The secret menu drink you didn't know you could order at Olive Garden

At first glance, Olive Garden seems like your friendly neighborhood eatery. A casual dining, Italian-inspired refuge in the face of a bleak culinary landscape, Olive Garden shines like a beacon of hope, breadsticks, and never ending pasta bowls. But is there more to this restaurant than meets the eye? Do Olive Garden's ties to the Old World extend beyond their alfredo recipe (which was itself, no doubt, forged in the fires of Roman kitchens and handed down through generations of Italian nonnas, before it reached the restaurant chain's dining rooms in Wichita and Sacramento)? Is there, in fact, a secret menu in every Olive Garden, hidden in a vault and defended by the Swiss Guard, who are sworn to protect it? 

Well, no. But if you know what to ask for, your server might bring you a brightly-colored soda, and that's always fun. It turns out that an Italian soda, though not on the official menu, is a totally reasonable request at your local Olive Garden (via Reader's Digest). That's because all Olive Gardens offer a selection of hot drinks (cappuccinos, lattes, and the like) made with Lavazza coffee. But if you've ever ordered a flavored latte, you know that it's not the flavor of the beans you're interested in — it's the syrup.

Olive Garden's secret drink is all in the syrups

Along with heaping piles of breadstick baskets, most Olive Gardens have a shelf of flavored syrups for when customers order, say, a caramel apple latte, or even a peach iced tea. And though you won't find it on any menu, you can still enjoy sipping on an Italian soda while at Olive Garden. This sweet treat is made by simply adding an ounce of syrup to a glass of club soda or sparkling water (via Torani). Ipso facto, every Olive Garden with flavored syrups should be able to make you a classic Italian soda. 

If you want to get wild, you could even ask for an Italian cream soda; which, according to All Recipes, is essentially the same thing, but with a floater of half-and-half on top. Just remember when you're ordering: as with all of Olive Garden's secrets, you should tread carefully (and ask nicely).