October 17, 2012

Recipe 19 - Lemon Water Soda (Homemade Sprite)

When I was a kid, I never believed the Sprite commercials when they said that it was supposed to be a lemon-lime flavor.  They did almost have me fooled into thinking that there was such thing as a "lymon", though.
I always thought that Sprite, 7-up, and other lemon-lime clones were sort of flavorless.  They were sweet, they were clean, they were refreshing, but they weren't distinctly lemon or lime.  Then one day as a child I tasted club soda and it brought everything into context.

Snap to 25 years later, and here's my take on the clear citrus beverage.  Sweetened, carbonated, lemon-water.  I do enjoy a lemon in my water from time to time, and I thought it would be a good match to other green-bottled clear citrus sodas.  It is perhaps the simplest soda next to plain club soda (carbonated water).
You'll Need:

1 Lemon
1 lb sugar
1 tsp Citric Acid , or additional 2 tbsp lemon juice
1 gallon (4 L) carbonated water

The great thing about this is that you can add as much syrup to your carbonated water or as little as you want and it will always taste great (well, within reason).  What I've outlined here is a pretty decent match to the commercial versions, but without the lime.

First, zest the lemon and steep the zest in about 1 cup of water.  You should get a pretty good yellow color, with it, too.  Unfortunately, this doesn't necessarily show up in the finished product.

Next, Strain out your lemon zest/peel, and add your sugar directly to the water that you've used to steep the lemon in.  I normally invert my sugar to get more sweetness out of it, but this comes out nicely without the inversion.  Using pure cane sugar comes out a little clearer, and a little less syrupy, but you do end up with the same amount of calories for less sweetness for those making their own soda for health reasons.  You can obviously always use less sugar for a less sweet drink, also.

To top it off, you'll need to add some tartness.  Again, you can add as much or as little as you'd like depending on your tastes.   For a crisp, clean drink, Citric Acid can be found online or at some health food or specialty food stores.  If you prefer, you can use Lemon or Lime juice, as they are great sources for citric acid, but you will need to add more, and they will add more lemon/lime flavor and some cloudiness.

Add this syrup to your carbonated water and there you have it.  This makes syrup for about 1 gallon of finished beverage depending on how sweet or lemony you want to end up with.


  1. My dentist is always preaching about staying away from the dark pops, drink the clear ones. Well we don't like them and they sure don't taste like no lemons to me either.

    1. Your dentist is probably telling you to stay away from dark pops (I'm guessing he/she is referring to brown ones, I don't see fruity ones being any more problematic for your teeth than clear ones) because cola has phosphoric acid, which is a stronger acid than the citric acid in most other pop. In a more concentrated form, phosphoric acid is used to remove rust from the hulls of ships.
      Some root beers have phosphoric acid, too, but not many.
      If your pop drinking habit is detrimental to your teeth, it's a sure sign you're probably drinking too much. Diet pops with no phosphoric acid would be on the better end of the "bad for your teeth" spectrum with full sugar colas on the worse end.

  2. Replies
    1. Milton,
      These are from a defunct brewery in PA. They used to hold Nittany Ale, but I scrubbed some of the lettering off of them, see some of my earlier posts such as the Bottle Sources post from Feb. 2011 or a post about Prep from Jun 2010. I picked these bottles up 3-4 years ago on a special deal through Midwest Supplies after the brewery liquidated them. I don't believe anyone still has any available, but you can still get cobalt swing-top (or EZ Cap as they are sometimes called) bottles through several homebrew supply shops.

  3. First off, thank you for this. I know it's an old article but I wanted to comment. This is the first drink I've made with my Fizzini that I've actually liked. I've tried a few Sodastream syrups and a few home brew recipes and I haven't liked any of them enough to retry any of them. I'm happy to find something I can make with it that I actually like so it's not just sitting the drawer collecting dust.

    I've been a die-hard dark soda drinker all of my life. I recently decided to cut out dark soda & caffeine as much as possible, this recipe makes it a little more fun.

    1. I'm glad that you were able to put your Fizzini to good use and that you liked the recipe! Thanks for the comment regardless of the post's age. If you like this one, check out the coconut lime, or the cherry limeade.

  4. Hi, do I have to boil water before adding the lemon or just cold water works? And how long do I have to keep the zest in water before strain?

    Also, how long the syrup can be stored as sodastream are 1L bottles.


    1. Hot water works best for drawing out the citrus flavors, I don't think you'd get the flavor impact with cold water. How long you leave it in depends on how much flavor you want. At minimum you'd want to go 10 min or so, but anything past an hour probably won't be beneficial.

    2. Syrup can usually be stored refrigerated for up to six weeks. If it starts to go cloudier or lose flavor then it's past its prime.

    3. Thanks for your answer! By the way, I just bought your book.. Looking forward to make some great syrup recipes. I'll try the Spruce Beer for sure!

  5. There are lots of benefits of lemon for our health..You also mentioned some of them very well..Keep it up


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