Ferment Pine Needles For A Naturally Delicious Soda Water

The winter holidays are associated with many smells and flavors, from the warm baking spices of fresh gingerbread and cozy mulled wine to the smokiness of a crackling yule log. One of the scents most associated with this time of year, however, is the intoxicating smell of pine. We're here to let you know that you can do more than just indulge in the aroma of evergreens — you can taste them too. Embrace your love of winter by fermenting pine needles to create a unique and bubbly beverage.

Pine needle soda is a beverage made from fermenting white pine needles in water. It is popular among foragers and is often referred to as natural Sprite because of its surprisingly citrusy flavor, along with subtle notes of mint. All you need to do is add white pine needles to a jar or bottle with water and a bit of sugar. The wild yeast that is naturally found on these needles will feed on the sugar and produce carbonation, turning the mixture into a lightly sweet soda water that stimulates the senses.

How to use pine needle soda in drinks

While this soda water can be enjoyed on its own, you can also combine it with a variety of other ingredients to make it an even more delectable beverage. Lemon juice does well to complement the citrusy side of the pine and makes a refreshing twist on lemonade. Meanwhile, mint tea or mint leaves highlight the greener side of the flavor profile, embracing the natural appeal of the drink.

Of course, the botanical nature of this drink also lends itself well to the world of cocktails and spirits. In terms of the best spirit to pair with pine needle soda, our top recommendation would be gin, as its own herbaceous flavor makes for a great partner to this unusual ingredient. More neutral options like vodka are a safe bet as well, or you can lean into the holiday spirit with a warming selection like spiced rum or a fruity, full-bodied red wine.