Soda Drink Recipes
November 5, 2011 12:53 AM   Subscribe

I want to stop drinking Coke and other syrupy sodas. Anybody have easy ideas for soda-replacements?

I guess I'm thinking of something like 7up and a kind of fruit juice, but with something not as syrupy or artificially-tasting as 7up. A little sweet, but not as crazily sweet as most U.S.-based sodas.

Any recommendations for good, soda-like combinations? (e.g., ginger-ale + ????, seltzer + ????) I think I tried seltzer once and it was...unappealing. Or maybe it was mineral water...I can't remember.

Key issue: its mostly the over-the-top sugaryness that I don't like. Something semi-sweet and fizzy is ideal.

I've tried cutting my fruit juice with water as a substitute, but it was kind of...underwhelming.

Another caveat: I don't really want to go get a CO2 tank as suggested by a DIY site, for example. The easier this is to make, the better.

posted by The ____ of Justice to Food & Drink (48 answers total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a water man myself, but you seem to be describing something like Izze?
posted by dgaicun at 1:07 AM on November 5, 2011

I think you're pretty much describing Grown Up Soda.

I used to drink juice + sparkling water every morning. Mostly citrus, but pretty much any juice worked really well. It's like a non-alcoholic mimosa. Lately I've just been having pellegrino with slices of lemon. You could add in some simple syrup, or elderflower liquor for sweetness.

But you know about Italian sodas right? You can buy flavored syrups (like Torani or Monin) that's usually used in coffee and add sparkling water.
posted by danny the boy at 1:09 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'm rather fond of Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale. Regular sodas are too sweet and syrupy but the Schweppes is just right for my tastes.
posted by cazoo at 1:09 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Seltzer water or mineral water + juice concentrate to your desired level of sweet / fizzy. Maybe a touch of sugar too if you miss the sucrose flavor (it shouldn't take much). This is close to a middle eastern treat that used to be called a sherbet before we Americans decided the word sherbet was a synonym for sorbet.
posted by idiopath at 1:10 AM on November 5, 2011

Maybe Schweppes Bitter Lemon? I am pretty fond of the stuff.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:10 AM on November 5, 2011

Also, Dry Soda is another product that might be what you're after.
posted by danny the boy at 1:14 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

Lemon lime & bitters is sweet with a citrus bite to it -- I couldn't tell you local brands where you are but here it's in the same aisle as Coke etc and usually premixed in glass bottles. When you order it in a bar it's Sprite, a dollop of lime syrup (if you're lucky it's fresh lime juice though) and a few drops of angostura bitters.
posted by tracicle at 2:31 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

try looking in the soda aisle at a store like whole foods, you'll be surprised at the range of alternative type sodas. i love reed's ginger brew.
posted by dottiechang at 3:11 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Jamaican Ginger Beer, recipe here.
posted by lungtaworld at 3:26 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Location-sensitive question.

Look for a health store in your area, or the "alternative" corner in your [whatever: Wegman's Martin's etc.] better food store. There's a bunch of small-batch-all-cane-sugar-natural-ingredients soda available, some of which are actually really good. I'm especially thinking of this stuff, which makes my mouth water right here...

I've seen good kinds of these small-batch products at Waitrose.

Northern Europe:
You'd probably have to look for Boylan's soda in the American section of a large foodstore.
posted by Namlit at 4:14 AM on November 5, 2011

Have you tried (this is dependent on you being in the states, and not looking for all natural or organic options) those clear sodas; they're almost always in 1 liter or smaller bottles, they're sugar and caffeine free, carbonated, and usually in a variety of fruit flavors; I find them at target, walmart, and a couple of the grocery stores I go to. There's no brand to give you (except Target, I think they're archer brand there), because they seem to be a store-branded thing. I really enjoy the tangerine-lime, the lemon lime, and the mandarin orange flavors. crisp and not too sweet. The berry type flavors are usually pretty sweet.
posted by lemniskate at 4:42 AM on November 5, 2011

I'm addicted to the lightly flavored seltzer waters that Polar makes. They're not sweet at all, and they're fizzy enough to be satisfying.
posted by olinerd at 5:00 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I second olinerd. In fact, I have a can of Polar Lemon in front of me I'm working on now. I went cold-turkey on Coke (only Mexican or Passover) and Pepsi (only Throwback) and orange juice and milk (for cereal) a few months ago and promptly lost 15 pounds. So there's a risk in cutting out all that liquid sugar.
posted by RichardS at 5:24 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Another caveat: I don't really want to go get a CO2 tank as suggested by a DIY site, for example. The easier this is to make, the better.

Just get a SodaStream. It's dead simple and much cheaper than buying carbonated anything.
posted by The Michael The at 5:55 AM on November 5, 2011 [9 favorites]

Seltzer water, fresh lime juice (or lemon, or both), and honey. Stir well, or all the honey will sink to the bottom. Fresh mint is great too.
posted by raztaj at 6:05 AM on November 5, 2011

Pellegrino with fruit juice is lovely. I like to blend frozen strawberries, Pellegrino and Agave syrup for a fizzy treat. Keep your levels low and add the last bit of Pellegrino before serving so you don't fizz over your blender.

An added bonus, if you get muscle cramps, Pellegrino can help with that.

If you are looking for a caffeinated alternative, Lady Earl Grey tea is excellent. Not fizzy, but really lovely.
posted by myselfasme at 6:19 AM on November 5, 2011

Here in New England, there's a classic drink called a raspberry lime rickey. Done properly, it's fresh squeezed lime juice, raspberry syrup or puree (the classic syrup is Za-Rex, but Torani or other bar mixer syrups would work), and seltzer.
posted by maxim0512 at 6:33 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

So we get seltzer delivery in big old-fashioned glass bottles partly for this reason. What I do is, I mix a juice -- limeade, orange juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice -- with the seltzer. Depending on the sweetness of the juice, I may only put an inch of it in the glass, then fill it up with seltzer. The pressurized spout does the rest of the work for me. It ends up tasting like Orangina, but fresher.

You can do this with plain old seltzer, even if you don't like the taste of seltzer on its own. Mix it in with a dash of juice, and it's homemade soda. Using fresh-squeezed juices makes it taste like heaven.
posted by brina at 6:39 AM on November 5, 2011

Just get a SodaStream. It's dead simple and much cheaper than buying carbonated anything.

This. I had my reservations about it, too, but it's so incredibly easy and there are so many fewer plastic bottles to recycle. I skip the syrups altogether (but the grapefruit one was nice, and you can always add a splash of juice to your glass) and the best part is that I can control the fizzyness. Friends ask me for super-fizzy ("seven-pump") water.
posted by mochapickle at 7:49 AM on November 5, 2011

Friends ask me for super-fizzy ("seven-pump") water.

Four farts for me, please. (Sodastream is great, get one.)
posted by theodolite at 8:06 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

I love iced tea. Make a pot of tea - 4 tea bags, decaffeinated at my house. Make up a batch of lemonade from the frozen can. Combine. Serve over ice, if you have it. Just sweet enough, tea is sort of good for you. I bottle it up in snapple bottles or liter soda bottles to take to work.
posted by theora55 at 8:08 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Have you ever tried carbonated fruit juice? It's just a fruit juice with carbonation with nothing else added, they are delicious! They are pretty much everywhere. I know Welch's make a sparkling red or white grape juice which I've seen in big wine like bottles. Fruit 66 and Switch are two others that are really good. I'll also second the recommendation of Izze sodas.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2011

Mineral waters don't all taste the same; I would try a few different ones and maybe mix a little fruit juice or something in it. It was sort of an acquired taste for me.

I've also found that my taste buds have changed since I stopped drinking soda, I'm not really sure what happened but I love sour stuff now. The more puckery the better. I usually put a generous squeeze of lemon or lime juice in the mineral water and it actually tastes sweet to me.
posted by fromageball at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2011

I'm a big fan of La Croix flavored sparkling waters.
posted by Jacob G at 8:53 AM on November 5, 2011 [2 favorites]

The SodaStream users made me smile.

Get one. I like to use the Ocean Spray powder packets for flavoring.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:46 AM on November 5, 2011

It's not cheap, but Ayala's Herbal Water is goooood stuff - I forget which one I tried, but the flavor was really surprisingly full and well-rounded for something with no sugar added.
posted by usonian at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2011

If you make your own ginger syrup, you can mix it with seltzer to create your own ginger ale at your preferred level of sweetness/intensity.
posted by enlarged to show texture at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2011

Apple cider vinegar + sparkling water. Mix 1 part to 10.
posted by Kandarp Von Bontee at 10:12 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I just picked up a new product (at least I think it's new) at Trader Joe's yesterday - Orange Muscat Champagne Vinegar. The label says you could add it to selzer water to make a sparkly drink, which I think sounds great. It's really not a very vinegary vinegar - more tart/sweet. I haven't tried this yet but I think I will tonight. Might be worth a try!
posted by kirst27 at 10:27 AM on November 5, 2011

SodaStream is the bomb. The new machines take the typical cartridges (~70 litres) and the big new cartridges (something like 120 litres). Having sparkling water everyday has literally quadrupled my water consumption. And once you ease off the sugary sodas (even the healthy ones have a bunch of calories), the sparkling water with a bit of flavor will taste even better. Your taste buds will stop craving the sugar water - give them a chance to switch over gradually. Things you can add: ginger syrup, rhubarb syrup, dash of Pom juice, grapefruit juice, bitters, lemon/lime, a few berries, mint leaves, the list goes on!
posted by barnone at 10:41 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

South Asian, Middle Eastern, and Greek groceries have a variety of syrups to explore that make great soft drinks when mixed with carbonated water. The Indian grocery in my neighborhood sells a British-made blackcurrant syrup that mixes really nice with carbonated water. And of course, as several people are saying or implying, you can control how much sweet you get.
posted by gimonca at 11:17 AM on November 5, 2011

My source for carbonation is either Canada Dry seltzer in cans, or just store-brand club soda in plastic bottles, which can be very cheap.
posted by gimonca at 11:20 AM on November 5, 2011

Give Sierra Mist Natural a try. To me, it has a much lighter, less syrupy taste than 7up or Sprite, and is also a little less fizzy. Both the sugared and diet versions are very good.
posted by The Deej at 11:21 AM on November 5, 2011

Ribena is a British blackcurrant squash concentrate thing that tastes much much nicer and less sweet than your average blackcurrant concentrate. It goes brilliantly with fizzy water. No idea if you can find it where you are, but worth a try if you can!
posted by emilyw at 11:33 AM on November 5, 2011

Ribena is a British blackcurrant squash concentrate thing that tastes much much nicer and less sweet than your average blackcurrant concentrate.

Bingo! Checked the label, that's what I have in the fridge right now.
posted by gimonca at 11:36 AM on November 5, 2011

I've switched entirely from soda to ice-cold water with a tablespoon of lime juice in it. It's quite addictive once you get used to it.
posted by miyabo at 12:16 PM on November 5, 2011

Not sure this addresses any health-related goals, but I have become somewhat of a beer snob since cutting out soda.
posted by brackish.line at 1:12 PM on November 5, 2011

Tonic and cranberry juice at about a 4:1 ratio.
posted by RobotHero at 1:37 PM on November 5, 2011

I'm drinking a light fruit 'drink' diluted 50% with SodaStream fizzy water right now and its soooo good. I love my SodaStream, and you can get flavor packs etc to make yr own sodas, or just get some Toranis as also mentioned above.
posted by supermedusa at 1:57 PM on November 5, 2011

Soda stream with a few shakes of flavored bitters will give lots a yumminess and bubbles with no sugar.
posted by lunalaguna at 3:11 PM on November 5, 2011

I was just gonna suggest bitters. Campari and Fernet are my favorites — one's grapefruity and lovable, the other's minty and honestly sort of an acquired taste but OH YES I HAVE ACQUIRED IT.

Both have some sugar, but neither are anywhere near as sweet-tasting as 7-Up or even fruit juice.

Hibiscus iced tea with soda water is also really good. It comes out sweet-and-sour, but still not sweet enough to make your teeth itch, and it's got a ton of vitamin C if you want some sort of health justification.

Maybe also coconut water? It's not fizzy, and depending on where you live it may be expensive, but it's refreshing and only medium-sweet. Here, you can find canned coconut water cheap in the Hispanic or Oriental section of a grocery store. (There are also upscale canned versions that cost way too much and show up in fancy-ass granola-oriented places like Whole Foods, but those are not worth the cost IMO.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 5:11 PM on November 5, 2011

There's a new water flavoring that is liquid, unlike typical powders, so you don't have to stir or shake a lot. It's called Mio. There are currently 5 flavors including tea and peach tea flavors, and they are releasing 3 more soon (2 of the new ones will be caffeinated and properly labeled as such). I've found it in grocery stores as well as Walmart, by the Crystal Light. You can add as few squirts as you like.
posted by IndigoRain at 6:35 PM on November 5, 2011

I just saw some of this in my local grocery store. Might work for you as well.
posted by Jacob G at 7:15 PM on November 5, 2011

1/2 of grapefruit juice, topped up with seltzer water is a very refreshing drink - just sweet enough without being syrupy - has a bit of a bite as well.
And, as others here have said, Sodastream is the bomb. They even sell these at Bed Bath & Beyond, now. ... I'm a six-burp gal myself ... :-)
posted by Susurration at 8:18 PM on November 5, 2011

I meant 1/2" of grapefruit juice, not half and half, by the way ...
posted by Susurration at 8:18 PM on November 5, 2011

I've subbed out a lot of my soda drinking by starting to drink soda water with a splash of lemon and lime juice. When I first started this, I was using actual lemons and limes but I got lazy with time and now just use the pre-bottled stuff. Works for me.
posted by sah at 12:45 PM on November 6, 2011

I've gotta add another vote for the Sodastream, just because I was incredibly skeptical about them for a long time (I mean, really, they sell them in SkyMall!), but then my boyfriend got one for Christmas last year and now I can't believe we lived without one for so long. We have the Penguin version, which uses glass bottles instead of plastic (the boyfriend prefers the glass because he says he can taste the plastic), takes up very little counter space, and requires no electricity to operate.

I don't like plain fizzy water of any sort--and I've tried many different varieties--but I love adding a splash of cherry juice, lemon-lime juice, or ginger syrup to our home-carbonated water. I also sometimes make my own flavored or fruity syrups to the fizzy water--if you do this you can control the sweetness level and flavor intensity at either the syrup-making level or the syrup-soda-mixing level.
posted by rhiannonstone at 8:05 PM on November 6, 2011

Response by poster: These suggestions are beyond awesome, thank you folks.

Sodastream is a bit out of my budget right now, but next grocery trip is probably gonna be me with about 200 liters of different liquids banging around in my cart.

Thank you again!!!
posted by The ____ of Justice at 8:09 PM on November 6, 2011

« Older Chocolate Pumpkin Pecan Pie?   |   Preview always crashing Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.