I am a barista and a grad student, so coffee is something that I have a lot of very often both at and outside of work. And I love it. I absolutely love trying new drinks out, but as with many attempts to be unique, they don't all work out. So when my friend over at Counter Culture told me that this was the best iced coffee drink he's had, my interest was piqued and I actually immediately got into my car and drove over.
The Durham is a beautiful historic hotel in downtown Durham, not at all where you'd expect to go just to enjoy a coffee drink. However, their bar offers a ton of interesting drinks. Enter the coffee soda. They start with a weighed out portion of their housemade syrup consisting of: cold brewed coffee concentrate (that's all cold brew is anyways, fyi), vanilla bean, a little bit of simple syrup, and some lemon zest. Then, they just add the seltzer, ice, and lemon garnish. It is truly a phenomenal drink. The sweetness of the vanilla bean complements the acidity and sourness of the lemon zest, while the simple syrups helps to smoothen the very slight bitterness of the cold brew in the mixture. And, of course, the seltzer adds a fun mouth feel to the mix.
I have never had a better coffee beverage in my life; cold or hot. It was so smooth and flavorful. It completely blew me away, even having been told that it was great. I would, without hesitation, keep my fridge stocked with this if they sold it. It is the epitome of a Bigtime drink.