French Soda

The creamy and bubbly French Soda is the best way to cool off this summer. Made with your favorite flavored syrups, carbonated water and cream, this bright and effervescent three-ingredient drink is simple to put together and delicious to drink.

A pink colored French soda garnished with a shiny blue straw and sprig of fresh mint.

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French Soda recipe

The thing people need to know about mocktails and non-alcoholic drinks is that they don’t have to be boring.

When you remove alcohol from the situation, it is just as fun to make up drinks with incredible flavor combinations.

The French Soda is just one of the many non-alcoholic mixed drinks that is easily customized.

It’s made by pouring any flavored syrup, such as strawberry syrup or apple syrup over ice and then topping it with sparkling water and a splash of cream.

The result is a bubbly, effervescent, versatile drink that is a great non-alcoholic option for anyone wanting something more interesting than regular water or soda.

More non-alcoholic recipes: Iced TeaCold Brew CoffeeClassic Lemonade

Why you’ll love this recipe

A French soda is a refreshing drink you can enjoy on a hot summer day. You’ll love it because…

  • The French Soda has just three ingredients and it’s SO easy to make.
  • Customize each drink with your favorite flavors and homemade syrups.
  • It’s a great non-alcoholic drink for kids or non-drinkers. It’s caffeine-free, too.

You can order the French Soda at your local coffee shop, especially if they carry syrups to make flavored coffee and tea drinks.

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

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

What is a French Soda?

A French Soda is the cream-based cousin of the Italian soda. They are almost the same drink.

An Italian soda is made with ice, just about any flavored syrup and carbonated water.

A French soda is made the same way but with a splash of cream or half-and-half on top. It’s also sometimes called an Italian cream soda.

Both of these delicious soda drinks are easy to make; it just depends on whether you like a creamy soda or not. 

Italian Soda vs. French Soda

The difference between the Italian soda recipe and the French soda recipe is just one ingredient: cream.

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

As such, an Italian soda is light and refreshing, whereas an 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 like a highball glass or collins glass works really well. 

I do recommend a clear glass, however, because it really showcases that pretty ombré gradient with swirls of milk. 

a spoon dripping with peach syrup into a mason jar

Ingredients

The French sodas is the perfect drink because it is so very easy to make. You only need three simple ingredients, plus ice, to whip up this drink.

Simple Syrup

You can purchase flavored versions of sweet syrups online, at the grocery store or at specialty shops.

However, simple syrups are very easy to make at home with sugar and water and some natural flavoring.

Start by perfecting plain simple syrup, which is wonderful for sweetening just about any drink, from coffee drinks to lemonade, because it mixes in more easily than pure sugar.

Then you can experiment with making flavors like chocolate syrup and caramel syrup.

For a French soda, you’ll typically want a fruity flavor base like blackberry syrup or prickly pear syrup, but spiced-based ones like vanilla syrup are tasty too. 

a bottle of fever tree club soda

Carbonated water

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

They’re pretty much the same — just bubbly water! If you have a favorite brand, start there.

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

But if you want something really French, try using Perrier or some fizzy Orangina, a lovely and sweet orange soda from France.

There’s also tonic water that’s also used in the gin & tonic. It has a slightly bitter flavor but would be fun to experiment with in a French soda.

Cream

The final ingredient for a French Soda is a splash of cream. You have some options:

  • Heavy cream (or whipping cream) makes for a lusciously thick drink.
  • Half-and-half is a great texture — not too thick or too thin.
  • You can also use your favorite unsweetened non-dairy milk or creamer instead.

If you like, you can also add garnishes to your homemade sodas, such as a maraschino cherry or a sprig of fresh mint on top. 

How to make a French Soda

Here’s how you can make this easy three-ingredient drink at home:

Red syrup drips from above into a glass filled with crushed ice.

First, add your syrup to a glass of ice. You can use any flavor you like!

Soda is poured atop red syrup and crushed ice in a glass.

Next, pour some carbonated water on top. Leave a little room for cream on top.

Cream is poured on top of cranberry syrup, ice and soda water.

Then top it off with a splash of cream or half-and-half — and voila! You have a delicious drink that’s easy to make and perfect for any occasion.

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

Add a colorful paper straw, homemade whipped cream, fresh fruit, a lemon wedge or fresh herbs for an extra special touch.

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 not distribute as easily, but you can always give it a stir.
  • Don’t fill the glass all the way with soda. Be sure to leave some room for a splash of cream.
  • Dress them up with berry ice cubes or herb ice cubes. This will give them a sophisticated look, but the drink will smell amazing as the ice melts.
A yellow French soda garnished with mint. Mint and a gold spoon surround the glass with a red soda in the background.

Variations and substitutions

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

Italian soda: Skip the cream to make an Italian soda.

Non-dairy French soda: Use non-dairy milk or cream such as coconut cream instead of regular milk or cream.

French soda with more/less sweetness: Adjust the amount of syrup for your taste buds. Start with a little, and you can always stir in a little more.

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

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

An overhead view of a creamy pink soda drink with mint and a gold spoon laying beside.

French Soda Flavors

With so many different syrup flavors out there, you can customize your French soda to your heart’s content.

Here are a few different flavors to try:

You can also experiment with mixing two or three syrups together to create your own flavor combinations. (I’d love to know what sweet drink ideas you come up with — leave a comment below!)

FAQ

What is a French soda?

French sodas are refreshing, three-ingredient drinks featuring flavored, non-caffeinated syrups, carbonated water and a splash of milk or cream. If no milk or cream is added, it’s called an Italian 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 mocktail recipes

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An overhead view of a creamy pink soda drink with mint and a gold spoon laying beside.

French Soda

Yield: 1 drink
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Also sometimes called an Italian cream soda, the creamy and fizzy French Soda is the perfect way to cool off in the summertime. Use your favorite flavor of syrup or dream up new flavor combinations.
5 from 1 vote
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ingredients

  • 1 ½ ounces flavored simple syrup to taste
  • 6 ounces club soda
  • ½ ounce half-and-half
  • ice

instructions

  • 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, continue with the recipe and then taste it. You can always add more.)
  • Top with club soda. Stir gently to combine.
  • Add a splash of cream over top. Stir if desired.
  • Garnish with fresh fruit, herbs or a straw.

notes

The beauty of the French soda is how easy it is to customize! Try one of these variations:
  • Italian soda: Skip the splash of milk to make an Italian soda.
  • More/less sweetness: Use more or less syrup when making an Italian soda.
  • Ice cream float: Add a scoop of ice cream on top to turn your French 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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nutrition information

Yield: 1 drink

amount per serving:

Serving: 8ounces Calories: 133kcal Carbohydrates: 32g Protein: 0.4g Fat: 2g Saturated Fat: 1g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g Monounsaturated Fat: 0.5g Cholesterol: 5mg Sodium: 69mg Potassium: 49mg Sugar: 32g Vitamin A: 50IU Vitamin C: 0.1mg Calcium: 29mg Iron: 2mg
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