Pop Stars: Restaurants Craft House-made Sodas

If you’re looking for sodas on Founding Farmer’s menu, look in the Farmacy section.

That’s where the Potomac, Maryland, restaurant lists its house-made scratch sodas like lemon-lime, hibiscus, and vanilla, as well as New York egg creams, a Manhattan-style pop perked up with coffee and espresso, and a rotating cast of old fashioned phosphates.

The only commercially produced options are Coke and Diet Coke, which are not as popular here as their multibillion dollar advertising campaigns would lead you to guess.

Chief mixologist Jon Arroyo—you could call him the other king of pop—estimates that his handmade bubblers account for 70 percent of all soda sales.

Over at Washington, D.C.’s modernist Italian hot spot Elisir, seasonally inspired house-made sodas like rosemary-pear and strawberry-rhubarb sell at a three-to-one ratio compared to their commercial counterparts.

General manager Justin Kraemer oversees the pop program, which he views as an extension of the restaurant’s craft bar approach and a philosophical obligation.

“It’s a cop out to sell mainstream sodas if you have the ability and knowledge to make something better,” he says.

Finish reading this story on the Restaurant Management website now.


Pop Stars – Restaurants will fill your cup with fizzy fruit juice and herbs

A new trend is bubbling up: Restaurants are making their own sodas in-house, without the high-fructose corn syrup, the preservatives or the weird additives you usually gulp. Cool off this summer by ordering up one of these refreshments — in sizes even New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg would approve of.

Founding Farmers

From-scratch sodas are so popular at this farm-to-table restaurant’s Potomac location that they outsell Coke and Diet Coke combined. Chief mixologist Jon Arroyo wants to drop commercial colas entirely, so he’s been working on his own version for more than a year. “It’s the hardest soda to make,” he says. “Just think of all the artisanal colas you like. There probably aren’t any.” The good news is he’s already nailed the pineapple pop ($5), which includes a squirt of lime juice and fresh mint. 12505 Park Potomac Ave., Potomac, Md.; 301-340-8783.

Finish reading this article on the Express website now.


Drink Local: A trip through carbonation country


It might twist your cap to learn that the mid-Atlantic region, like others around the country, has a rich history with soft drinks. Mountain Dew was first marketed in Marion, Va., while old-time favorite Frostie root beer was born in Catonsville, Md.

These days, there are still a number of sodas being produced within a reasonable drive of the District, so I decided to round up the best ones to find out how they measured up to the national brands.

This proved to be harder than anticipated. After visiting Whole Foods in Silver Spring, Safeway in Petworth, Harris Teeter in Adams Morgan, Magruder’s in Chevy Chase, Shoppers in Takoma Park, 7-Eleven in Manor Park and both Rodman’s and World Market in Friendship Heights, I had just five bottles to show for my efforts: Old Dominion root beer, Harris Teeter root beer, Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer, Rock Creek Cherry Smash and Boylan’s black cherry.

Read my full reviews of all the sodas over on the Washington Post‘s All We Can Eat blog.