basil italian soda / by Maci Britt

It’s finally that time of year where I want to drink cold, bright, fizzy drinks in the afternoon (preferably outside, in the sun) instead of hot chocolate or coffee. Rejoice! :)

Watermelon lemonade will always be a favorite. Also cherry limeadeIced coffee is great too, even if it isn’t fizzy. I’m looking forward to exploring even more fun flavors this spring/summer.

Lately, I’ve been especially loving the convenience of Italian sodas. A bit of forethought is required to make the simple syrups, but once they’re in the fridge, a delicious beverage is only 2 more ingredients away. (Always keep at least one bottle of sparkling water on hand!)

This particular flavor, basil, is one of my favorites. I first had it at Elmwood Cafe, where they make all of their syrups in-house, everything from vanilla bean to lavender to meyer lemon. It’s hard to choose one flavor, but the basil tastes really good with a chocolate financier [insert sheepish emoji].

I finally made some of my own basil syrup this week, in an effort to rescue basil that got just a little too cold in the fridge. Luckily it’s taste wasn’t affected, though this will be even better in the summer when the basil plants are bursting with leaves :)

So here’s to the weekend! I hope you find some time to sit in the sun with a friend (of the book or human variety, it doesn’t matter) and an Italian soda.

basil italian soda

[ makes enough syrup for about two to three sodas ]

for the basil syrup: 

½ cup organic sugar

½ cup boiling water

½ cup packed basil leaves, washed and torn

for the soda:

2-3 tablespoons basil syrup

¾ - 1 cup sparkling water

Ice cubes 

Combine the boiling water and sugar in a bowl and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. Add the basil leaves and stir. Steep the basil in the syrup for 15 minutes, then pour the mixture through a sieve into a glass jar to remove the basil leaves. Chill before using.

To make the soda, pour the syrup into the bottom of a glass. Place several cubes of ice into the glass, then top with sparkling water. Stir with a straw before drinking.