Sometimes a soda is just the thing. The sweetness and the fizz quench thirst and satisfy that jonesing for something fizzy.
But there are ways you can indulge your thirst and your craving without padding up your calories – and you don’t need artificial sweeteners either.
I’m a fan of club soda, especially the ones a Trader Joe’s. The price is right – under a dollar – and you can get plain, lemon-, lime- and mandarin-flavored. But any club soda or sparkling water will do – store brand or otherwise, plain or juiced with a tang of lemon or lime.
A lot of people don’t like the flavor of club soda (I won’t share some of the descriptions I’ve heard because they are less than appetizing) but its blandness is actually a good thing.
Just add your favorite fruit juice, and for maximum benefit, go for a beverage with 100 percent fruit juice. It’s fun to experiment with combinations so the soda fix never loses its pop.
At first I mixed juice and club soda half and half, but now I only use about one-third fruit juice. The Trader Joe’s club sodas and juice options are excellent. (Yes, I’m biased — but only because I love the products.)
Here are some fun combinations, but it’s only limited to your imagination.
Lime seltzer-cranberry juice cocktail-splash of lime juice: This is mildly sweet with that nice citrus tang. Almost like drinking a virgin Cosmopolitan. An orange- or mandarin-flavored club soda would also mix well with this and be slightly more true to a Cosmopolitan flavor.
Lemon seltzer-strawberry lemonade-dash of lemon juice: A nice take on a jazzier lemonade. Any kind of lemonade would work, either plain or fruit-enhanced (blackberry or cherry lemonade). You can also lower the calories of such a cocktail by using a stevia-sweetened lemonade. More bang for your caloric buck that way.
Lemon seltzer-peach juice cocktail. This is surprisingly fun and refreshing. There are many fruit-juice cocktails out there: Most have a combination of peach, grape, apple and other assorted juices. Read the ingredients list to make sure there’s no high-fructose corn syrup and look for a juice combination that appeals. A splash of ginger ale or ginger beer works well in a peach-pear soda combo. A dash of lemon would harmonize as well.
Above are only three general combinations. It’s up to you to find what appeals to your taste buds and you can decide how much juice and soda you want in the mix. Part of the fun is experimenting and finding new flavor combinations you love.
And of course, if you want lower-calorie cocktails, a bit of vodka or rum would transition the drink into grownup territory quite nicely.