Except for the occasional 7-year old at the Taco-Bell self serve soda fountain, people in the US don’t seem to be fond of mixing up their soft drinks. It’s a shame if you think about it. Those standard sodas can become boring day after day, particularly the diet sodas could use some spicing up. While I live mostly soda free, I do, on occasion, imbibe on a diet soda. Those can become boring and bland with the standard artificial sweeteners, so a little pick me up can help.
Germans seem to be the masters of drink mixing, drinks are mixed for various occasions and uses. The most common mixes are used to dilute alcohol. Back in the middle ages, it was common to drink beer throughout the day. Beer was safe due to the brewing process and alcohol, while drinking plain water was actually quite risky with the possibility of ending up with a nasty case of dysentery. Even kids would drink beer most of the day. However, we are not talking about 5% beer here, the beer in the middle ages was generally less than 2%. Fast forward to today, Germans still like their beer, but want to continue on with their daily activities. So for beer, there are two general mixtures.
- Radler, which is a mix between beer and a sprite. There are actually two types of Radler. A “saueres” Radler (sour Radler) which is basically just beer and seltzer (any non sweetened plain carbonated water) or a regular Radler which is beer and any sweet lemon based soft drink (think Sprite, 7Up, etc). The mix is generally half/half, which halves the alcohol and doubles the refreshingness.
- Colaweizen is made from half wheat and half cola flavored soft drinks (Pepsi, Coke). This has the benefit of adding a bit of caffeine to the mixture to get you an extra boost. There is actually also a Bananenweizen, which is wheat beer mixed with Banana juice.
There are also various other mixes. Wine can be thinned out with sprite or carbonated mineral water depending on the liking. For kids, Apple juice is generally thinned out with carbonated mineral water – it’s called an Apfelschorle. It tastes great and is a very healthy low sugar alternative to regular sodas.
One of my favorite drinks, however, is a Spezi. A Spezi is basically a half/half mix of Coke and Fanta Orange. The difference, however, is that the German Fanta Orange is generally more yellow, lower sugar and has a more citrus flavor. Many of the bigger companies have come up with their own branded versions such as Schwip Schwap by Pepsi and Mezzo Mix by Coca Cola. So, on to the main point of the article. How can I make a Spezi at home with no European Fanta Orange?
Having tried out various combinations of Coke and Citrus Drinks, the closest seems to be mixing Coke with St. Pellegrino Lemonade. A short cut, is to simply mix Coke with a little lemon juice, which gives the coke a more refreshing twist.
I actually use lemon in a lot of other combinations. My general summer go to drink is about 10% apple juice and 90% water and ice with a good squirt of lemon juice. Very refreshing, tastes great and a lot lower in sugar than many alternatives.
Any favorite mixes you like? Post below: