Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mofo Noshtalgia: Unlimited Italian Sodas!

watching Mom get out the Torani syrups

When my brother and I were little, sometimes my mom would make us something really special: "Italian Sodas." It was basically fizzy water with a spoonful of flavored Torani syrup added in. In the corner of their kitchen is the liquor cabinet - filled with bottles of all shapes and sizes and colors. Very mysterious and exciting. That's also where they kept the Torani syrups.

I not sure if "Italian Sodas" are an actual thing, or if it's just something we did. I think mostly those syrups are used in coffee drinks these days, but I still haven't tried that. As a kid, my favorite flavors for Italian Sodas were Raspberry, Lemon, Lime, and Anisette. That Anisette flavor was so special. It's kinda weird that I remember that one as my most favorite flavor, because it's definitely not a very kid-friendly flavor. I think it must just be that my parents were so excited about it, and their enthusiasm must have been infectious. 
At some point in my youth - I am totally hazy on the details here - one of the local cafes held a Limerick Contest. There were different categories, and different prizes... One of the prizes was really amazing - something like free coffee for a year. I think it was one free espresso drink every week for a year. Anyhow, little youth-Amey entered that limerick contest, and guess what? I won! In particular, I won that amazing prize!

But I was just a kid. I didn't drink espresso! So, the people who ran the cafe offered me Italian Sodas for a year. Or maybe it was 50 Italian Sodas. I really don't remember, except that as a kid it felt like an infinite and unfathomable motherload of a prize. It was a really cool cafe, in a pretty spot right by the bookstore, and it was a nice place to be. I recall that I had a little punch card, and I could just walk up to the counter and order my free Italian soda. They had lots of syrups on hand there, so I had many choices to choose from. It was totally rad.

I'm sorry to report that I have no memory or written record of my award-winning limerick. 

Boy, it has been a seriously long time since I had an Italian Soda.

Driven by the spirit of Noshtalgia, I decided to make myself an Italian Soda. This involved a totally awesome first-time trip to BevMo. Damn, they have everything there! Actually, they have a lot of things, but they don't have Anisette flavored Torani syrup, unfortunately. So, I went with my childhood second choice and bought a bottle of the raspberry syrup. Yesterday was pretty hot, and I rode my bike home after a two-hour yoga class... with visions of Italian Sodas in my heart.

Kiddo Amey & J.D.

Wow, it really 100% hit the spot. Somewhat to my surprise, this was one of the more powerful noshtalgia experiences I've had. The flavor was so familiar, and also so distant... something I hadn't had in so long. It took me right back to the good ol' days of drinking Italian sodas with my first dog, JD by my side. I was thinking I would give the bottle of syrup to my mom after I did this post (she still makes Italian Sodas for her grandkids)... but it turns out that I really liked my Italian soda. And I kinda want some more. For now, I'm hanging on to that bottle.

don't miss my

There once was a blogger who drew doodles
She loved to draw veggies and dogs and noodles
So she made a contest
Which wasn't in jest
For readers to win drawings of themselves and their poodles!

two winners will be chosen on the last day of VeganMoFo


  1. I get these at our local coffee shop. I'd never had one until then but I love them.

  2. There was a local coffee shop I used to get these at when I was a kid! I haven't had one in at least a decade, but I might need to make myself one now. :)

  3. There was a cute family on Grant Street.
    Some members had two feet, some four feet.
    They all played together,
    no matter the weather.
    They frolicked in sun, rain, or sleet.

  4. I love Italian sodas! I made myself one a few months ago when I was at home sick and ran out of tea and it was really weirdly comforting.

  5. I remember thinking Italian Sodas were so EXOTIC when I was little. Until I started to work at a coffee shop and learned how to make it. It was one of those "That's it?" moments. lol I remember liking caramel the best.

  6. I haven't had an Italian soda in about 17 years! Now I'm really craving one!

  7. I never had Italian sodas growing up, but I used to love this anisette candy that only my grandpa and one other person I knew liked. I bet it would make a great soda too!

  8. That is the best story ever! You must have felt like a queen! ; ) I think the only italian sodas I have had are bottled ones from Trader Joes.

  9. Little Amey and J.D. look so sweet together! I didn't know about the concept of Italian sodas but I'd love to try the anise-flavoured one.


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