Italian Soda

A homemade Italian soda is a bright and bubbly drink made with flavored syrups and carbonated water. Quick and delicious, this two-ingredient drink is easy to make and refreshing to sip.

A cranberry Italian soda garnished with a mint sprig on a gray stone coaster.

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Italian Soda recipe

We’ve all heard we should drink more water. Flavored sparkling water has answered the call, but did you know you could make your own flavored sparkling water at home?

It’s called an Italian soda, and this bright and bubbly drink is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to quench your thirst.

Made by mixing any flavored syrup with carbonated water, it’s the perfect drink for any occasion.

Though rooted in Italian cuisine, the Italian soda is very much American. The invention of the soda fountain helped to popularize this unique drink.

Since they can be made with just about any flavored syrup, you’ll find that Italian sodas are incredibly versatile — they are the perfect summer drink! They are also a great non-alcoholic option for those wanting something more interesting than regular water or soda.

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An overhead view of a cranberry Italian soda with crushed ice.

Why you’ll love this recipe

The Italian soda is a delicious drink you can enjoy anytime. You’ll love it because…

  • The Italian Soda has only two ingredients and it’s SO easy to make.
  • It’s a great non-alcoholic drink for kids or non-drinkers.
  • This alternative to regular soda is caffeine-free.
  • You can customize each drink with your favorite flavors and homemade syrups.

Try mixing up a single Italian soda for an afternoon refresher. Or set up an Italian soda bar with many flavor choices for any party, such as a baby shower, bridal shower or birthday party.

What is an Italian soda?

An Italian soda is an iced beverage that adds a sweet, flavored syrup to carbonated water. The result is a bubbly soda with the delicious flavor of your choice.

While you’d think Italian soda was invented in Italy, it was created by syrup-maker Torani in the United States.

In 1925 Torani’s founders, Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre, started selling their hand-crafted syrups in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. The recipes were ones they brought over from Lucca, Italy. Their first flavors were anisette, grenadine, lemon, orgeat and tamarindo.

According to Basta Pasta, the Torres coined the term “Italian soda” for a drink of soda water sweetened with flavored syrup.

Today, Italian sodas can be ordered at coffee shops, soda shops, restaurants and bars as a delicious non-alcoholic drink.

Some popular flavors include vanilla, strawberry, blueberry, and cherry. But you can get creative with less conventional flavors. In addition, the level of sweetness and taste can be customized by adding more or less syrup.

For example, you can make a pumpkin soda with pumpkin spice syrup or a lavender soda with lavender syrup. The possibilities are endless, really.

A gold spoon rests in a bubbly red soda drink on a gray stone coaster.

Italian Soda vs. French Soda

The difference between an Italian soda and a French soda is just one ingredient.

Italian sodas are made with flavored syrup and carbonated water. French sodas follow the same recipe but feature an additional splash of cream.

As such, the French soda is deliciously creamy with a hint of bubbles.

Tools & glassware

You don’t need any fancy equipment to make Italian sodas at home.

You can use a carbonated water maker to make your soda water if you have one. (I have this Phillips soda maker.) If not, feel free to use your favorite sparkling water.

An Italian soda can be made in just about any glass, but a tall glass, such as a highball glass or collins glass, showcases that pretty ombré gradient.

a gold spoon in strawberry syrup

Ingredients

One of the best things about Italian sodas is how easy they are to make. You only need two ingredients to whip up this drink: flavored syrup and carbonated water.

Simple Syrup

For this sweet drink, you can purchase flavored syrups at grocery stores, specialty shops or online.

Torani syrups are the originals, but homemade simple syrups are easy to make with sugar, water and some flavoring.

Start by perfecting plain simple syrup, which is lovely for sweetening iced coffee and iced tea.

Then you can experiment with flavors like chocolate syrup, cinnamon syrup and fruit syrups made with fresh fruit.

You can even make homemade syrups that mimic store-bought sodas, like cola syrup and ginger ale concentrate.

a bottle of fever tree club soda

Carbonated water

Carbonated water goes by many names, including soda water, club soda, seltzer water, fizzy water and sparkling water.

They’re pretty much the same — just water with bubbles. So if you have a favorite brand or type of carbonated water, start there.

But if you want something really Italian, try San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water.

You can either use plain sparkling water or try flavored fizzy water to create your own flavor combinations.

There’s also tonic water (which you may have heard of in the gin & tonic). It has a slightly bitter flavor but would be fun to experiment with in an Italian soda.

How to make Italian Soda

With just two ingredients, the Italian soda is super easy to whip up.

Cranberry syrup drips from above into a glass of ice. A gold spoon and shiny blue straw sit to one side of the glass while a mint sprig sits to the other.

Add your syrup to a glass of ice.

Soda water is poured over cranberry syrup and ice in a glass with mint sprigs and a metallic blue straw sitting around the base.

Then pour some carbonated water on top — and voila! You have a delicious drink that’s easy to make and perfect for any occasion.

Give it s a gentle stir with a bar spoon or straw to distribute the syrup and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the glass.

Add a colorful paper straw, fresh berries, a lime wedge or fresh herbs to make it look more impressive.

A red and a yellow Italian soda sit on gray stone coasters garnished with mint sprigs.

Tips & tricks

Always put the ice in the glass first. Next, add the syrup and then pour the soda on top. If you add ice last, you risk the drink bubbling over the glass. Adding the syrup last will make it more difficult to distribute evenly, but you can always give it a stir.

Dress them up with fancy ice cubes if you like. This will give them a sophisticated look, but the drink will smell amazing as the ice melts. A few ideas:

Variations and substitutions

The beauty of the Italian soda is how versatile it is! Try one of these variations:

French soda: Adding a splash of milk or a bit of heavy cream makes it a French soda, but you could also call this an Italian cream soda recipe.

Italian Soda with more/less sweetness: Use less syrup when making an Italian Soda.

Ice cream float: Turn your Italian soda into a float by adding a scoop of ice cream.

Non-carbonated soda: If carbonation bothers you, use distilled water to make non-carbonated flavored water.

Sugar-free Italian soda: Use sugar-free syrups to make your Italian soda.

Two soda drinks, one red and one yellow, sit side by side. Mint sprigs and a gold spoon sit on the white surface as well.

Italian Soda Flavors

With so many different flavored, sweet syrups out there, you can customize these easy drinks to your heart’s content.

Here are a few different flavors to try:

You can also experiment with mixing two or three syrups to create unique flavor combinations. Herbal and savory syrups like jalapeño syrup and sage syrup are a nice match for sweet ones.

Or ask your local coffee shop barista to suggest a flavor, especially if they make their own syrup flavors in-house.

Have a different combo you love for this tasty concoction? Comment below — we’d love to hear it!

A yellow passionfruit Italian soda on a grey marble coaster.

FAQ

What is an Italian soda?

Italian sodas are refreshing, two-ingredient drinks featuring flavored, non-caffeinated syrups and carbonated water. If milk or cream is added, it’s called a French soda.

What is the difference between an Italian soda and a French soda?

Italian sodas are made with flavored syrup and carbonated water. French sodas follow the same recipe but feature an additional splash of cream.

More non-alcoholic drinks

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Please leave a ★★★★★ review or comment below.

A cranberry Italian soda garnished with a mint sprig on a gray stone coaster.

Italian Soda

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes

The Italian Soda is the perfect non-dairy, caffeine-free and non-alcoholic drink for summertime!

Ingredients

  • 1 or 2 ounces flavored simple syrup, to taste
  • 6 ounces club soda
  • ice

Instructions

  1. Fill a tall glass with ice, then fill it up to ¼-way with flavored simple syrup, such as vanilla or strawberry. (If you don't want it to be too sweet, add a little at first and taste it. You can always add more.)
  2. Top with club soda. Stir gently to combine.
  3. Garnish with fresh fruit, herbs or a straw.

Notes

The beauty of the Italian soda is how versatile it is! Try one of these variations:

  • French soda: Adding a splash of milk or a bit of heavy cream makes it a French soda, but you could also call this an Italian cream soda recipe.
  • More/less sweetness: Use more or less syrup when making an Italian soda.
  • Ice cream float: Add a scoop of ice cream to turn your Italian soda into a float.
  • Non-carbonated soda: If carbonation bothers you, use distilled water to make non-carbonated flavored water.
  • Sugar-free Italian soda: Use sugar-free syrups to make your Italian soda.

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As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 50Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 0gSugar: 13gProtein: 0g

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