This is the time of summer when the heat can go from barely tolerable to unbearably hot, with no respite to be found. Although most of my regular food and drinks can be swapped out for lighter, more summer-appropriate options, my daily coffee presents a quandary.
As a long-time coffee lover, giving it up is not an option—but by this time of the year, even black iced coffee feels a little too heavy for this heat. The solution, as I’ve just discovered, is orange coffee soda—a drink that originated at Steadfast Coffee in Nashville, Tenn.
Citrus lightens your iced coffee
Orange coffee soda lightens iced coffee with the sweetness of citrus and the fizziness of carbonation, giving you a drink with all the satisfaction (and caffeine) of coffee and the lightness a hot summer day requires.
Although Steadfast Coffee does sell a canned version of their orange coffee soda, it may not be available in your area. Luckily, though, making your own requires nothing more than opening a few cans and adding an orange peel—and this simplicity is appreciated when the heat has fried your brain to the point that even small tasks feel herculean.
How to make orange coffee soda
To make orange coffee soda, you’ll need cold brew coffee, a citrus soda such as Orangina, or an orange Italian soda, as well as orange peel. I’d recommend using cold brew made from a light roast, which blends well with citrus, while also containing more caffeine than a dark roast.
The recipe calls for mixing together a 1:1 ratio of cold brew coffee and citrus soda, which you pour over ice, and then add a twist of orange peel. For the coffee to soda ratio, don’t feel like you have to be exact, though—you can adjust that based on your own preferences. The more citrus soda you add, the lighter and fizzier it becomes. There are no right or wrong answers here.
When I drink this in the morning, I want a stronger kick from the coffee, so I mix it in a 1:1 ratio; in the afternoon, when I want the taste of coffee without the kick, I’ll do a 1:2 ratio of cold brew to citrus soda, which somehow manages to taste like an orange-flavored Tootsie Pop.
In addition to orange coffee soda, we’ve written about different variations of iced coffee that you might enjoy as well, including carbonated cold brew made with different types of sodas, coffee egg cream, and coffee lemonade.
Keep in mind that cold brew packs a punch in terms of caffeine, so it’s best to mix with a light hand. A shot of Cointreau is also an excellent addition.