Oh my goodness!!! This was such a fluke but honestly, it's one of my all-time favorite drink creations. It has no cream inside whatsoever I chose this name because of the use of vanilla cane sugar to give it that "creamy" element. When I first made this beverage, I was just playing around with flavors as I usually do. What I tasted blew me away and after several additional times making this, I decided to turn it into a blog post and share it with everyone.
This drink has such a rich flavor, which it gets from the cane sugar in the simple syrup. Ginger adds an extra kick and gives the drink a little extra zip at the very end. Sweet, fresh-squeezed orange juice gives this refreshing drink an over-the-top element that store-bought cream sodas simply cannot beat.
Some history behind cream soda
So as I was developing this recipe I got to thinking...what makes cream soda "creamy?" The thought behind this is the reason I chose to name this drink cream soda. As it turns out, most major manufacturers rely on vanilla flavoring to give the drink that specific flavor as opposed to cream but that isn't how it's always been. Read more about the history here: I found it to be quite interesting. https://www.bonappetit.com/story/cream-soda-history
About the ingredients
Let's start off with the oranges...Cara Cara oranges are what I used when I first made this recipe and the result was mind-blowing. Those, however, are only in season for a period of time (usually January until April). They offer the sweetest juice and the flavor paired with the other ingredients yields an amazing outcome. A close second is the Valencia orange-these are great for juicing specifically. Lastly, if neither of the aforementioned is available, the Navel orange can be used, just keep in mind that you may need to purchase more oranges for the amount of juice needed. Also, generally speaking, some oranges are more tart than others and this could adversely affect the level of sweetness. The key to making this homemade orange syrup is the fresh ingredients. They make a huge difference in the overall flavor profile of the drink. For this reason, I would not suggest using ground ginger, or mint in any form other than fresh, right on the stem. Furthermore, store-bought orange juice is not compatible with this recipe, use the real thing!
Making the Simple Syrup
This can be done in 2 ways- quickly or over time. Infusing the ginger water over a period of about thirty minutes on high heat allows the flavors to develop, thus giving it the flavor profile it needs to come through in the drink. Alternatively, simmering the water on medium-low heat for about an hour allows the ginger flavor to become even bolder. If you really want to take in all of the ginger flavor and make the drink a bit spicier, go for the first method.
Roughly slice the ginger (you can leave the skin on or off as you will be removing the ginger from the water). Either way, make sure the ginger is rinsed thoroughly before this process so it can be rid of any dirt or debris. Add the water and chopped ginger to a small saucepan and boil over medium-high heat for 15- 20 minutes. Keep a close eye on the water level during this time. Have a heat-safe measuring cup nearby- you’ll want to make sure you have one and a half cups of water after this process so you will need to measure accordingly. Add in the mint and sugar once you've reached one and a half cups. You will continue to reduce the liquid until you reach one cup-this should take approximately 10 minutes, simmering on medium heat.
The mixture should have thickened. Remove the mint and ginger using a slotted spoon or strainer. Allow time to cool completely.
Layering the drink
If you like ice, add it first. Then add the fresh-squeezed orange juice, simple syrup, and lastly the topo chico. Don’t forget to stir everything together for that finishing touch. The end result is a refreshing, sweet, slightly spicy beverage that tastes just like cream soda except in a much improved homemade version.Print
Homemade Orange Cream Soda is a gentle mix of bold flavors, it's refreshing and bubbly with notes of orange, ginger, mint, and vanilla.
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups water, (will be reduced to 1 cup after simmering)
1 cup cane sugar
1 thumb-length portion of fresh ginger, sliced
12 ounces fresh-squeezed orange juice
1 bottle topo chico
1 small handful of fresh mint
- Start with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil and add sliced ginger. Boil until liquid has reduced by a quarter, this should take about 20 minutes. Measure with a liquid measuring cup to ensure there is 1 and a half cups. Reduce heat to medium and add sugar; stir to dissolve.
- Add mint and continue cooking liquid until it has reduced to one cup, it should have thickened should coat the back of a spoon. Remove ginger and mint before stirring in vanilla extract. Allow mixture to cool completely.
- Squeeze juice from oranges
- Use half of everything to make each drink, half of the simple syrup, half of the orange juice, and half a bottle of Topo Chico.
*This drink makes two servings which equals only one bottle of Topo Chico. For more servings, simply double, triple etc. ingredient amounts.
If doubling recipe for example, use 4 cups of water, reduce it to 2.5 cups and then add 2 cups of sugar while continuing to reduce until you reach 2 cups of liquid.