The first time I heard of Italian cream soda (also known as French soda, apparently) was a few years ago – but I didn’t try one until last summer (a strawberry balsamic one which was insanely delicious!). I was hesitant at first. A fruit syrup, sparkling water and… cream? Yes, indeed. The cream part is what struck me as odd. I’m wondering why I was so surprised, they’re all such wonderful wonderful things. To my surprise, they were even more wonderful together. Best of all is of course, it’s super easy to make. You can use just about any fruit or berry. AND you can also add a shot of vodka or rum for a grown-up version 🙂
If you can’t find half and half cream in your country, you can make your own by mixing equal parts milk and cream. If you’re in Sweden, you can use ‘Kaffegrädde’ which is about 10% fat. Replace half and half cream with coconut milk to make a dairy free version.
- 150 g rhubarb, chopped (1 1/4 cups, about 2 stalks)
- 1/2 inch (1,25 cm) fresh ginger, finely chopped
- 180 g (3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp) granulated sugar
- 200 ml (3/4 cup + 1 1/2 tbsp) water
- 1/2 vanilla bean
- sparkling water
- half and half cream or coconut milk
- Put rhubarb, ginger, sugar and water in a saucepan. Split the vanilla bean and scrape out the seeds. Add seeds and bean to the saucepan. Let mixture come to a boil, then let simmer for about 10 minutes until rhubarb is soft.
- Mash the rhubarb. Strain mixture over a bowl. The compote that is left in the strainer can be eaten with some milk, or used to top oatmeal. Pour the syrup back into the saucepan together with the vanilla bean. Let come to a boil agan and let simmer for an additional 10 minutes or until slighly reduced and thickened. Set aside to cool completely. Remove the vanilla bean.
- When the syrup is cool – put ice in a glass. Top with 3-4 tbsp syrup. Fill upp with sparkling water and half & half or coconut milk to your liking. I used about 150 ml sparkling water and 50-75 ml cream for each glass, but it’s totally up to you. If using full fat coconut milk, use a bit less – maybe 2-3 tbsp. Mix with a spoon or a straw and enjoy!