I’ve got a nasty sinus infection and all I want is pho, graham crackers, buttery movie popcorn, dr.pepper and Italian soda. It seems like I get one of these every year around this time…right when allergy season is in full force. They always come on so suddenly and before I know it, I’m in my sweatpants from 12th grade, hugging my cat with piles of tissues surrounding me.
Thank goodness I have a cat that loves to cuddle. Now if I could only train him to get me Thai take-out….
I know I’ve told you guys about my love affair with Italian sodas before….about how they remind me of walking to British Literature class in Charleston because my route always took me right past the best little coffee shop (at the bottom of the Francis Marion hotel before it turned to Starbucks!) that made every flavor of Italian soda under the sun and had crunchy ice to boot! It’s all about the crunchy ice.
Italian sodas are super easy to make at home, you just need to prepare some fruity simple syrup and have some sparkling water on hand.
I chose fresh strawberries and rhubarb because I spotted some of both at the farmer’s market last week that were just begging to be used in something fruity and fun.
To make the simple syrup, I just sliced up a carton of strawberries along with two large stalks rhubarb and placed them in a pot with a cup and a half of sugar and a cup and a half of water. The general rule for simple syrup is using the same amount of water and sugar.
Twenty minutes later and I had this gorgeous ruby-colored syrup, perfect for my Italian soda!
Other great uses for this simple syrup would be using it to make Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas! Just add in about two ounces of this syrup to your tequila along with triple sec, lime juice and ice. Perfect for Cinco de Mayo, no?
But since I’ve been home nursing my sinus infection, it’s Italian sodas for me.
Strawberry Rhubarb Italian Sodas
makes about 2 cups simple syrup, good for about 8 drinks
2 large stalks rhubarb, chopped
16 oz fresh strawberries, sliced
1.5 cups water
1.5 cups sugar
drop of red food coloring (optional)
sparkling water for serving
Combine rhubarb, strawberries, water and sugar in a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 20 minutes, or until fruit has broken up. Add red food coloring if you wish. Strain syrup twice, once through a colander and once through a sifter. You can keep the fruit you strained out—it’s perfect to top pancakes or waffles with!
Place double strained syrup in a jar and let chill thoroughly.
To assemble sodas, fill a glass with sparkling water and ice. Add 1/4-1/3 cup simple syrup (depending on how sweet you like your soda). Enjoy!
**You can also use this simple syrup to make Strawberry Rhubarb Margaritas! Yum.
3 hours (includes time to chill simple syrup)