Homemade Cream Soda
Yields: 1 cup syrup
1 cup pure cane sugar
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups hot water
1 vanilla bean, split and seed scraped
2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
2-inch piece fresh lemon zest
Very cold club soda or seltzer water
1.Combine the sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a medium nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook, without stirring, until the sugar becomes a deep amber color, about 8 minutes.
2. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the 1 1/2 cups hot water, mixture will bubble up slightly, so be careful. Return the pan over high heat and whisk until the mixture becomes smooth, add the vanilla seeds and bean, ginger and zest, bring to a boil and cook until reduced by half, remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
3. Transfer the mixture (along with the vanilla bean, zest, ginger) to a container with a tight fitting lid and let sit in the refrigerator until cold and thickened, at least 4 hours. The longer the syrup sits, the more intense the flavor. Strain mixture before using and discard the vanilla bean, ginger and zest.
4. Fill tall glasses with ice cubes, add 1/4 cup of syrup to the glass and fill to top with soda or seltzer.