Cola from a can is not the only way to drink soda. Carbonated water can be customized with the flavor of your choice—and you can use as much or as little as you like, to control sweetness. For this purpose, soypower likes Nature’s Flavors concentrates, especially the peach and grapefruit varieties. Florida Hound‘s favorites are Monin’s mandarin and tangerine syrups, ordered directly from the Monin company. “I like Monin syrups,” agrees LadyCook61. “I have 15 different flavors , which I used not just for Italian sodas but also for lemonade, ice cream, coffee, milk, even in cakes.” And “you have to get yourself some Monin Key Lime Pie!!” says Kater.

Beyond syrups, there’s the ever-popular egg cream: a mixture of milk, soda water, “just the right amount of Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup and just the right wrist action in the stirring,” says Florida Hound. Mix-ins don’t have to be sweet at all; WhatThePho says, “when we open a bottle of red wine that fails to live up to our expectations, I do spritzers! I’m not a huge sweet fiend, so these taste great to me.”

Discuss: Favorite syrup for Italian sodas?

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