Georgian Tarragon Soda (Tarkhun) is a refreshing drink with a touch of anise flavor, perfect for a hot summer day. Recently, I hosted a birthday party for our Georgian friend, and made this Georgian tarragon soda as a special treat. I learned of tarragon soda a number of years ago, but didn’t realize how easy it was to make at home until recently.
I became intrigued with Georgian cuisine starting in 2012 when I was treated to a Georgian New Year feast by our Georgian friend. Our friend introduced us to many traditional Georgian dishes, including Spinach Walnut Dip, Eggplant Walnut Dip, and Chicken with Walnut Sauce. We also tasted Georgian tarragon soda which came in a bottle and was a bright green color, no doubt due to artificial coloring.
The taste of tarragon soda is unique, nothing like any other drink I’ve had. It has a bit of anise flavor, and is light and refreshing. Our Georgian friend was excited to try my homemade Georgian Tarragon Soda and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Making tarragon soda is fairly simple, but requires a bit of planning ahead. First, fresh tarragon, anise seeds (you can substitute fennel seeds), and lemon peel are cooked briefly in a simple syrup mixture. Then, this mixture is blended, refrigerated, and strained.
Fresh lemon juice is then added to the tarragon sugar syrup, and this becomes the base for tarragon soda. Keep the tarragon sugar syrup refrigerated until you’re ready to make the tarragon soda.
To make the tarragon soda, a few tablespoons of tarragon sugar syrup is poured into a glass with ice. Then soda water is poured on top. Stir and serve.
Georgian Tarragon Soda
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 bunch fresh tarragon
- 1 teaspoon aniseed or fennel seeds
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- seltzer water
In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water until sugar dissolves.
Add tarragon, aniseed, lemon zest, baking soda, and a pinch of kosher salt. Boil 1 minute, then let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to blender with 1/2 cup ice and blend until smooth. Refrigerate at least 1 hour, then strain.
Stir in lemon juice. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
When ready to serve, fill each glass with ice, add 2 ounces of tarragon sugar syrup. Top off with seltzer water.
Adapted from Milk Street magazine.