits in half and separate the flesh from the skin. Reserve the rind (for making marmalade). Gather all the pulp into a blender and pulse 2-3 times until coarsely chopped.
Prepping the tangerines:
Peel 1 tangerine and divide it in half. Remove the membrane wall on one side around a segment. Apply a little pressure on the segment with your thumb to separate the segment along the next membrane (you could also use a paring knife but don't cut the fruit; use the knife as a separator). Loosen and free the segment and gently pull it away from the fruit, removing all the membrane. Repeat and remove the rest of the segments. This technique releases and spills less juice. Transfer the tangerine segments with as much as juice as possible into a bowl. Using a mortar and pestle, pound the pulp into a paste. I gathered 1-½ ounces of tangerine pulp. Set aside.
Juice the rest of the tangerines. Be sure to remove the pulp, using a strainer (reserve the pulp for the syrup). Place the tangerine juice in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle simmer for a bit less than 5 minutes. The liquid should reduce to about 1-2 tablespoons of tangerine juice. Remove from the heat. Add lemon juice.
Infusing the syrup: In a saucepan, combine the sugar, corn syrup, the pulsed kumquats, reserved pulp from juicing the tangerines and ½ cup water. Bring to a full boil, then lower to a simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from the stove and cool completely (about 60-90 minutes).
Filtering: Strain the liquid through a medium-mesh sieve. Discard the solids.
When you're ready to serve, combine the syrup, concentrated tangerine juice with lemon juice, reserved 1-½ ounces of tangerine pulp and ice cubes. Add club soda.
Slice fresh kumquats for decoration.
Stir well. Serve over ice in decorated glasses; top with a slice of fresh kumquats on the rim of the glass. Stir and enjoy with tea cakes or cookies.
Time to relax!
This recipe yields 2 quarts of soft drink.
I prefer using superfine sugar. It's fine-grained sugar and it dissolves much more quickly than the regular granulated kind.
I made a tangerine-kumquat marmalade with the reserved rind of the fruit. I'll post the recipe soon.
I used club soda but you could use seltzer water (no salt added).
Note: This is NOT the official secret recipe, but it's pretty close (with less fizz though) to the original famous drink originated in Algeria in 1936.
In my opinion, the taste of Orangina sold in America isn't the same as the one sold in France; the French one tastes so much better.
Et juste pour le plaisir, les pubs TV Orangina ont bercé mon enfance. J'adore! "Il faut bien secouer sinon la pulpe, elle reste en bas!" (You should shake it well; otherwise the pulp remains at the bottom).