This Strawberry Italian Cream Soda is the perfect way to hang on to summer for just a bit longer. For a real treat, throw some mint and basil into the syrup for a nice mix-up.
You know, this August has been a little strange around here. It’s still had its scorchingly hot days, that’s for sure. But there have also been a lot of rainy days and just generally overcast days, and it’s been getting cool at night. I love it! But, it is a reminder that cold weather is just around the corner.
I don’t like to jump the gun though. While a lot of fruits and veggies are still hitting their peak right now for harvest, gotta take advantage, for now, as well as for a future rainy day! I’ve still been enjoying my fair share of strawberries at the end of the season, and just froze up a few for future use. And I just bought about a million peaches yesterday. Yes, you heard me. One Million. Or maybe just 1/2 bushel. But it’s a lot. We can pound them quite quickly around here though, and with any leftovers I’m thinking I’ll have to freeze them up for future pies, cobblers, and other likeness when a cold day calls for it. Or maybe a peachy variation of this italian cream soda…. Yes, that would work nicely. It seems I’ve pondered on this with past cream sodas as well, so I think it’s time to give it a go.
If you aren’t on the bandwagon yet for italian cream soda, well, jump on! I thought I really needed to revisit this awesomely delicious and easy-to-make drink, this time with the strawberry variety (and with my fancy schmancy Spaghetti Factory glasses that I’ve had for years). I really don’t drink a lot carbonation, like hardly ever, but this drink is a refreshing change-up once in a while. The syrup is super easy to make, and will keep for weeks in the fridge. Did I mention you can use the syrup for a whole buncha other things, too (think flavored lemonade, on pancakes, ice cream).
I like to use sparkling water, because it has a very light carbonation. But you can also use club soda. I used S. Pelligrino’s Sparkling Water this time, and honestly, while I initially thought that I was overpaying really just to get the pretty green bottle, I did end up liking the carbonation level a lot better in this than when I have previously made these.
And now let’s talk cream for just a sec. I’ve seen recommendations to substitute half-and-half in place of cream for a lighter version of cream soda. But my personal opinion is that it says CREAM in the name because it uses CREAM. I’ve tried both, and when I use half-and-half, the drink curdles. Now, it still tastes smooth, but not quite as much as it should be, IMO. So, while I believe in being health-conscientious, I also believe in eating (and drinking) the best tasting food for the occasion. And if one tablespoon of cream is the thing that’s going to take me over the top and destroy my body, then I probably shouldn’t be making this in the first place. So maybe a better plan instead of using half-and-half is just don’t drink an Italian cream soda every day for a week straight (ahem, good advice for myself!). Moderation baby!
Wanna really change things up from the norm? Last time I made these I threw a little fresh mint and basil into the syrup while it was boiling to steep their flavors in because I’ve kind of been obsessed with herby drinks lately. It did not disappoint!
Just a couple of quick notes: The measurements below for the actual drink assembly, while you can follow them, are not fast and strict. You can mix up the syrup, sparkling water, and cream ratios to your liking!
The other recipe I have for Raspberry Italian Cream Soda that I posted last year calls for less sugar in the syrup (1/2 cup versus 1 cup, although it says you can go up to 1 cup). Honestly, after making this over and over (and over….should I actually be admitting this?), I’ve realized that I like a little more sugar in the syrup because I felt like I could get the desired ratios and flavor a little better when I did more sugar. Anyway, it’s flexible, too, so you can play around with it. Like I said earlier, it’s easy!
And as a final note, if you are really not into cream, you can always keep it simple and leave it out. Try it either way. I promise you’ll love it!
Strawberry Italian Cream Soda
For the Strawberry Syrup:
- 1 cup strawberries fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- cup mint/basil - to equal approximately 1/4 optional
For the Soda:
- 3-4 ice cubes
- 3 tablespoons berry syrup
- ½ cup sparkling water or club soda
- 1-2 tablespoons whipping cream
To make the syrup:
In a small saucepan, combine strawberries, sugar, water and herbs (optional) over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, and let boil for 5-10 minutes.
Strain through a fine mesh strainer.
To make the drink:
Fill a glass with ice.
Add the syrup, then club soda.
Pour in whipping cream to top it off. Admire the beauty!
Stir before drinking to combine.
Change it Up:
Substitute raspberries or blackberries in the syrup.
Instead of making a syrup, use a pre-purchased syrup (such as Torani brand).
Dress it Up:
Add a squirt of whipped cream and some fresh berry slices on top to impress.
Dress it Down:
Not into cream? Leave it out completely for a simple Italian soda (sans cream).
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