Despite its name and contrary to popular belief, Italian soda is not truly Italian. That’s right —Italian soda is not actually a product of Italy. In fact, this popular beverage originated in the United States nearly a century ago.
The beloved effervescent drink was first crafted by Torani, the California-based company known for its extensive variety of flavoring syrups. In 1925, Torani founders Rinaldo and Ezilda Torre — who were, in fact, an immigrant couple from Lucca, Italy — introduced their famous syrups to the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, which was filled with first generation Italian-Americans.
The Torres were very much influenced by the exploding popularity of soda fountains in the 1920’s. In their heyday, soda fountains flourished in pharmacies, ice cream parlors, candy stores, dime stores, department stores and train stations. In the early 20th century many fountains expanded their menus and became lunch counters, serving light meals as well as ice cream sodas, egg creams, sundaes, and of course, Coca-Cola. Soda fountains reached their height in the 1940s and 1950s.
The Italian-American association with Italian sodas has been reinforced over the years by various ready-made brands of Italian sodas, such as the 2007 introduction of “The Sopranos Old Fashioned Italian Sodas” which came in three flavors.
An Italian soda is very simple: syrup, soda water and ice, and typically fruit flavored syrups are the most popular. Oh, and don’t forget the cremosa (or Italian cream soda)… enriched with half and half, and topped with whipped cream. So good! Certainly the quality of the syrup defines the drink, and that’s why here at Pastini we use Monin syrups. Monin syrups are all natural, and the ingredients are sourced from around the world. We are proud to serve 11 flavors of these high quality, delicious syrups, free from artificial flavors, colors, preservatives and sweeteners.
Next time you join us for lunch or dinner, try one of our classic Italian sodas. You may never go back to cola again!