Real talk: paper straws might be the cutest ever for photographing, but they absolutely disintegrate in your drink after about 5 minutes. Not cool.
This is less of a recipe and more like guidelines for any sort of delicious summery soda combination you choose. All you need is some compote, simple syrup, sparkling water, and maybe a little booze if you're going the disco route. You could even use jam instead of compote, but you'll want to be cautious since jam is already pretty sweet.
Simple syrup might be my new favorite thing to make because there are SO. MANY. variations to be made. For this, I used lemongrass and mint (inspired by iamafoodblog), but you can honestly use whatever you want. In addition to the lemongrass mint syrup, I've also made cherry vanilla syrup, plum thyme syrup, peach syrup, and plain simple syrup so far this summer. It keeps really well in the fridge, as long as it's in an airtight container. I store mine in labeled Ball jars. For simple syrup, I find the 1:1 ratio of sugar to water works pretty well. You bring the sugar and water to a boil, and then remove it from the heat to cool. If you're using sturdier flavoring agents like lemongrass, stone fruits, vanilla bean, woodier herbs (rosemary, for example), citrus zest, etc., you can add them to the pot with the sugar and water. For more delicate things like fragile herbs (mint, basil, etc), you'll want to add them to the pot after you remove it from the heat, and only for a limited time (about 15 minutes or so). Strain your syrup once it's cool, particularly if you're using fruit that has broken up during the cooking process.
For the compote, all you really need to do is cook some fruit over low heat until it softens enough to be syrupy. You can either leave it so there are chunks of fruit, or you can puree it for a smooth compote. I sometimes add citrus zest or a squeeze of lemon juice to my compote, but I almost never sweeten it unless it desperately needs it.
To make the mint sugar, just blitz some fresh mint with a few tablespoons of sugar in a food processor. Voila! Mint sugar. So easy. Would you judge me if I told you I might've eaten some of the leftover mint sugar by itself? Shhh.
To assemble: moisten (ew) the rim of your glass and dip in mint sugar. Add some ice cubes to the glass, then some simple syrup and compote (and booze, if you'd like). You can also add a bit of lemon, lime, or grapefruit juice if you feel so inclined, depending on what flavor profile you're going for. Top off with sparkling water, taste, and add more of anything if you need to.