Liquor and its accoutrements long ago departed their pedestrian moorings for a more refined territory: We’re now desensitized to — if not quite accepting of — the idea of $1 ice cubes, while whiskey bars have given the brown stuff more cachet than a bottle of Chateau d’Yquem. Now, soda has entered the fray, thanks in part to Fort Greene’s Aqualis Grill. As owner Ani Papa explains, his decision to make homemade soda was a way to further personalize the restaurant’s service “rather than accepting what big companies are offering.” Such as, for example, high-fructose corn syrup. Papa is currently making Aqualis’ rosewater lemonade and watermelon soda, both of which are sweetened with natural cane sugar, employ Boylan seltzer water for carbonation, and are made with fresh lemons and watermelons, respectively. No special machinery, save for a juicer, is involved; although DIY seltzer fiends can buy seltzer kits to make the stuff at home, Papa says he’s not yet ready to make that kind of investment. Guess bartenders aren’t the only ones afraid of commitment.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 16, 2009