Today’s post will be short and sweet, mostly because it’s summer and I don’t want to bake in the 90-degree heat. Plus, my mom was in town for the weekend! She didn’t have the best time when she was last in town, so I made sure to “control the situation” and take her to all my favorite spots this time around. We had pork belly buns at Momofuku Ssam, pizza at Roberta’s, and a 4th of July duck feast at Decoy!

Anyway, on to this quickie recipe: aside from Manila, New York City is probably the hottest place I’ve ever lived. I’ve been beating the heat by camping out in front of the air conditioning, and turning all the beautiful berries that are finally in season into Italian cream sodas. It’s super easy — simply boil down your favorite summer fruit into a syrup, toss in some sparkling water and a dash of cream for the prettiest, most refreshing beverage:

Just for fun, I decided to throw in some black peppercorns to my strawberry syrup. It gave the soda a subtle, peppery kick that contrasted well with the bubbles and cream.

Stay cool out there!


Get the Recipe: Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Italian Cream Sodas

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For the Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Syrup

    (makes around 5 ounces, enough for 2 servings)

    • 10.5 ounces super ripe strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped
    • 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) water
    • 1/4 cup (1.75 ounces) granulated sugar
    • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
    • a pinch of kosher salt

    For the Italian Cream Sodas

      (makes 2 drinks)

      • 1 recipe Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Syrup
      • 1 1/2 cups (12 fluid ounces) sparkling water
      • 2 tablespoons (1 fluid ounce) heavy cream
      • ice, for serving


      • a fine-mesh sieve


      For the Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Syrup

      • In a medium, heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine 10.5 ounces strawberries, 1/2 cup water, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon black peppercorns, and a pinch of salt, stirring to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, before reducing to medium and continuing to cook until you have about half of the volume of the original mixture. During the cooking process, the strawberries will reduce to a mush and the mixture will thicken to a loose, drippy syrup. You should have about 1/4 cup of syrup at the end of the process.
      • Remove the saucepan from heat. Place a fine-mesh sieve over a large liquid measuring cup and pour the mixture into the measuring cup through the sieve, using a rubber spatula or the back of a wooden spoon to gently press on the remaining fruit puree to squeeze as much syrup as possible. Cool to room temperature. The fruit syrup is ready to use, or can be transferred to an airtight container and refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

      For the Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Italian Cream Sodas

      • In a pitcher, combine the Strawberry and Black Peppercorn Syrup, 1 1/2 cups sparkling water, and 2 tablespoons heavy cream. Fill tall glasses with ice, pour in the soda, and serve.
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