Ever since the calendar switched over to August, a miraculous thing has happened. Beijing has clean air.
No, really. And honest to goodness blue skies. The city promised clean air for the Olympics, and lo and behold, it actually has been ridiculously clear for the past 3 days. Maybe it's because of fewer cars on the road, or closed factories, or just the luck of 8. Whichever case it may be, I love being able to breath again.
So when the sun is able to shine directly onto the city, the temperatures get just a smidgeon hotter. And when temperatures get hotter, my brain starts to churn out more ideas for cold drinks.
Like this plum and ginger soda. I had seen various recipes for lime and ginger soda, and I did have a bag of ripe plums from the new fruit store down the street. And if plum and ginger make a good sauce for duck, they would surely be find flavors for a soda.
Digression: This aforementioned fruit store, by the way, began renovations last Monday, finished on Thursday, and opened on Friday. The pace of construction in China continues to astound me. I wouldn't be surprised if the owners came up with the business proposal on Sunday.
Back to the soda, which is quite easy to make. The most time consuming part is the 15 minutes you'll spend cooking down the plums and with some ginger slices towards the end, and the 20 minutes or so the liquid takes to cool. Then just strain, top with soda, and serve.
Plum and Ginger Soda
Makes 2 drinks
2 ripe plums, skin on, chopped 3 cups water 1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced 3/4 cup sugar 1 can club soda
Bring water boil. Toss in chopped plums, reduce heat, and simmer until plums are cooked and mushy and the liquid is bright red, about 15 to 20 minutes. In the last 5 minutes of simmering, toss in ginger slices.
Turn off heat and stir in sugar until fully dissolved. Let cool. Strain liquid and discard solids.
Add ice cubes to each glass and fill with plum syrup to two thirds of the way. Top with club soda, give each glass a stir, and serve.