Growing up with an Italian grandmother who lived with us meant we got to enjoy so many homemade treats. One of my favorite memories of my grandma was talking with her about the food she loved from our culture. This strawberry Italian soda is *technically* an "Italian-American" recipe, but it's the perfect afternoon pick-me-up. If you were a fan of strawberry Nesquik growing up, you’re definitely going to want to add this to your "to-make" list.
This recipe was inspired by my strawberry simple syrup. It’s a super fresh and flavorful berry syrup perfect for stirring into any beverage, including homemade sodas like this Italian strawberry soda! If you’re looking for more homemade Italian soda recipes, check out my recipe for Italian lemon soda, or Limonata!Jump to Recipe
💕 why you'll love this strawberry Italian soda recipe
🍓 bursting with berry flavor. While traditional Italian sodas are made with store-bought syrup, this recipe features fresh homemade strawberry simple syrup.
🥳 fun & nostalgic. While the days of soda fountains are long gone, you can tap into the simple joys of childhood with this easy-to-make drink.
✨ layered magic. This soda is great for sipping on literally any afternoon, but it’s also a true showstopper to serve at parties and gatherings! It has distinct layers that look super complex to make, but it’s actually super simple!
- strawberry simple syrup - be sure to check out my recipe for strawberry simple syrup here, because making your own is totally worth it. This syrup serves as the base of the recipe, so quality matters!
- soda water - plain soda water or sparkling seltzer water is perfect for this recipe. I love using La Croix pure sparkling water because it’s widely available. Avoid using sparkling mineral water or tonic water as they both have distinct flavors that can impact the final outcome of this beverage. In a pinch, club soda will work as an alternative.
- heavy cream - this Italian soda has a splash of heavy cream but I have also tested it with whole milk and half and half. You can also use a non-dairy milk like oat milk or coconut milk.
- whipped cream - whipped cream is an optional topping for this fizzy beverage, but I highly recommend it!
- strawberries - another optional ingredient, but it’s great to top each beverage with a strawberry as a garnish! If you don’t have fresh berries, you can place a dehydrated or freeze-dried strawberry on top of the whipped cream.
- ice - You’ll need a glass full of ice to keep this soda frosty cold. Use whatever ice you like, in any size. Pebble ice makes for a great display in the glass, but cocktail ice works just as nicely!
Step 1: Fill your preferred glass with ice.
Step 2: Pour 1 ounce of strawberry syrup into the glass.
Step 3: Add soda water to the glass, filling ¾ full.
Step 4: Carefully layer 1 ounce of cream or milk on top of the soda water.
Step 5: Top your soda with whipped cream.
Step 6: Garnish with a strawberry and serve immediately.
Hint: While you can use store-bought syrup, the flavor of the soda is much more amplified when you make a fresh strawberry simple syrup!
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🍽️ How to serve this strawberry Italian soda
- pool parties or barbecues - this soda is perfect for spring or summer outdoor gatherings! It is quick to make, and impressive to serve. You can mix the base of simple syrup and soda water in a pitcher, and then top it with cream or milk as you serve it to your guests.
- brunch - this drink is great for brunches! You can add vodka if you want to serve it spiked, or you can serve it as a mocktail in a champagne glass or coupe for a fun twist.
- movie night - this is the perfect after-dinner drink for a movie night in! Might I recommend the Pixar movie Luca while sipping on this strawberry soda?! 😌 🇮🇹
- spiked - add in 1 - 2 ounces of vodka to spike this soda!
ℹ️ troubleshooting tips
- Using a non-dairy milk may affect the coloring of this beverage, but since such a small amount of milk or cream is added, it shouldn’t affect the texture much.
- You can adjust the level of syrup you use based on your preference, but in order to get a nice, bright pink color, you’ll want to use at least 1 tablespoon of syrup for a 12 - 16 ounce serving of the beverage.
- Be sure to use soda water, or seltzer water, for this soda recipe. You can substitute club soda. Sparkling mineral water or tonic water will alter the flavor of the soda.
⚖️ scaling tips
- This recipe is easy to scale up or down based on your needs. The recipe below makes one serving. Simply enter how many servings you would like to scale it up!
- If you want to make a pitcher of these sodas, I recommend mixing the syrup and soda water first, shortly before serving, to maintain maximum fizziness. Simply top each beverage with milk or cream before serving.
🔆 top tip
While whipped cream and a strawberry are optional garnishes, they make the beverage much more of a treat to enjoy!
Missing an ingredient? No problem. Check out these tried-and-true substitutions, or comment below with your question. I’m here to help you troubleshoot!
- milk - instead of cream, you can use whole milk, half and half, or your favorite non-dairy milk. Oat milk, almond milk, or coconut milk would work great!
- store-bought syrup - use a store-bought syrup if you can’t make your own, of if you don’t want to! I recommend using Torani syrup or Monin syrup if you are opting for a store-bought syrup. There are also sugar-free options available if you are limiting your sugar consumption.
Feeling like a rebel?! 😈 Feel free to stray from the recipe card using these variations, or leave me a comment with your own!
- minty - add in a few leaves of fresh mint and muddle it with the strawberry syrup to put a minty twist on this soda.
- different fruit- You can customize this soda with any simple syrup you like! Try it with blueberry simple syrup, pineapple simple syrup, or even passion fruit simple syrup!
🧰 equipment needed
- beverage glass - you’ll need a glass that can hold up to 12 ounces for this recipe.
- cocktail mixing spoon - this is an optional piece of equipment. If you want to mix the strawberry syrup with the soda water before adding in the cream, you can do so easily with a cocktail mixing spoon!
- straw - sip this beverage through a straw for maximum nostalgia. If you want to amp up the fun, you can use a silly straw! I love using these silicone straws from GIR, because they are easy to clean in the dishwasher, and they don’t stain or retain odors.
Because this soda is effervescent and contains milk or cream, it is best to enjoy it shortly after making it. I don’t recommend storing this soda for later.
Italian soda is made from combining soda water, or seltzer water, with a flavored syrup, like simple syrup. Sometimes cream or milk is added to give it a luxurious, velvety flavor. You may see Italian sodas with cream be called a “cremosa.”
Italian sodas are not much different than American sodas. Sometimes, they have actual juices in them instead of being artificially flavored. However, they still may contain syrups or flavorings that are shelf-stable, and not freshly made.
Italian sodas were claimed to be invented by Ezilda and Rinaldo Torre in San Francisco in the 1920’s. They rode the wave of popularity of soda fountains, and introduced the Italian soda as their variation on popular soda-fountain favorites.
If you make this recipe, please leave a review in the comments and a star rating!
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Strawberry Italian Soda
- 1 highball glass
- 1 straw
- 1 ounce strawberry simple syrup
- 6 ounces soda water unflavored
- 1 ounce heavy cream substitute whole milk or half and half
- ice to fill glass
- Fill your preferred glass with ice.
- Pour 1 ounce of strawberry syrup into the glass.
- Add soda water to the glass, filling ¾ full.
- Carefully layer 1 ounce of cream or milk on top of the soda water.
- Garnish with whipped cream and a strawberry.
- Drizzle on additional strawberry syrup if desired, and serve immediately with a straw.
🧯food safety and other information
Food safety is an important ingredient in any recipe for success! Here are some tips to keep you safe in the kitchen!
- The terms “artificial flavors” tend to be a little polarizing. Truthfully, natural flavors aren’t much different than artificial flavors. All it means is that the flavors come from a naturally derived substance.
So, while you don’t find a “blue raspberry” growing in the wild, the flavor of blue raspberry is still man-made, just as much as a strawberry flavor would be. You can read more about natural and artificial flavorings here. Here is more information from the FDA about making sure that maple syrup you love actually contains maple syrup, not just maple flavoring.