This Cardamom Blood Orange Italian Soda with Cream (often called a French soda) is my current favorite midday treat. Bright, sparkling, and reminiscent of a creamsicle, this homemade orange cream soda recipe is a booze-free libation I can get behind!
About This Recipe
I don’t know about you, but come about 3pm on a workday my body and mind start begging for a break. Rather than reach for another cup of coffee (because, let’s be honest, that can keep me up WAY past my bedtime), I’ve started to seek out tasty treats that won’t destroy my circadian rhythm.
Enter this gorgeous, two-toned Cardamom Blood Orange Italian Cream Soda. It is at once refreshing and luxurious thanks to a delightful blend of effervescence and a rich mouthfeel. If you need a little extra something to treat yourself with, my friends, homemade blood orange cream soda is IT!
The blood orange soda has citrusy brightness that pairs beautifully with the herbal warmth of my cardamom syrup. Add a splash of half-and-half, and the drink suddenly becomes a moment of celebration in my day – like a cocktail at happy hour, but without any boozy side effects!
What is Italian Soda? What about French Soda?
To make an Italian soda, all you need is the flavored syrup of your choice (here are more than 15 recipes to tickle your tastebuds) and either club soda or the sparkling mineral water of your choice.
Adding a generous splash of half-and-half (or a non-dairy creamer option) turns said Italian soda into what is either called a French soda or an Italian cream soda. No matter which country you give credit to, the results are always both stunning and delicious.
For this Cardamom Blood Orange French Soda recipe, you can easily purchase some premade from the store. I then added my own flair with an herbaceous cardamom simple syrup before topping it all off with cream.
Making my deliciously spiced homemade orange cream soda is a snap. Here’s everything you’ll need:
- Blood Orange Soda - Feel free to start with a high-quality soda brand like Fevertree, Lorina, or San Pellegrino to shorten your prep time.
- Cardamom Simple Syrup - Made with just equal parts sugar and water plus a few whole cardamom pods, this tasty syrup will bring a lovely complexity to this blood orange Italian soda with cream. Any leftovers can be used in cocktails or to soak cakes.
- Half & Half - I suggest using half & half instead of more viscous heavy cream as it will blend into the soda more easily. If you are dairy-free, feel free to swap in coconut cream, coconut milk, oat milk creamer, or your favorite plant-based alternative.
- Saucepan - Making simple syrup isn’t hard, but it does require a saucepan for best results. I suggest investing in a set of pots and pans with heavy, multi-layered bottoms to ensure even cooking and prevent scorching.
- Air Tight Container - If you store your simple syrup properly, it should last you for at least a month in the fridge. I suggest reaching for squeeze bottles with tops - they make measuring the syrup into a jigger or squirting it onto a cake a cleaner, more pleasant experience all around.
- Glasses - I’m a firm believer that small moments of beauty contribute to a healthier, happier life. Grab whatever glasses make you smile, whether that’s a set of mason jars or beautiful bodega glasses.
How to Make French Soda
Making this delightful blood orange Italian cream soda is as easy as 1-2-enjoy!
Make Cardamom Simple Syrup
- Pour the measured water and sugar into a saucepan and heat on medium. Cook, stirring the mixture until your sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add desired infusion ingredients – in this case ginger & cardamom pods – and continue heating for 30 seconds before removing from heat. Allow syrup to infuse for half an hour as the simple syrup cools completely
- Strain syrup into an airtight container and store in the fridge.
For my in-depth guide on infusing simple syrups with flavors, check out my post here!
Assemble Italian Cream Soda
- Fill your glass with ice and pour in the simple syrup and blood orange soda.
- Finally pour in the half-and-half, and revel at the beauty you just created. Stir until combined, then enjoy!
- Play with your base. Yes, the base of this Italian cream soda calls for blood orange soda, but there are SO MANY MORE OPTIONS! Feel free to have a little fun and swap in your own favorite flavors - grapefruit, strawberry, clementine, lemon, berry, or coconut sodas are all welcome to join the party.
- Play with your syrup. Just like with your choices for soda, the number of syrup options is basically innumerable. If cardamom isn’t your thing, or if you don’t have any pods on hand, try using a different infusion. Almond, clove, cinnamon, fig, or honey are all excellent options to pair with blood orange!
- Pour it fresh for the most bubbles. It should come as no surprise that a soda left to sit will eventually lose all its fizz. Do yourself a favor and only pour the French soda when you’re ready to enjoy it.
Frequently Asked Questions
Italian soda is made by mixing club soda or sparkling water with your choice of syrup. It can come in any number of flavors, though I am quite partial to this cardamom & blood orange number.
To turn Italian soda into French soda, all you need is a touch of half-and-half. So in short, an Italian soda is simply a flavored soda, but an Italian cream soda is actually known as a French soda.
There are actually quite a few brands that sell blood orange soda nowadays - Bundenberg, Lorina, San Pellegrino, or Fevertree are all good options.
Taste is subjective, so that really depends on who you ask. I love the complexity of the warm, herbaceous cardamom against the bright acidity of blood oranges, but maybe that’s not your favorite.
Maybe you’d prefer Lemon Lavender, Cranberry Chai, or Blackberry Lilac syrups. Or maybe you want a plain orange cream soda without any cardamom. Or literally, any other flavor combination that sounds good to you - the sky is the limit here!
If you come up with a delicious recipe for Italian Soda with Cream, let me know about it in the comments below or tag me on your Instagram posts so I can cheer you on!
More Blood Orange Recipes
- Orange Chocolate Cake with Blood Orange Buttercream
- Blood Orange Pisco Sour
- Simple Blood Orange Mimosa
- How to Make Dried Orange Slices
As always, I love seeing your creations and hearing from you! If you try this recipe, please share your creation with me on social media! You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest - for more delicious recipes sent straight to your inbox, sign up for my newsletter!
Cardamom Blood Orange Italian Soda with Cream
- Air Tight Container
Cardamom Simple Syrup
- ½ cup (100 g) Granulated Sugar
- ½ cup (120 g) Water
- 3 Cardamom Pods
Blood Orange Cardamom French Soda
- 6 oz Blood Orange Soda
- ½ oz Cardamom Simple Syrup
- 1 oz Half & Half
Cardamom Simple Syrup
- Pour your measured water and sugar into a saucepan and heat on medium.½ cup Granulated Sugar, ½ cup Water
- Cook, stirring the mixture until your sugar has completely dissolved.
- Add cardamom and continue heating for 30 seconds before removing from heat3 Cardamom Pods
- Allow syrup to infuse for half an hour as the simple syrup cools completely
- Strain syrup into an airtight container and store in the fridge
Blood Orange Cardamom French Syrup
- Fill your glass with ice and pour in the blood orange soda, and your cardamom syrup, stirring gently to combine.6 oz Blood Orange Soda, ½ oz Cardamom Simple Syrup
- Finally, pour in the half-and-half, stir until combined and enjoy!1 oz Half & Half