raspberry-basil italian cream soda

Italian soda is a refreshing drink, especially perfect on a warm, sunny day.  Despite it’s name, this drink was actually invented in San Francisco’s North Beach, not in Italy.  It gets its name from the flavored syrups that originated in Italy that are used to make it.  The drink is simply flavored syrup mixed with carbonated water served in a tall glass with ice.  Add a splash of cream and it becomes an Italian cream soda or cremosa.  Either way, an Italian soda is a nice alternative to store-bought soft drinks.

They can be made with a wide variety of flavors.  Homemade syrups or bottled brands like Torani may be used.  I made a homemade raspberry-basil syrup for these.  The savory hint of basil may not be for everyone, but I liked the contrast to the sweetness of the syrup it provided. Have fun by combining your own favorite flavors for the syrups.  How about strawberries and rhubarb, blackberry and mint, or lemons and thyme instead?

While I specified amounts of each of the ingredients in the recipe below, ratios can easily be adjusted to suit your personal taste.

Raspberry-Basil Italian Soda
Yields 1 serving

ice, either cubes or crushed
1 1/2 – 2 ounces homemade raspberry-basil syrup, or to taste (recipe below)
6 – 8 ounces club soda or sparkling water
splash of cream or half and half, or to taste (optional)
2-3 raspberries, for garnish
sprig of basil, for garnish

Fill a tall glass half full with ice.  Pour the raspberry-basil syrup.  Add club soda or sparkling water.  Pour in cream, if using.  Stir, and adjust to taste by adding more syrup or club soda.

Garnish with a few whole raspberries and a sprig of basil.

Raspberry-Basil Simple Syrup

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 pound raspberries, washed
1/2 to 3/4 cup tightly packed basil leaves, to taste

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar and water and cook over high heat until sugar dissolves and mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and add raspberries.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Remove from heat and add basil leaves. Steep basil leaves in raspberry syrup until cooled, about 1 hour.  Strain syrup through a fine-mesh strainer, discarding basil and fruit solids.  Cover the syrup and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.  Syrup will keep for 2-3 days.

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126 thoughts on “raspberry-basil italian cream soda

  1. Pingback: 10 Homemade Beverages to Sip on This Summer - Absopure (un)Filtered

  2. Pingback: Breakfast In Bed: Your Ultimate Mother’s Day Brunch Menu

  3. Pingback: Berry Fizz | Italian Soda or Cocktail Recipe | FamilyFreshCooking.com — Family Fresh Cooking

  4. Huge thanks to everyone who’s been so kind to write nice comments about my post on Raspberry-Basil Italian Sodas. I hope I have inspired you to try the rosemary-basil syrup or to make your very own flavor concoction. Also, welcome to all of my new followers. I hope you enjoy my blog and I thank you for allowing me to share my passion with you.


    P.S. I have read a few comments here and on other social media sites about the straws I used. I purchased them from Cost Plus World Market. They come in a variety of fun colors.

  5. Pingback: Italian Berry Cream Soda | Make & Mingle

  6. Mmmm, sounds delicious! I put basil in my last strawberry pineapple smoothie and there was something very refreshing about it. Basil tends to wake things up! Thanks for sharing-I can’t wait to try your recipe!

  7. Pingback: Raspberry Basil Italian Cream Soda | foodjuice

  8. I like what is going on here, when I was a kid, my mom used to take me to some cafe in seattle where I could get an Italian soda, I liked blackberry myself, I digress a welcome reminder to the pleasure of DIY sodas and San Francisco Italians. Thanks.

  9. We have become a fan of Italian sodas, not as sugary tasting as soda. However they are still a little pricey for what is in them. Wonder if I could make the soda too? Great shot of the drinks. Making my mouth water

  10. Wonderful photo. Makes me so instantly thirsty. The nice thing is that I have never even heard of strawberry basil anything. So I am very excited to try this. Excellent blogging!

  11. Reblogged this on Scoop of Knowledge and commented:
    Wow, this looks like a great, refreshing treat for a hot summer’s day! View the blog at daisyt13.wordpress.com. What do you think of this here fine beverage?

  12. Your ‘Kitchen Artistry’ page is gorgeous!!! No need for me to have to think about choices though: The orange, hazelnut pull-apart bread and the peanut butter cupcakes win hands down!!!

  13. These are so beautiful!! My little sister had a gorgeous bar in her wedding venue, and had an Italian soda bar. So much cheaper than alcohol! These would be wonderful for an Italian themed party.

  14. Hej, im an “italian-abroad”, but I have never heard about italian cream soda.. what is it? thanks. 🙂
    btw, it seems delicious and super refreshing!

  15. My mom used to make me italian soda floats, which just her pouring an italian soda over ice cream. Try it out…its delicious!

  16. Congrats on being FRESHLY PRESSED! Your recipes are always delightful and I hope everyone who views this post will scroll to your previous posts and see them too. very happy for you!

  17. Lately at our house, we’ve been making basil lemonade spritzers. Lemonade (from my corner store, TJ’s), poured into a pitcher over some chopped up basil. Steep in the fridge for a couple of hours, or days. Use a strainer to pour into a glass, and then add plain soda water. So refreshing.
    I can’t wait to try your recipe. It sounds scrumptious!

  18. Looks absolutely delicious and perfect for the summer! The photo inspires me to go out and get some fun-colored straws!

  19. Such a beautiful photograph! When I was a little girl, my mother used to make raspberry syrup. My favorite thing in the world was adding the syrup to seltzer (in NYC we used to get seltzer deliveries every week). Discovering Italian sodas as an adult was wonderful. I love the touch of cream. Have you tried the orange Italian sodas? They taste just like creamsicles!

    • I’ve never made orange Italian sodas from homemade syrup, but I will have to do that since I had stocked up on blood oranges, juiced them and froze them for occasions such as these. I have to confess, I buy the blood orange Italian sodas at Trader Joe’s. They’re so good! I know Whole Foods has made its way to London, but has Trader Joes?

      • Sadly no. Whenever I go back I stock up on treats, which I then hoard and nibble as long as I can get them to last (er, about two weeks).


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