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Lemon-Lime Soda Syrup


We are, for the most part, water drinkers here in the hobby household.  Of course there’s milk (we need healthy bones, after all) and the Mister has his afternoon Coke Zero and I have my morning green tea+Emergen-C, but otherwise the beverage of choice around here is water.  Make that, sparkly water.

I am not a huge soda drinker, but I love the fizz.  As my mom says, I like my water to bite my tongue and so does everyone else living here.  For just about ever I have watered-down the boys’ juice and now they’re snobby about it–it has to be carbonated water and only a splash of juice (they don’t even want to drink straight juice anymore unless it comes in a container that needs to be punctured by a tiny straw).  You can imagine the amount of sparkly water coming into the house.  It’s almost always on sale for less than a dollar, so the expense isn’t a big deal, but it’s heavy and annoying to lug around.

lemon-lime soda syrup | the hobby room diaries

I’m sure you know where I’m going with this . . . we took the plunge and bought a home soda-making machine.  So far it’s been great.  It’s nice to not be lugging around bottles of water and I don’t miss filling up the recycle bin each week with empties.  I’ve been trying to get away from using plastic for food storage, so was really happy to find a machine that uses glass carafes instead of plastic bottles.

lemon-lime soda syrup | the hobby room diaries

Of course there are TONS of soda machine syrups out there–if you ever go to the grocery store I’m sure you’ve seen a display of tiny laundry detergent-shaped bottles with brightly colored lids.  I have never tried those syrups (except for a truly exceptional Williams-Sonoma classic root beer syrup) and I’m sure they’re fine, but I like to do things from scratch so I have control over the ingredients and quality.  I don’t think I will be dabbling in any sort of cola or root beer, but there is a whole world out there of fruity, herb-y sodas to explore and explore I will.

The kids got to pick the first syrup I made and they went with lemon-lime and I wasn’t surprised, it’s a favorite.  I used all the zest and juice from about two pounds of citrus so this syrup is just crammed with flavor and that’s how we like it–tons of flavor and a hint of sweetness.  For that reason, I need to tell you, this does not taste just like Sprite or 7-Up.  Also, full-sugar soda is not good for you in large quantities; we are not adding more than a teaspoon or two to a large glass of  sparkly and not more than once or twice a day and neither should you.  Don’t have any fizzy water at your place?  Not to worry, just use plain water, it’s pretty good that way, too.

Lemon-Lime Soda Syrup

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 2 cups syrup

Lemon-Lime Soda Syrup


  • 3/4 pound lemons (about 2 large)
  • 1 1/3 pounds limes
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water


  • 1. Wash the lemons and limes and zest all into a medium saucepan.
  • 2. Next, juice the lemons and limes and strain the juice into the saucepan. There should be more than one cup of juice.
  • 3. Add water and sugar to the saucepan and bring to a gentle boil over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
  • 4. Once at a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 5. Remove syrup from heat and strain into a heat-proof container. Cover and chill once it is cooled to room temperature.
  • 6. To make lemon-lime soda: fill a pitcher with 4 cups cold carbonated water and gently stir in 1/2 cup lemon-lime syrup. Taste and add more syrup if necessary, then garnish with lemon and lime wedges.


This makes intensely citrus-flavored syrup that is almost lemonade-ish in flavor. If you prefer less citrus flavor and more sweetness, reduce the fruit to one large lemon and 2/3 pound limes.


lemon-lime soda syrup | the hobby room diaries

Where are you on the soda flavor scale–classic like lemon-lime and orange Crush or crazy like Jones Soda Thanksgiving dinner?



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  1. I have been making my own lemon and lime ade all summer as well. No fizz for us, though I'm sure it's great. I recently saw rhubarb soda and that interested me, but I didn't buy it or try it. We don't buy soda at all. You are right, too many weird ingredients and too much sugar! Oh yeah, I also saw Lavender soda and was intrigued by that idea as well. It was a local maker from Seattle.

  2. This sounds delicious and so refreshing, Jody! I've never actually made homemade soda before, although I have been curious about the soda stream machines I've seen. But like you said at the beginning of your post, I'm most a water drinker with the (mostly) daily milk and the occasional mixed drink or juice. I love the idea of making my own syrup to flavor carbonated water, though. Very cool and thanks so much for sharing!

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