Italian soda is an easy drink that’s fun and impressive! Mix syrup, club soda and cream for a classic Italian cream soda.

Italian soda

Here’s a drink that’s festive and just plain fun: the Italian Soda, aka Italian Cream Soda! This American beverage has been inspiring drinkers for decades, and for good reason. The combination of bubbly club soda, fruity syrup and silky cream is simply heavenly. These sweet drinks are over the top impressive: especially if you serve them with colorful straws and a cocktail cherry.

What’s in an Italian soda?

An Italian soda is a drink made of club soda and flavored syrup, often served with cream (aka Italian cream soda). This tasty concoction was invented by an Italian American family in San Francisco in the 1920’s. Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre, founders of the company that makes the Torani brand of syrups, brought recipes for the syrups from Lucca, Italy and introduced Italian soda in 1925. It took off and has been popular ever since.

At its base, an Italian soda is just carbonated water and syrup. Popular flavors range from fruity like strawberry and raspberry, to chocolate, amaretto, hazelnut, and more. Here’s what you’ll need for an Italian soda:

  • Soda water, aka club soda or sparkling water
  • Flavored syrup of any kind, like Torani-brand (see below)
  • Cream to make a cream soda (recommended)
  • Cocktail cherry, for serving
  • Whipped cream, optional

Want a dairy-free variation? Try it without the cream, or substitute 1 ounce full-fat coconut milk.

Italian Soda

Types of carbonated water

You can use any type of carbonated water or sparkling water in an Italian soda. There are lots of different names for this type of water, so here’s a breakdown:

  • Sparkling water, aka seltzer, soda water, or carbonated water is water with no additives, carbonated by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s the base for brands like La Croix, or what comes out of a SodaStream.
  • Sparkling mineral water is water from a natural mineral spring that’s been carbonated. Examples of brands are Perrier or Topo Chico.
  • Club soda is carbonated water infused with added minerals, which give it a salty or lightly sweet flavor. Club soda is often used for cocktails and soda fountain drinks.

What to steer clear of for an Italian soda? Don’t use tonic water (which has added flavor from quinine and sugar) or any waters with added flavors or sugars.

Flavored syrups: use Torani or other

The Italian couple that founded the company that makes Torani syrups invented the Italian soda, so it’s only natural to use that brand in this drink recipe! Of course, you can use any brand that makes flavored syrups. We used this Torani raspberry syrup, and there are many more flavors to choose from: coconut, peach, cherry, orange, blackberry, hazelnut, vanilla: even chocolate chip cookie dough!

If you’d like, you can also use homemade syrups! Try this Raspberry Syrup, Strawberry Syrup, or Grenadine Syrup (pomegranate).

Torani syrup
The Italian couple who founded Torani introduced the concept of an Italian soda in 1925

How to make an Italian soda: some tips

How to make an Italian soda? You can skip right to the recipe below, or here’s our opinion on a few general principles:

  • Stir together syrup and soda water. Start with ¾ ounce (1 ½ tablespoons) syrup if you’re planning to serve without cream. Taste and add more to taste, if you’d like. The syrup is very sweet, so we like starting low and customizing to taste.
  • We recommend serving with cream. The cream really adds a richness and rounds out the flavor to an Italian cream soda, making it absolutely irresistible. When serving with cream, you can get away with 1 ounce syrup because the cream tones it down. Again, customize it to your tastes!
  • Whipped cream is unnecessary, in our opinion. The Italian cream soda tastes fantastic sans whipped cream. Just add it if you’re looking for an over-the-top stunning presentation (in which case, go for it!).
  • Garnish with a cocktail cherry and fun straw. Because that’s half the fun!

And that’s it: how to make an Italian soda! Let us know if you try this recipe in the comments below: and we’d love to know what flavors you’re serving!

Italian Soda
You can also serve sans cream

More soda drinks

Want more ideas? Here are a few more non-alcoholic sparkling drinks similar to Italian soda:

This Italian cream soda recipe is…

Vegetarian and gluten-free. For vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free, serve without cream or add 1 ounce full-fat coconut milk.

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Italian soda

Italian Soda (Cream Soda)


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x

Description

Italian soda is an easy drink that’s fun and impressive! Mix syrup, club soda and cream for a classic Italian cream soda.


Ingredients

Scale
  • 3/4 to 1 ounces* flavored syrup, like Torani (we used raspberry)
  • 8 ounces soda water
  • ½ ounce heavy cream** (optional)
  • Whipped cream and cocktail cherry, to serve (optional)

Instructions

  1. Add the syrup and soda water to an ice-filled glass and stir gently. If desired, top with the cream.
  2. Serve immediately, or top with a cocktail cherry (or whipped cream).

Notes

*1 ounce syrup makes a very sweet drink, but it’s more balanced with cream. If serving without cream we recommend starting with ¾ ounce and taste testing. To convert to tablespoons, 1 ounce = 2 tablespoons.

**We recommend adding cream as it adds a rich, creamy mouthfeel and balances the flavors. For vegan, omit the cream or substitute full-fat coconut milk.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Stirred
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Keywords: Italian soda, Italian cream soda

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Meet Sonja and Alex Overhiser: Husband and wife. Expert home cooks. Authors of recipes you'll want to make again and again.

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3 Comments

  1. I made this with a raspberry lime Spindrift, SF raspberry torani, and cream and it is SO GOOD!! Thank you for sharing your recipe. I was curious if you have any tips on the cream kind of curdling, it tastes fine just looks a little odd 😁

    1. So glad you are enjoying it! We don’t have any tips on the look of the cream, but you maybe could experiment with different brands.