Sometimes I come across a recipe that I just have to make. Usually it’s full of sugar, cheese or something else that’s going straight to my thighs (damn you delicious food!). Such was the case with this Cucumber Basil Soda. It sounded unbelievably refreshing and seemed pretty easy to make. And aside from the simple syrup, it’s not super bad for you unlike regular sodas. It comes from one of my favorite restaurants, California Pizza Kitchen. I’m a big fan of CPK and when a brand new restaurant opened up right by my house, you know I had to check it out and eat all the things.
If you haven’t heard of the Next Chapter menu, or know about the changes that are happening to the CPK (or you may know it as California Pizza Kitchen) restaurants you need to go check it out for yourself. While the interior design of the locations are being updated with gorgeous woods, metal touches and a fresh, California feel, the menu has also gotten some updating. Of course your old favorites can still be found, but the restaurant group is really moving towards fresh, seasonal inspired dishes. There are yummy new salads, heartier steak and fish dishes, and a lovely section of small plates that are perfect for happy hour. This Brussels Sprouts and Bacon flatbread is my favorite. I’ve had it no less than 6 times in the past month and a 1/2. Take that, cellulite.
I’ve had CPK cookbooks in the past. But the recipes always had way too many steps for me to try to make them at home. This book, Taste of the Seasons, is different. Its focus is on the seasonal recipes like the ones that are rolling out in the restaurants. These seem SO much easier to make and I’m totally capable of making these for myself at home. (P.S. the Brussels Sprouts flatbread recipe is also in here. That’s on my weekend agenda…while the cucumber basil soda is not found in the restaurants). The Cucumber Basil Soda is the perfect thing to serve guests. It would be an unexpected addition to a bar set up and could easily be turned in to a cocktail with the addition of gin or vodka. Fresh cucumber slices and basil are used to create a flavorful simple syrup. Why is making flavored simple syrups so fun??Once the simple syrup is made, strain out the solids and let it chill. Just mix it with cold club soda and you have a refreshing beverage to kick your feet up with.
My kids loved this! The flavors were not overpowering and not something you usually find in soda. This would be the perfect thing to serve at a baby shower, bridal shower, spa day or just because. Scroll down to get the full recipe.The cocktails at CPK also feature seasonal recipes and fresh ingredients. Hurry in to taste the blood orange sangria before it’s gone! I wanted to drink buckets of it when I tried it. These more craft inspired cocktails are delicious, super well-balanced and totally tasty. I didn’t expect to like the California Roots cocktail as much as I did considering one of the main ingredients is avocado. But it was crazy good. The fennel salt rim absolutely makes this drink. Don’t be afraid! Try it on your next visit.
The updated decor features rustic woods and has an earthy, masculine feel. The whole vibe is fresh and perfectly matches the new menu items. The new CPK is a new, old favorite for my family. I can’t wait to try to make more of these recipes as home! P.S. the cookbook mentioned above is available for purchase in each location and would make a GREAT gift!
Cucumber Basil Soda
This delicious mocktail is refreshing and perfect for the summer months!
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 medium cucumber thinly sliced
- 12 large basil leaves
- 9 cups of soda water chilled ice
- cucumber slices and fresh basil leaves for garnish
In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water over medium heat.
Cook, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved and mixture just comes to a boil, about 5 minutes.
In a small bowl muddle the cucumber and basil leaves with the back of a wooden spoon.
Add to the hot syrup.
Cover and let steep for 30 minutes.
Strain the syrup, pressing the solids through a fine-mesh strainer to release the flavors.
For each serving, combine 3 tablespoons of the syrup with ¾ cup soda water in an ice-filled glass.
Stir gently to combine.
Garnish with cucumber slices and a basil leaf.
Note: Cucumber-basil syrup can be stored in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
(I don't love super sweet drinks so I cut the sugar to 1/2 cups with 1 cup of water and it was still a smidge on the sweeter side for me)
I was invited to the restaurant to try out the new menu items. All opinions are my own. Recipe provided by CPK.