You want something to drink, but you don’t want to drink – not alcohol, anyway.
You know the drill at most restaurants: You can order a round of one of the usual suspects (Coke, Pepsi, etc.). You can settle for iced tea. You can ask for water.
Or, you can hope you landed at one of a handful of places that are making their own house sodas. Places like Kindred in Davidson, where general manager Blake Pope creates a new soda every few weeks from local ingredients, or Dogwood Southern Table, where bar manager Brian Lorusso is making ginger beer and shrubs from fresh ginger.
You could stop by Not Just Coffee at 7th Street Public Market for an Italian soda made from seasonal syrups, like grapefruit-mint, plum-allspice or cinnamon-orange. Or at Heist on North Davidson, where they serve housemade root beer and ginger beer they also use in recipes.
At Free Range Brewing on North Davidson Street, you don’t have to get a beer: Using local-ingredient concentrates created by Cleveland County farmer Jamie Swofford, Free Range offers sparkling sodas in flavors like blackberry ginger, muscadine rose and sumac hybiscus ginger.
Here are the housemade sodas we found:
131 N. Main St., Davidson, 980-231-5000, open lunch and dinner; closed Sundays and Mondays.
Seasonal sodas made with local ingredients that change every few weeks. Currently: Ginger honey switchel with muscadine. “It was a refreshing thing to throw back when you’re hot,” Pope says.
4905 Ashley Park Lane (behind Whole Foods), 704-910-4919, open for lunch and brunch Sunday-Friday, dinner daily.
Housemade ginger beer, plus shrubs and flavored syrups that change seasonally.
“There’s nothing worse when you’re at a bar and three people are drinking and the fourth is not, like she’s pregnant. And she’ll say, “I’ll just have water,'” Lorusso says. “I love to be able to say, ‘Let me make you something fun.’
“To see the change of expression on their face is so much fun.”
2320 N. Davidson St., 980-201-9096, closed Monday-Wednesday.
On-tap sodas made with local-ingredient concentrates from Shelby farmer Jamie Swofford.
“He really gets these flavor profiles, and he understands our needs for how it’s served,” says Jason Alexander of Free Range. “They’re all delicious. It’s hard for us not to drink them all.”
2909 N. Davidson St., 704-375-8260, open daily.
Housemade root beer and ginger beer.
Not Just Coffee in 7th Street Public Market
224 E. Seventh St., open daily.
Sodas only offered at 7th Street, but may be added later at the Atherton Market location. Italian-style sodas made from housemade seasonal syrups topped with sparkling water.
Photos: Charlotte Observer file; Kathleen Purvis; John D. Simmons/Charlotte Observer