How To Use Extracts to Flavor Drinks
If you love flavoring your beverages but don’t want added sugar, extracts are your answer! Whether you’re a sparkling water lover, a coffee drinker, or an iced tea sipper, we have some ideas for using extracts to flavor drinks. We spent some time in the test kitchen with a pot of coffee, a few cans of club soda and seltzer water, and a pitcher of iced tea to experiment with extracts for beverages. We found some surprising gems for flavoring drinks!
If you love flavoring your beverages but don’t want added sugar, extracts are your answer! Effervescent, flavored water has become a go-to drink or a tasty treat for so many people. If you’re a sparkling water lover, we have some ideas for using extracts to flavor drinks. We spent some time in the test kitchen with a few cans of club soda and seltzer to experiment with extracts. We found some surprising gems for flavoring drinks!
Generally, we found that the best approach was to start with 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of extract per glass of whatever you’re sipping, then add more extract as desired. The great thing about flavoring with extracts, since you’re using so little per serving, is that it’s easy to scale up for a big crowd – without any added expense!
*Extract Tip* Using extracts that are still fresh is important. If your flavor seems a little off, it might be time to freshen up your extracts. To keep citrus extracts fresh, we recommend storing them in your fridge.
DIY Flavored Sparkling Water
Here’s a budget friendly sparkling water hack…ditch those colorful cans and DIY. Buy a large bottle of unflavored club soda or seltzer water and add your own flavors with extracts. We found that the amount of extract needed varies depending on what flavor you are using and whether your soda is chilled or room temperature. A good rule of thumb is to start with 1/8 teaspoon of extract and work your way up. We found that a total of 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of extract per glass generally seemed about right.
*Extract Tip* One flavor is good but combining two or three together is awesome!
- Cherry-Almond: If you’ve ever tried (and loved) cherry vanilla soda, this one’s for you. With cherry extract + almond extract and no added sugar, it’s definitely a sparkling water not a soft drink but it has a crowd-pleasing flavor.
- Tropical Burst: Orange extract + coconut extract = the sparkling water equivalent of a vacation. With this island-inspired flavored water, cut some grapefruit wheels to add a splash of color. Party perfect presentation!
- Lavender-Lemon: Admittedly, this one might not be for everyone. But if you love our Vanilla Bean Sugar, you just might want to try lavender extract + lemon extract in your sparkling water. The lavender ends up being a more noticeable scent than flavor but gives the drink a floral note, while the lemon provides a classic base. We dressed ours up with a lemon wheel on the rim of the glass.
Other Tasty Drink Recipes That Use Extracts
Whether you’re looking for something for the kids or just something different, we have some great drink recipe flavored with extracts. Perhaps you’ve sampled one or two of these in our stores. Whether you try these or just use them as inspiration to create your own concoctions, cheers!
- Sports Splasher: This is a great drink for hot summer afternoons. Made with orange extract, honey powder, and sea salt, it's a DIY alternative to a bottled, sugary sports drink.
- Spiced Iced Cider: If you have some mulling spices hanging around in your post-holiday pantry, you're in luck. This iced version of our mulled cider is brightened up with the addition of fresh oranges and cherry extract.
- Vanilla Bean-Grenadine: "It amazed me how good real grenadine is and how easy it is to make. I always keep some of this on hand and just add to lemonade or other summer beverage," says Scott. This is a great syrup to have on hand. Mix 1 Tbsp. syrup with 8 oz. club soda, seltzer water or sparkling wine. Mix with ginger ale or lemon-lime soda for a Shirley Temple or with cola for a Roy Rogers.
- Chocolate-Hazelnut Syrup: Three perfectly complementary favors: vanilla, cocoa, and hazelnut combine for a sweet treat. Use this rich syrup and a splash of cream to sweeten coffee. Pour over ice cream or use to flavor milkshakes or cocktails.
Bonus Boozy Drink For Happy Hour
- Pomegranate Smack: This bonus adults-only recipe doesn't exactly use extracts but it does use another of our unique flavors: Pomegranate Molasses. A little tangy, a little sweet, a lot of fun!
We love to share recipes. So, if you have a favorite flavored drink, tell us about it!