8 soft drink recipes – with or without alcohol – to lift your spirits

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“Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory” in 1971 was one of my favorite movies when I was a kid. It still is, and until I watch it now, I am filled with a sense of wonder and what if. Chocolate River! You can lick wallpaper! But how can you get more fancy than a fizzy lift drink? This scene always made me happy, and a little envious, at least before Charlie and his grandfather got close to plunging into the fan at the top of the room.

Sadly, soda-lifting drinks didn’t pay off, but I’ll take the next best thing: a champagne drink that lifts my spirits, if nothing else. Fizzing in your drink, with or without alcohol, is festive and fun—especially in the spring and summer outdoors. Here are some options from our archive for your consideration.

Blake Cocktail, above. Sparkling mineral water lends itself to this refreshing blend of rye whiskey, grapefruit juice, lemon, and sparkling raspberry syrup. It is similar to Reiki, a distinctive drink of the nation’s capital.

minty lemon soda. The basis of this drink is a concentrated syrup made from honey, lemon juice and peel, in which fresh mint is soaked. You’ll get two cups of brew, and since each serving uses 1 tablespoon per cup of water, there’ll be enough for you for the week or to serve the crowd.

White sangria with peaches and berries. Be prepared to put this beautiful pink sangria on repeat once the summer fruit begins to appear. White wine and brandy are the base of the drink, and she adds a sprinkle of sparkling water to each glass for serving.

Summer fruit juice (compote). Here’s a clever, zero-sum way to use up random portions of summer fruit. Adding vanilla ice cream and soda will make it our own kind of float, but it’ll be fine with just bubbles.

Bim’s Garden Cup. Our Spirits writer, M. Carrie Allan, says of the classic English summer cocktail, “Everyone makes their cup of Pimm a little differently; this variation pulls in the strawberry and cucumber flavor.” Cucumber soda, lemon soda, or ginger ale can be used.

Egg Katz Cream. Louis Auster is credited with inventing the beloved New York drink made with chocolate syrup, milk, and electrolytes, although this particular recipe comes from the popular Katz liqueur. It’s calling Fox’s U-bet chocolate syrup, which imitators used after Oster refused to patent or sell his formula, but you can also try a version from scratch with dark chocolate drink. For another sparkling chocolate option, check out cold chocolate floats.

Ramos Jane Viz. A New Orleans drink might remind you of cream of egg, but in this case it has heavy cream and egg whites, along with soda water or club soda, all of which make for a dramatic pillow head. The drink also contains juices of gin, lemon, lime and orange blossom water.

Saint Germain Cocktail. I’m a huge fan of St. Germain’s liqueur (I used it on my royal wedding cake!), and it goes well here with a double dose of bubbles in the form of sparkling wine and soda or seltzer.

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