What is the Difference Between Italian Soda and Regular Soda?

  • By: Max S.
  • Date: October 19, 2022
  • Time to read: 5 min.

Italy is the birthplace of many food and beverages, however, ironically, Italian soda is not one of those creations. Surprisingly, Italian soda originates from San Francisco, where Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre of Torani used flavored syrups, sparkling water, and sugar to create tasty soft drinks that have become very popular nationwide.

Due to their simple ingredients and process, the syrupy feel of Italian soda on the taste buds can be pretty obvious. And because of the numerous flavors of the syrup, such as lemon, raspberry, cherry, peach, and mango, this drink appeals to a wide range of soda lovers.

You may wonder why Italian sodas are popular drinks in coffee houses since coffee and soda are not typical associates. To explain, the reason is that most flavored syrups used in making flavored coffee drinks are also present in Italian and French sodas. 

The latter is similar in many ways to the root beer cream soda float, which combines root beer and cream soda, as it is made by adding cream to Italian soda, also known as Italian cream soda.

Popular beverage companies that produce Italian sodas include Galvanina and A’ Siciliana, among others. Also, different Torani syrup flavorings are available in grocery stores and retail coffee shops so that you can effortlessly produce your homemade version of the soda.

So, what is the difference between regular soda and Italian soda?

For one, Italian soda is not as sweet as your regular soda. While regular sodas are sweetened with various additives and contain many artificial ingredients, Italian soda is not very sweetened and has mostly natural flavors. Consequently, the syrupy and mostly natural flavor of the soft drink takes center stage in taste.

Secondly, many regular sodas contain caffeine, but Italian sodas do not and can be said to be healthier than your regular soda.

Thirdly, Italian sodas are available in a wide variety of flavors which may not be easily accessible as regular sodas.

Why is it Called an Italian Soda?

two glasses of italian soda

Many people associate Italian soda with Italy, but even though these sodas are now sold in the country, they did not originate from there. However, Italian soda has roots in Italy. The original recipes for the flavored syrups of Italian soda came from Lucca, Italy, and were introduced in San Francisco, California, in 1925.

A popular explanation for its name is that it was named that way to distinguish it from regular sodas, but this explanation has not been confirmed and probably never will.

Although it is not officially known why it is called Italian soda, as the creators are from that part of Europe and the recipe for the syrups came from the same country, it’s no surprise that it is called Italian soda.

Additionally, It is important to note that it is not called Italian soda in Italy.

Is Italian Soda Real Soda?

Yes, Italian soda is real soda. Like any regular soda, the soft drink is made from carbonated water, flavorings, and sweeteners. But in the case of Italian soda, naturally flavored syrups are used, and fewer sweeteners and additives are used in the production.

Also, the soda has more flavors but is still as much a real soda as Dr Pepper. However, while this soda has different tastes in separate drinks, Dr Pepper uses numerous flavors to create its one unique drink. You can read more about it here.

What is Special About Italian Soda?

Italian soda is a simple and easy-to-make drink made from 3 basic ingredients: club soda, flavored syrups, and sugar. The syrups come in a wide variety of flavors which include fruit flavors and flavors of desserts, foods, and other beverages.

In addition to the 3 ingredients listed above, adding crushed ice and cream will make the soda taste even better and look more appealing. This soda does not contain as many artificial ingredients as your regular soda and may be considered healthier.

When was Italian Soda created?

two glasses of italian soda on a table

This soda was introduced into the United States in 1925 by an Italian immigrant family in San Francisco, California. The story goes that the family would mix their soda recipe, which at the time was mainly coffee flavorings from Italy, in the back room of their grocery store.

And over time, this nourishing soda has been popularized and integrated into the American and European markets with ready-made brands of the product.

What was the First Italian Soda?

three different types of italian soda

The first Italian soda was created almost 100 years ago, a considerably long time for a beverage; this makes it only a few decades younger than Coca-cola, Pepsi, and Dr Pepper in production. R. Torre and Company Inc. created the first Italian soda initially with five flavored syrups, which are: Lemon, Orgeat, Grenadine, Anisette, and Tamarindo.

After years of growth and expansion, there are various flavors of Italian soda that include fruits, foods, and even dessert flavors. The simple make-up of this soda encourages experimentation and new ideas with its formulation, which is why manufacturers are adding many flavors to club soda to discover the next great taste of Italian soda.

What are the Most Popular Italian Soda Flavors?

glass of italian soda cocktail

Although the first flavors of the Italian soda were Lemon, Orgeat, Grenadine, Anisette, and Tamarindo, these flavors phased out over time. And even though some of the initial flavors are still distributed by popular brands, most of them are no longer being produced.

The most popular flavored syrups you can buy or use to make your Italian soda are strawberry, cherry, chocolate, vanilla, caramel, peach, raspberry, and rosemary. Also, your soda will taste better by garnishing with fresh fruits, fresh berries, candy, chocolate chips, sprinkles, and of course, whipped cream.

What can you Use Italian Soda for?

This soda mixes pretty well with alcoholic cocktails, and a neat mixture of Italian soda and liquor on ice will surprise your taste buds. Italian sodas are also used to make french sodas and virgin cocktails for kids’ parties


Italian sodas are non-alcoholic beverages without caffeine that are made with carbonated water, flavored syrups, and sweetened with sugar. Contrary to what the name implies, they are not Italian in their origin, at least not entirely. 

This soda offers various flavors from natural fruits, foods, and desserts, including cherry, strawberry, chocolate, and raspberry, among others. They make perfect drinks for any occasion, from ordinary sodas and virgin cocktails at kid parties to alcoholic cocktails and neat combinations at adult gatherings. 

While you explore the different flavors of this soda, make sure you stop to feel the different flavored syrups on your taste buds, and you may realize that there’s no soda like Italian soda!