The Surprising Truth About Italian Soda

Italian soda is a fun, fizzy, handcrafted soft drink that people of all ages love to sip on year round. It's refreshing. It's flavorful. It's bubbly. It's nostalgia-inducing. It's authentically Italian. Well, actually...

Despite its name and contrary to popular belief, Italian soda is not truly Italian. That's right — according to Basta Pasta, Italian soda is not actually a product of Italy, and you certainly won't find it on any true Italian café's menu. In fact, this popular beverage originated in the United States nearly a century ago.

The beloved effervescent drink was first crafted by Torani, the California-based company known for its extensive variety of flavoring syrups. According to Baconfest Chicago, in 1925, Torani founders Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre — who were, in fact, an immigrant couple from Lucca, Italy — introduced their famous syrups to the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. According to the Torani website, the first available flavors (which are based on an Italian recipe) were Anisette, Grenadine, Lemon, Orgeat, and Tamarindo. The Torres then began adding these syrups to soda water to concoct a delectable drink, which they sold to cafes and from their grocery store.

What comprises an Italian soda?

Italian soda's super-simple recipe is likely what made it such a big hit in America. It's incredibly easy to make and can be enjoyed virtually anywhere at any time. According Art of Drink, the three primary ingredients of an Italian soda are soda water, ice, and a flavored syrup of the drinker's choosing. Available flavors by Torani include an innovative and diverse selection of fruits, spices, and those that strongly resemble favorite foods — from blackberry, blood orange, and cherry; to lavender, peppermint, and cinnamon; to cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and peanut butter. And concerned with your sugar intake, there are plenty of sugar-free flavors to choose from!

Since Italian soda does not naturally contain any alcohol or caffeine, it's a great option for children and non-drinkers. Next time you're enjoying an brightly colored Italian soda to cool down or feel a bit nostalgic, you will know the interesting origin of the fizzy, flavorful drink!