Slightly sweet, fizzy, and fragrant, modern gazoz are farmers’ market-inspired sodas that have become a cult favorite in Tel Aviv, Israel. These bubbly beverages were born out of hospitality traditions of the Middle East, where guests are offered an assortment of refreshments when visiting someone at home. In recent years, commercially produced syrups of the past have been set aside in favor of homemade syrups diluted with carbonated water and infused with aromatic herbs.
1. Fruit Syrup
Simmering fresh fruit in water and sugar makes the base of this beverage and is a great way to use up peak or past-prime fruits. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 cup of water and stir until sugar dissolves.
Add 1½ cups of seasonal fruits like whole berries or grapes, or wedges of stone fruit, lower heat, and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat, let cool, transfer to an airtight container, and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
2. Carbonated Water
Carbonated water is the main ingredient in this refreshment and can change the overall flavor of the drink. Club soda includes added minerals for a slightly salty note, while seltzer offers a pure water taste. A naturally carbonated option like sparkling mineral water is great if you have a favorite brand. Or choose tonic water, which has added minerals, sugar, and quinine, for a slightly bitter finish.
3. Herbs and Edible Flowers
Herbs and their blossoms infuse the soda with heady flavors, deliver a floral aroma with every sip, and create a stunning presentation. Look to the farmers’ market for seasonal inspiration and select bunches of fresh sage, basil, oregano, thyme, and lavender and their blossoms. Pick an assortment of herbs for one-of-a-kind aromatic blends in every cup.
To make the gazoz, pour 3 tablespoons of fruit syrup and spoon a few pieces of the steeped fruit into a tall glass. Top with 8 ounces of carbonated water and tuck in a handful of herbs and blossoms (a shot of gin or vodka works for an adult twist). Finish with a straw and extra garnishes such as green almonds or fresh fruit.
These are not your typical sodas. Fresh and macerated fruit add flavor while edible flowers and fresh herbs create the aromas of a garden in your glass. As beautiful as they are delicious, these are our new go-to drinks for summer entertaining.