For those who are looking to change up their soda routine, instead of spending tons on fancy flavored seltzers, make yourself an Italian soda. Clocking in at just two ingredients, Italian soda starts with syrup: You could go with store-bought fruit, coffee, or chocolate syrup, but the best way to nail a potent Italian soda is to make your own.
Bring a simple mixture of sugar, water, and fruit (here we’ve used raspberries, orange peel, and blackberries) to a boil, then let it cool and thicken slightly. Pour an ounce or two of the fragrant syrup into a glass, then top with plain ol’ selzer. If you’re feeling fancy, add a splash of cream to the glass as well. Technically that’ll change the drink into a French soda, but it won’t alter the killer flavor.
DIY Italian Soda
Photo by Alex Tepper
1 cup water
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup washed fruit (if using stone fruit, peeled and sliced; if using citrus, use only the peel)
How to Make It
Mix the water, sugar, and fruit together in a medium saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring to ensure the sugar dissolves.
After the syrup boils, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
Pour the syrup over a fine mesh sieve balanced over a bowl and let the syrup strain on its own. You’re going to want to press down on the fruit to drain out every last drop of moisture (and I know, mushing things is just plain fun) but resist the urge. Larger bits of fruit pulp will make the syrup cloudy, which isn’t what we’re going for here. Instead, save that mushy fruit for spooning over yogurt or blending into a smoothie.
After the strained simple syrup has cooled a bit, fill a glass halfway with ice. Spoon in syrup until it just barely covers the ice. Fill the glass with very fizzy seltzer and swirl just a bit with a spoon. If you’d like to turn the Italian soda into a French soda (also known as an Italian cream soda), pour a bit less seltzer into the glass and top the drink with a splash of heavy cream.