50 Homemade Sodas

Homemade soda is just a mix of flavored syrup and seltzer or club soda. Adjust the ratio depending on how sweet you like it.

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How to Make Soda: For each drink, mix 2 to 4 tablespoons flavored syrup with 1 cup cold seltzer (unless otherwise instructed); add ice. Each recipe makes enough for 4 to 8 drinks.

1. Cherry-Vanilla Simmer 2 cups cherry juice, 1/2 cup sugar and 1 split, scraped vanilla bean (seeds and pod) over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

2. Chocolate Simmer 1 cup each sugar and water with 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until syrupy, 6 minutes. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

3. Chocolate-Cherry Make Cherry-Vanilla syrup (No. 1) and Chocolate syrup (No. 2). For each drink, mix 2 tablespoons cherry syrup with 1 tablespoon chocolate syrup; mix with seltzer.

Rhubarb_182.tif

Rhubarb_182.tif

Rhubarb Soda (No. 4)

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

4. Rhubarb Simmer 3 cups chopped rhubarb, 1 1/2 cups water and 1 cup sugar over medium heat until broken down and syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then strain through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, pressing on the solids. Mix with seltzer.

5. Rhubarb Shrub Make Rhubarb syrup (No. 4). Stir in 1 1/2 cups water, 1/2 cup lemon juice and 1/4 cup white vinegar. Cover; refrigerate 2 days. Stir; mix each 1/2 cup with 1/2 cup seltzer.

6. Cantaloupe Puree 4 cups cubed cantaloupe, 1/4 cup honey, the juice of 1 lemon and a pinch of salt; strain, pressing on the solids. Mix with seltzer.

7. Currant Simmer 1 cup black or red currant jelly with 2 tablespoons water until smooth; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

8. Balsamic-Fig Simmer 1 cup fig preserves with 2 tablespoons each balsamic vinegar and water until smooth; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

9. Licorice Simmer 1 cup each sugar and water with 1 tablespoon anise seeds over medium heat until syrupy, 5 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

FNM-NutellaEggCream-481.tif

FNM-NutellaEggCream-481.tif

Photo by: Karl Juengel ©Hearst Communications Inc., 2010

Karl Juengel, Hearst Communications Inc., 2010

10. Espresso-Licorice Simmer 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1/2 cup brewed espresso and 1/4 teaspoon anise seeds over medium heat until syrupy, about 10 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer. 

FN0214141_CREAMSICLE_FLOAT.tif

FN0214141_CREAMSICLE_FLOAT.tif

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

11. Mulled Cider Simmer 2 cups apple cider, 3/4 cup sugar, 2 wide strips orange zest, 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 allspice berries and 1 clove over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain, then stir in the juice of 1 lemon. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

12. Chai Tea Steep 4 chai tea bags in 2 cups boiling water, 10 minutes. Simmer the tea with 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup honey, 4 cardamom pods, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 star anise pod over medium heat until syrupy, 12 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

13. Arnold Palmer Steep 4 black tea bags in 2 cups boiling water, 10 minutes. Simmer the tea with 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

14. Grapefruit-Chamomile Simmer 2 cups ruby red grapefruit juice and 1 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Mix with chilled chamomile tea and seltzer.

15. Raspberry-Grapefruit Simmer 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 pint raspberries and 2 cinnamon sticks over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Let cool completely. Mix with grapefruit juice and seltzer. 

BlackberryThyme_569.tif

BlackberryThyme_569.tif

Blackberry-Lime Soda (No. 16)

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

16. Blackberry-Lime Simmer 1 cup water, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 pint blackberries over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Stir in the juice of 1 lime. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

17. Blackberry-Thyme Make Blackberry-Lime Soda (No. 16), simmering 8 thyme sprigs in the syrup.

18. Sour Cherry–Lime Simmer 1 1/2 cups frozen sour cherries, 1 cup water, 1/2 cup sugar and the zest of 1 lime (in wide strips) over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Let cool completely. Mix with lime juice and seltzer.

19. Kiwi-Lime Simmer 4 peeled, chopped kiwis, 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar and the zest of 1 lime (in wide strips) over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with lime juice and seltzer.

LemonLimeade_560.tif

LemonLimeade_560.tif

Lemon-Lime Soda (No. 20)

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

20. Lemon-Lime Simmer 1 cup each sugar and water until the sugar dissolves; let cool completely. Stir in 1/2 cup each lemon and lime juice. Mix with seltzer (use 1/2 cup syrup per drink). 

21. Lemon Ginger Ale Simmer 2 cups water, 1 cup each sugar and finely chopped ginger, and the zest (in wide strips) and juice of 2 lemons over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

22. Spiced Lemon Ginger Ale Make Lemon Ginger Ale (No. 21), using the zest and juice of only 1 lemon and simmering 6 cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon allspice berries and 1 cinnamon stick in the syrup.

ApricotGinger_042.tif

ApricotGinger_042.tif

Apricot-Ginger Soda (No. 23)

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

23. Apricot-Ginger Simmer 2 cups apricot nectar, 1 cup peeled, sliced ginger and 3/4 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

24. Orange-Carrot-Ginger Simmer 1 cup each orange and carrot juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1/2 cup chopped ginger and the zest of 2 oranges (in wide strips) over medium heat until syrupy, 25 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

25. Triple Citrus Simmer 1/2 cup each orange, grapefruit and lime juice with 1 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

26. Orange-Fennel Simmer 2 cups orange juice, 3/4 cup sugar, the zest of 2 oranges (in wide strips) and 2 tablespoons crushed fennel seeds over medium heat until syrupy, 25 minutes. Let cool completely, then strain. Mix with seltzer.

27. Basil-Tangerine Simmer 2 cups tangerine juice, 3/4 cup sugar and 4 basil sprigs over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then strain. Mix with seltzer.

28. Watermelon-Mint Simmer 1 cup each sugar, water and mint leaves until the sugar dissolves. Pour over an additional 1 cup mint leaves; let cool completely, then strain. Mix with pureed watermelon and seltzer.

29. Juniper-Lingonberry Simmer 1 cup lingonberry preserves, 1/4 cup water and 1 tablespoon each crushed juniper berries and lemon juice until smooth; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

30. Cardamom-Pear Simmer 2 cups pear nectar, 3/4 cup sugar and 6 cardamom pods over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer. 

31. Cucumber-Vanilla Simmer 1 cup each sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Add 1 sliced cucumber and 1/2 split, scraped vanilla bean (seeds and pod). Let cool completely, then strain. Mix with seltzer.

FN0214141_BERRIES_CREAM_02_NO_SPOON.tif

FN0214141_BERRIES_CREAM_02_NO_SPOON.tif

Photo by: Levi Brown

Levi Brown

32. Raspberry-Vanilla Simmer 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 pint raspberries and 2 teaspoons vanilla over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

33. Blueberry-Maple Simmer 2 cups blueberry juice with 1/4 cup maple syrup over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in 1 more tablespoon maple syrup and let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

34. Acai–Mixed Berry Simmer 2 cups acai juice, 1 cup mixed berries and 1 teaspoon vanilla over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Strain, pressing on the solids, then stir in the juice of 1 lemon and let cool completely. Mix with seltzer and sweeten with agave syrup. 

RaspberryPeach_004.tif

RaspberryPeach_004.tif

Raspberry-Peach Soda (No. 35)

Photo by: Ryan Dausch

Ryan Dausch

35. Raspberry-Peach Simmer 2 cups peach nectar, 3/4 cup sugar and 1 pint raspberries over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Let cool completely, then strain, pressing on the solids. Mix with seltzer.

36. Strawberry-Yuzu Simmer 2 cups diced strawberries with 1 cup each sugar and water over medium heat until syrupy, 12 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Let cool completely. Mix with yuzu juice and seltzer.

37. Strawberry-Mango Simmer 2 cups mango nectar with 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Stir in 2 cups pureed strawberries. Mix with seltzer.

38. Pomegranate-Rose Simmer 1 cup pomegranate juice, 3/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup each water and dried rose petals over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

39. Grape-Almond Simmer 2 cups Concord grape juice with 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the juice of 1/2 lemon and 1 teaspoon almond extract; let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

40. Tropical Fruit Punch Simmer 1 cup each cherry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and chopped strawberries with 3/4 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 18 minutes; strain, pressing on the solids. Stir in the juice of 1 lime; let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

41. Lychee Simmer 1 cup canned lychees and 1/2 cup syrup from the can, 1 cup sugar and 1/2 cup water over medium heat until the sugar dissolves; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with coconut water and seltzer.

42. Pina Colada Simmer 1 1/2 cups pineapple juice with 1/2 cup each sugar and coconut milk over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon rum extract and 1/4 teaspoon coconut extract. Mix with seltzer.

43. Guava-Pineapple Simmer 1 cup guava jelly with 2 tablespoons water until smooth; let cool completely. Mix with pineapple juice and seltzer.

44. Passion Fruit Simmer 2 cups passion fruit juice and 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Mix with coconut water and seltzer.

45. Cranberry Simmer 2 cups cranberry juice with 1/2 cup sugar over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

46. Cranberry-Jalapeno Make Cranberry soda (No. 45), adding 2 chopped seeded jalapenos during the last 5 minutes; strain.

47. Spicy Blood Orange Simmer 1 cup hot pepper jelly with 1/4 cup water until smooth; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with blood orange juice and seltzer.

48. Bloody Mary Simmer 2 cups tomato juice, 1/3 cup sugar, the zest of 1 lemon (in wide strips) and 1/2 teaspoon celery seeds over medium heat until syrupy, 10 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and a dash each of Worcestershire sauce and hot sauce. Mix with seltzer.

49. Celery Simmer 1 1/2 cups water, 1 cup sugar and 1 teaspoon celery seeds over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

50. Black Pepper–Prune Simmer 2 cups prune juice, 3/4 cup sugar, 1 cinnamon stick and 1 teaspoon cracked pepper over medium heat until syrupy, 15 to 20 minutes; strain. Let cool completely. Mix with seltzer.

Pick Your Fizz

  • Seltzer: Water with added carbon dioxide — it's what you get when you use a home soda maker.
  • Club soda: Water with added carbon dioxide plus small amounts of mineral salts — you might be able to detect a subtle salty flavor.
  • Sparkling mineral water: Water with naturally occurring mineral content and carbonation — it's more expensive than other sparkling waters and has a distinct mineral flavor, so it's not ideal for mixing.
  • Tonic: Water with added bubbles and quinine, a bitter alkaloid — the flavor might overpower homemade sodas. Unlike other sparkling waters, tonic has calories (124 per 12-ounce serving).

Pump Up Your Bubbles

Here's how to make your drinks super fizzy:

  • Choose glass bottles. Club soda or seltzer bottled in glass is often fizzier. Plastic bottles and aluminum cans can leak carbon dioxide.
  • Use cold sparkling water. Carbonated water tastes flatter at room temperature. Chill your sparkling water, or if you're using a soda maker, keep bottles filled with flat water in the fridge and carbonate to order.
  • Serve drinks in a narrow glass. Champagne is served in flutes for a reason — there's less surface area for bubbles to escape. Same goes for soda.

New York–Style Egg Cream: There are no eggs or cream in this soda-fountain favorite — just milk, seltzer and flavored syrup (usually chocolate). Make one with Chocolate-Cherry Soda (No. 3).

Italian Cream Soda: This is soda with a splash of heavy cream or half-and-half. You won't find it in Italy — it was invented by Italian-Americans. Try it with Cherry-Vanilla Soda (No. 1).

"Cow" Floats: The classic is a brown cow: root beer with chocolate ice cream or cola with vanilla ice cream, often with chocolate syrup. You can make a purple cow by adding vanilla ice cream to Grape-Almond Soda (No. 39).

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