Grapefruit Soda at Dela Rosa
If you sit at the bar, you'll see that the Grapefruit Soda at Dela Rosa ($4) is treated just like a cocktail. Fresh grapefruit juice is shaken with simple syrup and a splash of lime juice then poured into a highball glass and filled with soda. The glass gets a swipe of grapefruit around the rim and a twist of grapefruit peel. To top it off, there is a single large cube of ice. The soda is very effervescent, and the tiny bubbles make the drink feel both festive and refreshing. Most importantly, the drink has a clean grapefruit flavor that is nicely balanced between sweet and tart.
Caramelized Pineapple Soda at Roam Artisan Burgers
From Meyer lemon to prickly pear to ginger lime, Roam has a nice selection of house made sodas. All of Roam's sodas are sweetened with just a touch of agave, which keeps the Caramelized Pineapple ($2.49) from being overly sweet or syrupy. This extremely effervescent drink is perfect for washing down a burger. The caramelized part of this drink's name comes less from a caramel sweetness and more from the fact that this tastes deeply, purely of pineapple and not some ambiguously tropical melange.
Blood Orange Vanilla Cream at Local: Mission Eatery
Blood oranges juice has a piquant, grapefruit-like tartness as well as an addictive blush of raspberry flavor. This soda ($3) from Local: Mission Eatery is amazing, then, because it tastes almost like pure carbonated blood orange juice. When the cream is blended with the soda, it froths up into a fluffy topping the texture of shaken egg whites. Despite its name, the drink is light and punchy, not thick or heavy at all.
Orange Cream Soda at Roostertail
One sip of this creamy orange soda ($2.75) brought me straight back to Flintstones Orange Push-up Pops. Nostalgia aside, there are some clear advantages to this soda: it's actually rather tart and has an bite similar to the taste of marmalade when you stumble upon the rind of the orange. The cream gives the drink a slight milky flavor and the thick texture makes it closer to old fashioned soda shop sodas. Though it's a little heavy to drink with my meal, I'd happily sip it as I strolled around on a sunny afternoon.
Ginger Soda at Beretta
It's hard to bypass the bar at Beretta, but if you want a delicious drink without the booze, go ahead and order a Ginger Soda ($4). This drink is the perfect balance of sweet, spicy, and refreshing. It has a back-of-the-throat, creeping heat that comes from freshly juiced ginger. Best of all, the soda is added with restraint. It gets just enough fizzy lift without diluting the concentrated ginger flavor.