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The most cloying of all soft drinks gets an elegant upgrade: water, dried beet powder (for the fuchsia hue) and organic cane sugar infused with vanilla bean are piped through an old-school soda siphon for fizz. $3. Woodlot, 293 Palmerston Ave., 647-342-6307.
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The peels from grapefruits, oranges, lemons, limes and minneolas (a cross between a grapefruit and a tangerine) are steeped in syrup that’s added to soda, along with a bit of rosemary. The resulting drink is like haute Fresca with a subtle hint of pine. $4. Ortolan, 1211 Bloor St. W., 647-348-4500.
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A naturally carbonated drink made from yeast, sugar, two kinds of ginger and a pinch of cayenne. It’s great on its own, or mixed with rum, lemon juice and Denison’s Wheat Beer for a spicy cocktail. $3. Hoof Cocktail Bar, 923 Dundas St. W., 416-792-7511.
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In the Caribbean, sorrel soda is a Christmas tradition. Café Belong’s version replaces the tropical herb with hibiscus flowers for a tart soda that tastes like a cran-raspberry cocktail without the saccharine sweetness. $3. Café Belong, 550 Bayview Ave., 416-901-8234.
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Draft root beer
Root beer extract and Mexican vanilla are brewed in a kettle and piped through the bar taps, resulting in a spicy, almost creamy sip. $3.50. Mill Street Brew Pub, 55 Mill St., Bldg. 63, 416-681-0338.
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Roasted cola nuts, cassia, bergamot and lavender are steeped, chilled and carbonated for a mix that’s more floral than classic Coke. Caramelized cane sugar syrup gives it a deep, brooding sweetness. $3. Gilead Café, 4 Gilead Pl., 647-288-0680.
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Ripe mango purée creates a smoothie-like texture, while a squirt of lime juice and a little bit of zest cut through the sweetness and make the tropical fruit flavours pop. $3. Cheesewerks, 56 Bathurst St., 416-243-3327.
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Blood orange crush
The True Blood–hued drink—made with blood orange juice, zest and leaves—has a tart punch, while milder notes of star anise, cinnamon and fennel whisper in the background. $3. Hey Meatball, 719 College St., 416-546-1483.
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Flavour of the Month | Pop Rocks