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Have you ever had an Italian Cream Soda? My sisters and I used to go to this little café near our house, Gigi’s Café (RIP), and order Italian Cream Sodas as a special treat. This drink is simple—seltzer water, flavored syrup, and cream. I hadn’t had one in soooo long but then something reminded me of them and I thought I’d make my own version! Especially with all of the flavored seltzers out there, you can really experiment.
The first recipe I made was with an orange cardamom simple syrup. The syrup was delicious! But, the cream didn’t like the citrus and it curdled. So sad. I did a little bit of research and I found out that a lot of fruit syrups seem to make cream curdle. I started thinking about what flavor of syrup I could make that didn’t have any fruit in it and I decided upon fancy vanilla. I’ve actually never used real vanilla beans before so I felt like this simple recipe was a good introduction for me.
I got my single vanilla bean at the co-op. And it was $15. For one bean. I knew vanilla was expensive but I didn’t realize it was that expensive!! But, I think it’s worth it for this recipe. We are making a good amount of simple syrup, which keeps for a long time, and it can be used in SOOOO many ways. I’ve already had some in my coffee which was absolutely delicious. You could also make a London Fog Latte with it. Or a vanilla cocktail! YUM! We are making a “rich” simple syrup here, which is 2 parts sugar to 1 part water, because it keeps longer and it’s sweeter.
Italian Cream Soda is SUPER versatile. You can use any flavor of seltzer you want. I like Bubly for this drink because I feel like it has a stronger flavor than other seltzers. I used Raspberry for this recipe. But Cherry would be so good. Or Orange! And… you can add a shot of vodka and it’s a cocktail! You can also use either heavy cream or half and half. And of course you can always play with the ratios. Maybe you like your drinks super sweet and you want more syrup. Or maybe less sweet. Or more creamy. You are the captain of your own ship!
Let me know if you like this recipe and think I should develop more drinks with flavored simple syrup!Print
Italian Cream Soda is seltzer water, syrup, and cream. In this recipe, we’ll use a rich vanilla bean simple syrup with flavored seltzer!
Rich Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup (makes about 18 oz)
- 1 cup water
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
Italian Cream Soda
- 2 tablespoons Rich Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
- 1 can Raspberry Bubly (or other flavored seltzer of your choice)
- 1 tablespoon heavy cream or half & half
Rich Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup
- Add 1 cup water & 2 cups sugar to a small pot on the stove on medium-high heat. Stir it regularly until bubbles begin to form on the border of the pot and sugar is dissolved. Turn off heat.
- With a small paring knife, carefully slice your vanilla pod down one side. Open it and scrape the beans out with the dull side of your knife, then add them to the sugar pot. (See Notes for how to use your empty pod!)
- You can let the syrup cool in the pot or you can pour it into a glass jar and shake it up, then let it cool. The vanilla beans can sometimes clump up or rise to the top but a good shake will disperse them. Once cooled, keep the jar in the fridge for up to 6 months.
Italian Cream Soda (1 serving)
- Fill a pint glass with ice.
- Add 2 tablespoons of Vanilla Bean Simple Syrup.
- Pour seltzer over, leaving some room at the top for cream, and mix with a spoon.
- Top with 1 tablespoon of cream and mix. Enjoy!
- Well we can’t just throw away that $15 vanilla pod can we!?!? Make your own vanilla extract by putting the pod in a small jar (a 4 oz mason jar is perfect) and covering with vodka, rum, or bourbon. Let it sit for 4–6 months, shaking every now and then.
Keywords: cream, drink, mocktail, soda, vanilla