House Made Sodas with Bite’s Very Own, Aerin Miller

A Little Bit About Aerin! 

I’ve been in the service industry for 10+ years, and in the Chicago service industry for the last 8. I’ve had a multitude of jobs and pursuits of interest in that time, ranging from cocktail bars to fast pace courier work in the loop. A lot of my passion falls into advocating for my fellow femme as well as the mental/physical health of my peers. I’ve been working at Bite Cafe for the last 5 (wow! time flies) years, I love the people I have gotten to work with there and am grateful for an opportunity to be creative!

How did you get into making homemade syrups,tonics, sodas, etc.?

Well, through all my years working with beverages, alcoholic or not, I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and curiosity. While bartending I loved playing with old classics and revamping them in my own way. When the idea of creating sodas came up at bite I was bursting with ideas and jumped in with enthusiasm.

What are your favorite flavors to play with right now?                                                             

I love anything botanical. Violet, lavender, rosemary. I recently came up with a Violet Zest soda that was inspired by Chowards Violet candies, which are my absolute favorite and I’m very proud of how it came out. I’m looking forward to incorporating fresh seasonal fruits going into the summer season.

What house made sodas are on the current Bite Menu?                                     

We currently have so many! Hibiscus Punch-created with homemade hibiscus flower syrup, pineapple juice, and tart cherry juice. It is sweet and refreshing, would be great with a nice white rum.Violet Zest- created with fresh squeezed lemon juice, and my Violet syrup! Sweet and tart like sour candy. Super fun, would pair amazingly with a botanical gin or smokey mezcal. Cream Soda-created with vanilla bean syrup, simple and delightful. Great with ice cream. Root Beer-created with clove, orange peel and zest, a little spicy. Also great with ice cream. Ginger Limeade-created with fresh ginger syrup that has just a pinch of cayenne. It can be made with sparkling or still water for a twist. Strawberry Lemonade made with fresh strawberry syrup and fresh lemon juice. We are planning to rotate the fruit with fresh seasonal selections. Will be awesome on a hot summer day.

What are the benefits of house made or small batch sodas?

I love the room for creativity! Combining flavors can turn out in surprising ways and I’ve enjoyed creating things that are surprising and refreshing. I love also getting input and ideas from everyone that I get to work with, I appreciate other palates. The benefit of small batch allows for me to keep all of the syrups and juices at their ideal freshness, which is fantastic when using fresh ingredients to really showcase their flavor. I also have found that guests really like hearing about the process and detail, which is so fun to share!