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Vanilla soda is a vanilla-flavored soft drink. While the name vanilla soda generally refers to vanilla cream soda, it can also refer to other soft drinks that use vanilla flavor, such as vanilla cola. The basic vanilla soda recipe uses a sugary vanilla syrup and carbonated water, commonly known as soda water.
Variations on this basic recipe are plentiful and can be used to produce a wide variety of vanilla drinks. The common vanilla cream soda adds dairy cream or half and half to the basic vanilla soda recipe. This recipe is popular among home brewed soda fans.
Other variations add the pre-mixed vanilla syrup to other types of drinks to make new vanilla drinks and sodas. These variations include vanilla colas, specialty soft drinks and a few vanilla flavored alcoholic beverages. In some cases, this vanilla syrup is even used in the creation of ice cream drinks, such as milk shakes and malts.
Vanilla-flavored syrup is quite simple to make at home. One basic recipe calls for the use of sugar and water in a 2:1 ratio. When the sugar is combined with the water, it creates a cloudy mixture. This mixture is heated to boiling, dissolving the sugar completely and resulting in a clear liquid. Once the mixture has reached this clear liquid appearance, it is removed from the heat source and allowed to cool.
The cooled sugar and water mixture is a basic, unflavored soda syrup, called simple syrup, that can be used to create a wide variety of flavored drink syrup combinations. To turn simple syrup into vanilla soda syrup, vanilla extract is added to taste. Waiting for the syrup to cool prior to the addition of the vanilla extract improves the final flavor of the vanilla soda because the alcohol-based vanilla extract does not evaporate.
It is very easy to make a simple homemade vanilla soda using vanilla syrup and unflavored carbonated water. Carbonated water is commonly sold in grocery stores under the name seltzer. Vanilla soda is made by adding the vanilla syrup to carbonated water to reach the desired taste. For more flavorful variations on the basic soda, other flavored soda syrups, such as cherry, mint or orange flavored syrups, may be added as well. With a little creativity, the home soda brewer can create and enjoy exotic, flavorful and original soda-fountain style creations.
One of my favorite drinks is an Italian cream soda made with soda water and vanilla syrup. I like it with a little half and half cream mixed in, but I can also drink it straight. I was so glad to find out I could buy the vanilla syrup for Italian sodas at the grocery store, and there are vanilla cream soda recipes available online.
The first time I ever had a true vanilla soda was at a local skating rink that maintained its original 1950s snack bar. Someone told me to order a vanilla Pepsi, which turned out to be a regular Pepsi cola with a shot of vanilla syrup. I thought it was the best carbonated soda I ever had.
I tried duplicating the results by adding vanilla extract to a bottle of soda, but it wasn't the same thing. I could drink it, but it didn't have the sweetness of the vanilla syrup for soda. Vanilla cream soda is pretty good, too. What I was really happy to discover many years later were vanilla-infused Pepsi and Coca-Cola. It was the closest thing to the original skating rink vanilla Pepsi I've ever found.
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