When I started this kitchen project, I was surprised to discover that cream soda doesn’t actually contain any cream. It seems like it should, doesn’t it? Although commercial cream sodas are probably made with artificial flavors, “cream soda” flavor is really easy to create with just sugar, lemon, and vanilla.
The only out of the ordinary things you’ll need are a vanilla bean (I bought a bunch here for way cheaper than in stores), and a candy thermometer.
Cream Soda Syrup
(Recipe adapted slightly from here)
2 cups white sugar
1 lemon, juiced
1 vanilla bean
Seltzer water, for serving
Ice, for serving
Add sugar to a medium non-reactive saucepan with 1/4 cup water and stir to combine. Cook over medium high heat until a candy thermometer reads 280°F, and the sugar is amber and caramelized.
Add 2 cups of room temperature water and the lemon juice to the sugar. The mixture will bubble and splatter, so be careful. Once the mixture calms, stir until smooth. Split the vanilla bean in half, scrape the seeds into the mixture, and add the split bean. Bring mixture to a boil then turn off the heat and let steep for at least 1 hour.
Pour syrup through a fine mesh basket strainer into a clean bowl. Discard solids.
To serve, pour 1.5 Tablespoons of syrup into a glass with ice. Top off with 8 oz of seltzer water and gently stir.
I think the vanilla flecks add old-timey authenticity, but if you want to get rid of them you can strain your mixture through a cheesecloth and/or coffee filter.
If you’re in the mood for something a bit more grown-up, how about a cream soda cocktail?
Root Beer Cream Soda Cocktail
1 oz cream soda syrup
1 oz Root (a root-beer flavored liqueur)
4 oz. seltzer water
In a glass, combine cream soda syrup with Root. Add ice and seltzer water, stir, and serve.