Strawberry Italian Soda
Strawberry Italian Soda

When the warm weather hits, enjoy this Italian Strawberry Lemonade β€” a caffeine-free iced drink made with strawberry syrup and poured over ice with club soda. Add a dash of milk and top with whipped cream!

In this recipe

  • Prepare Italian soda at home
  • History of Italian Soda
  • How to make strawberry syrup
  • Fresh or frozen strawberries?
  • Syrup Variations
  • Exchange and substitution of ingredients
  • Tips and tricks for making an Italian lemonade
  • How to store leftover syrup and whipped cream
  • More delicious drink recipes

On a Friday to end the week, my son and I went to a coffee shop for a treat, looked at the blackboard menus, and discovered our love for Italian sodas (well, me personally rediscovered my love for the fruity, sparkling ice drink).

Traditionally, an Italian strawberry soda is a caffeine-free iced drink. Strawberry syrup is poured over ice and topped with lemonade. Milk or cream is then added before topping it off with homemade whipped cream and a maraschino cherry. It’s sparkling, fruity, creamy and delicious!

Prepare Italian soda at home

When I told my mother-in-law that her grandson loved Italian strawberry lemonade, she was thrilled because it brought back family memories for her too. She immediately gifted us a bottle of Torani Strawberry Syrup and we started making homemade versions. I couldn’t help but wonder if I could make syrup with fresh strawberries for our own version of an Italian soda in a coffee shop, and that’s how this recipe was born. Turns out strawberry syrup is really easy to make from scratch!

We drink these Italian Strawberry Lemonades year-round, but find them especially satisfying when the warm weather hits. I keep this homemade strawberry syrup in the fridge so I can have the drink ready anytime, usually late afternoon on a Friday or Saturday. I’m thrilled to have rediscovered the pleasure of Italian lemonade and cherishing the moments I’ve spent sipping with family.

History of Italian Soda

Contrary to its name, Italian sodas are not from Italy. The story goes that Italian lemonade was invented around 1925 by the founders of the Torani company in San Francisco. The style of syrup Torani made originated in Italy, hence the name. The drink took off and the rest is history.

How to make strawberry syrup

As the mixture heats up, the sugar will dissolve. As soon as bubbles reach the top of the saucepan, reduce heat to low and simmer 7 minutes, or until all of the strawberries are soft, pale and offer no resistance when pierced with a fork. The fruity strawberry scent will fill the kitchen when the strawberries are completely soaked. Strain the cooked syrup, discard the strawberries, and cool the syrup to room temperature before using.

Fresh or frozen strawberries?

This recipe works with fresh or frozen strawberries, but fresh strawberries are my favorite when in season. Fresh, ripe, juicy seasonal strawberries provide the strongest strawberry flavor for this syrup. When buying strawberries, look for plump, bright red strawberries with fresh green tips with no signs of mold or mushyness.

Frozen strawberries will take longer to simmer and may need a few extra minutes to ensure the strawberries are completely soft. Check the resistance of the berries after 10 minutes. The taste is similar whether fresh or frozen, so feel free to use what you have on hand.

If you have tart out-of-season strawberries, extract the most flavor by squeezing as much juice out of the cooked strawberries with a spoon as you strain. The resulting syrup won’t be as clear, but the extra flavor is worth it.

Syrup Variations

This recipe is really versatile! It works with any berry. For soft berries with pits, such as raspberries and blackberries, be sure to use a fine-mesh sieve to remove any pits. Blueberries make a thicker syrup than other types of berries, but taste fantastic in Italian lemonade.

You can also add extra flavor to your strawberry syrup by using different extracts. Use a spoon and after straining, stir the extracts into the syrup and allow to cool to room temperature before using or storing. Here are my favorite extracts and amounts to add for every 1 cup of strawberry syrup:

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon rose water

Simple tip!

If you are unsure whether or not to add an extract, take a spoonful of cooled syrup and stir in 1/8 teaspoon of extract and taste. If you like the flavor profile, add the amount of extract indicated above. If not, discard the scoop and either try again with a different scoop and extract, or feel free to use the homemade strawberry syrup as is.

If you prefer to use fresh ingredients instead of extracts, add citrus peels or soft herbs like mint. Citrus peels can be added along with strawberries, sugar and water, adding a touch of floral essence to the syrup. Add softened herbs during the last 2 minutes of the simmer to avoid adding bitterness to the final product.

Exchange and substitution of ingredients

In addition to enhancing the syrup with additional flavors, you can substitute other ingredients to create a delicious Italian lemonade.

  • Try using flavored seltzer water like raspberry or grapefruit instead of lemonade.
  • Instead of half and half, use a milk alternative like oat milk or coconut milk. I found almond milk to be overwhelming (and I drink almond milk daily) so I would avoid this option.
  • Replace the vanilla extract in the whipping cream with clear vanilla extract, 1/4 teaspoon almond extract, or the zest of half an orange.
  • Substitute 1 tablespoon of icing sugar for sifted cocoa powder for chocolate whipped cream.
  • Substitute whipped coconut cream or other non-dairy whipped cream for the heavy cream.

Tips and tricks for making an Italian lemonade

Making Strawberry Italian Soda is surprisingly easy, but here are a few tips to keep in mind.

  • When preparing the strawberry syrup Let the mixture simmer on low to prevent foaming.
  • To use a low-fat substitute for half and half, Double the amount to 1/4 cup to prevent curdling.
  • If you’re making whipped cream from scratch, start with cold cream. You can also place the whisk and bowl in the freezer for 10 minutes before preparing the whipped cream for better results.
  • Whip the cream with a hand mixer or with a bowl and whisk. I find that small amounts, like the 1/2 cup needed for this recipe, are hard to beat in a stand mixer.

How to store leftover syrup and whipped cream

This recipe makes 1 cup of strawberry syrup and 1 cup of heavy cream, which is enough for three Italian strawberry lemonades. Store leftover strawberry syrup in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks. Leftover whipped cream will keep in the fridge for two days, or you can freeze it for later!

More delicious drink recipes

  • Raspberry Lime Rickey
  • Homemade Ginger Ale
  • strawberry lemonade
  • Mixed Whole Lemon Lemonade
  • Strawberry Watermelon Agua Fresca

Italian strawberry soda


preparation time
5 minutes

cooking time
7 minutes

cool time
30 minutes

total time
42 minutes

yield
1 (14 ounces) Italian Strawberry Lemonade

ingredients

  • For the strawberry syrup
  • 1/2 cup (100g) sugar

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) strawberries, peeled and quartered

  • For the whipped cream
  • 1/2 cup cream

  • 2 tablespoons (18g) powdered sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • pinch of salt

  • For the Italian lemonade
  • 1/3 cup strawberry syrup

  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

  • 3/4 cup (6 ounces) lemonade

  • 2 tablespoons half and half

  • Serve
  • whipped cream

  • Maraschino cherry for garnish

method

  1. Prepare strawberry syrup:

    In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, water, and strawberries. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to low and cook until strawberries do not resist when pierced with a fork, about 7 minutes.

    Strain into a non-reactive bowl using a fine-mesh strainer and discard strawberries. The syrup is clear, ruby ​​red, sweet and full of strawberry flavor. Allow the syrup to cool to room temperature about 30 minutes before using.

  2. Prepare whipped cream:

    In a medium bowl, combine heavy cream, powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Using a hand mixer, start beating the cream on low speed. Gradually increase speed to medium and whip until cream is stiff, about 90 seconds.

    The whipped cream on the whisk should stay in place and not hang down, this is known as stiff peaks. Be careful not to whip for too long or the cream will turn to butter! Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use.

  3. Make the Italian lemonade and serve:

    Pour 1/3 cup strawberry syrup and the lemon juice into a glass measuring cup and stir to combine.

    Pour the mixture over a tall glass half filled with ice. Top with club soda. Pour half and half into the glass and stir thoroughly to combine the drink. Top with a dollop of whipped cream and finish with a maraschino cherry. Add a straw and enjoy right away.

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Hello everybody, Even if you're limited on time and money, I believe you can prepare wonderful food with everyday products. All you have to do is cook cleverly and creatively!