pomegranate and star anise soda

jar2It’s late on Sunday afternoon. The air is cool, moist with lingering humidity from the warmish day-that-was. Rain birds call, their cries echoing from the trees to the thirsty earth. It’s going to rain tonight. The last month of autumn has beckoned the wet.

Not that I mind. I actually prefer the cooler months and their rain-splattered windows, worn leather boots and cosy, patterned blankets. Each rainy day brings opportunities for steaming hot porridge, six-hour lamb and melted cheese on garlicky toasted sourdough. My kind of bliss indeed.



Admittedly, there are fleeting moments in winter when I’m sick of the grey. When my heart swells at the thought of sunshine, light cotton t-shirts and ice-cream by the seaside. During those times, I wrap myself in a blanket and eat a warm salad with as many colours as I can find. Between bites, I drink cold iced soda, preferably laden with fruit and heartening fresh mint.


In hindsight, the above process is probably only suitable for the Australian winter. Here in Perth, our temperatures drop to a mean of about 7 degrees C (44 degrees f) in the evenings, definitely nowhere near freezing. However, this Aussie girl likes to eat, sip, snuggle under blankets and wait for cold liquid to travel from mouth to stomach. As I watch the ice cubes frost the side of the glass, I think of sunshine, bare feet and thick, wafting heat.

One of my favourite sodas of the moment incorporates sweet, red pomegranate, ripe citrus and fragrant star anise. When poured over ice, it’s my new favourite remedy for an exhausting day with bleary, overcast skies.


This drink is beautiful as a sparkling fruit soda for hot (or cold) afternoons with friends, however if you’d like to elevate it into the ‘cocktail’ category, feel free to add a shot (30mL) of vodka during the mixing process. It’s delicious either way.


Pomegranate and Star Anise Soda

Adapted from this recipe by the Kitchn.

Makes about 8 x 3 tbsp/45mL serves

  • 1/2 cup pink or red grapefruit juice (from about 1 small grapefruit)
  • 1/2 cup navel orange juice
  • 1/2 cup pomegranate juice (from about 1 medium pomegranate*)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup white caster sugar
  • 2 star anise pods
  • ice cubes, to serve
  • chilled soda water, to serve
  • mint leaves and pomegranate arils for garnish (optional)

Combine citrus juice, pomegranate juice, sugar, water and star anise in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and allow to simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid reduces by one quarter.



Remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain and discard the star anise pods and any residual solids. Let syrup cool completely before using.

To serve, fill a 350ml glass halfway with ice cubes, add 3 tbsp of syrup (and 30mL vodka, if desired). Fill with soda water and stir well. Garnish with pomegranate arils and mint leaves.

*I removed the pomegranate arils (seeds) from the fruit, chucked them into the bowl of a blender and pulsed them briefly to extract the juice. If following this method, pour the extracted juice through a sieve to remove any seeds and residue. Feel free to substitute store-bought pomegranate juice if you can’t find fresh fruit.

You should be able to store any remaining syrup in a sterilized jar in the refrigerator indefinitely.



112 responses

  1. What a coincidence, I was making dinner with a fresh pomegranate, and made up a pre dinner drink with the pomegranate juice! It would be amazing with the addition of mint and citrus, absolutely a taste of warmer days but still with the comfort of star anise… what a lovely post, gorgeous photos!

    • Oh, I’d love to know what you made with your pomegranate! Did you make a syrup for soda? Definitely must be the season for it. The star anise was lovely and warming in the midst of the summery flavours. So delicious xx

  2. Love the drink Laura, it sounds so refreshing and although I won’t be able to find fresh pomegranate here in the US, I can certainly use the juice I find in the store. Love the star anise and mint along with the citrus. LOVELY!!

    • Ah, thanks for writing this Suzanne – I was going to add in a note about using store-bought pomegranate juice if required but then I completely forgot. Edited now! Hope that you enjoy it! xx

  3. Must be pomegranate week as I am writing up my Muffin Monday post for tomorrow with you-know-what. That syrup sounds divine, Laura, and I love the beautiful drink it makes with the extra mint and the pomegranate arils. So pretty and refreshing!

    • Haha, it’s definitely pomegranate week! That makes a few of us! The syrup definitely made for a beautiful drink. I’m a big fan of sweet but tart flavours and the combination worked brilliantly here. Thanks for the kind words Stacy, I can’t wait to read your muffin recipe (I’ve never made one with pomegranate before!) x

  4. I am a cold weather girl. The last week has been sunny and warm in Colorado and all I can think of is how I’m not going to see anymore snow! Of course, we always escape to the mountains when it gets too hot and cool off. We’re lucky in that respect. This soda is not only beautiful but delicious! My family, has a glassful of ice with their drinks, summer or winter. They would love this since we don’t drink regular soft drinks. Beautiful Laura!

    • Aw Nazneen! Well, if it makes you feel any better… we never get any snow over here so I live in envy of your beautiful winters! Hope that you enjoy the spring vegetables at least… that’s always my favourite thing when leaving the cool season. Thanks for the kind words, hope that your family enjoys this easy but delicious soda. We don’t drink soft drinks either, so I’m always happy for an alternative! xx

  5. I am a total desert boy. Love the heat! If I want comfort food, I simply crank my solar-powered AC and stick in the six-hour lamb! :) I love the flavors in this soda, Laura! Can’t wait to try it! I don’t drink colas, buy this definitely turns my head. And, seriously, another post of gorgeous photos and writing!

    • Hahaha! Solar powered AC, I am impressed David! Our AC is terrible… any touch of humidity and it doesn’t work at all. I hate our summers for that reason as I feel like I’m roasting in a metal box on the third floor! That said, other things about summer are awesome. Aaron loves it, he’d totally join you for a desert party! Thanks for the kind words David, love being blogging friends with you! :)

    • Thanks Kloe, I didn’t really think about it to be honest… I had a jar on the bench and stuck the drink in it! I am quite pleased with how the photos turned out though. Hope that you’re doing well! x

  6. I love pomegranate! And really like the idea of combining it with star anise. Iced drinks are huge in the US, summer or winter. And our warm weather is finally here, so this is so appropriate. Thanks so much.

    • Thanks John! Yep, perfect for your coming summertime! I always love all the drink posts on your site so it’s nice to be complimented by someone who knows his stuff! Hope that you are going well

  7. This seems like such a lovely drink! It’s not very easy to get pomegranate here but I’ll track it down to make some! Yeah, the nice thing about the weather cooling down is all the slow cooking you get to make. Here the opposite is occurring, we’re in spring, the weather is nicer so I’m making quick salads because we want to go to outdoors! :)

    • You can definitely use bought pomegranate juice if you can’t find a fresh one. It won’t provide the lovely garnish but the flavour will be similar. Hope that you’re loving that spring weather Sofia! I can definitely understand the rush to get out into the sunshine! Thanks lovely x

      • Oh I am enjoying it! Yesterday we went on a long trek up on the mountains just behind Barcelona. Soon the weather will be right for the beach! Living in Oz most people are used to living near the sea, but such luck is not so frequent in Europe. I’m lucky that Barcelona has both beach and mountains :)

  8. Very nice Laura. I’d take the grown up version for sure. Couldn’t imagine drinking one right now though… The cold snap has hit us and quite frankly, I need a cup of tea and something slowly braised, too. This is when I get my grandpa on!!

    • Thanks Graz. I did too, haha. Yep, we’re getting cold weather over here now too… lots of rainy grey skies! I’m planning to make chickpea curry tonight and curl up on the couch like a wimp. Oh, and grandpas can be kick ass. I met one today with a dog named Pancho, he looked like he could ride a bull in his day!

  9. Laura, what a beautiful drink and post! Sweet, red pomegranate, ripe citrus and fragrant star anise?! Wow! love it all! Refreshing indeed. . can’t wait to try this on a hot summer day over here! gorgeous photos, as always!

    • Thanks lovely. Yes I do think it’ll be perfect for the warm days that you have ahead of you! Lots of fun and minty bubbles! Hope that you are well dear Alice! x

  10. forever after, when it rains, i’m going to remember your words “I wrap myself in a blanket and eat a warm salad with as many colours as I can find” and find the goodness in the grey & chill & calm. such lovely words and an even more astute reminder to enjoy each season as it comes:) and the drink? too complicated for me, but i did have something delicious this weekend – a maple cream soda (just fresh maple syrup & carbonated water – soo good)

    • Oh, thank you lovely. You always cheer me up with your warm and inspiring words! Mmm, maple cream soda sounds delicious. I never would’ve thought of that but I’m going to run right home and make one (to be drunk on the couch, wrapped in my blanket!) x

  11. Oh I envy your “mild” winters night! Its getting so much colder than that in Tassie already. Luckily I’ll be over that way next week, and then on to Lombok for a few weeks, so I’ll have a bit of respite from 12 degree days and near freezing nights! On another note, this drink looks lovely – the flavour combination sounds amazing – yum! it looks so pretty too -I could definitely see this working well with a shot of vodka in the backyard over the summer months :)

    • Oh, I wish I could visit your part of the country one day too! Tassie looks postcard perfect in most pictures I’ve seen :) Hope that you love your time over here in Perth, not long to go now! Lombok also sounds exciting, woot! Thanks for the lovely words. And yep, I had mine with vodka too. So delicious! xx

  12. Yeah. This is my kind of “seeing summer off” – with star anise and pomegranate, boom. Such a pretty sip… and don’t you just love it when your nail polish matches your mocktail?

  13. Such a lovely post Laura! :)
    Yep, looking forward to more days of snuggling under the covers with a good cozy read!
    This drink would definatley take me back the the balmy nights of summer :)
    And all those flavours sounds delicious!

    • Thanks Veronica :) It’s really easy to flavour your own soda with anything! I’m loving pomegranates at the moment, they’re in season over here so much cheaper. I’d love to try something gingery next! x

  14. Laura, beautiful … and how inviting – I would love to have some of our soda just now. Sorry, for not being around visiting you, but I had health problems. Your images is first class .. the mint and that spoon.
    This I will try – so I will bookmark this. Thanks for bringing beauty to my a bit chilly evening.

    • No need to apologise Viveka! I totally understand and I am sorry to hear that your health has been causing you difficulty. Hope that things have improved now? Thinking of you. And I do hope that the sunshine will hit Sweden soon, it’s well and truly Spring time now! x

      • Laura, thanks for your kind comment … we had weeks of sunshine, but this week – the rain and overcast has arrived.
        Had a fantastic April, with a taste of summer … +22 during a whole weekend. Love it.
        I’m doing okay – everything is relative, so things could be a lot worst.

  15. Dear Laura, hope you are doing great.
    I am like you in that I tend to prefer the cooler months over the dreadful heat and humidity of summer, plus I absolutely don’t mind snow.
    I love your drink recipe as I like the smell of star anise (which you can sometimes find in certain wines too!) and the taste of pomegranate – undoubtedly I would opt for your variant which calls for the addition of one (or two?) shots of vodka! ;-)
    As always, I very much enjoyed your photographs illustrating the recipe. I have to say that #2 immediately made me think of a scene from a Dexter episode! Creepy! ;-)
    Hugs, my friend :-)

    • Stefano! Hello my friend! I’d love to know your wine recommendations containing star anise, I love it! I’m currently on a venture into discovering Italian wine (with some reference to your wonderful blog) but we don’t seem to stock many here in Perth. I guess we produce such an abundance of wine, so not many liquor stores see a need to import. And yes – I tend to go for the boozy version too!
      Thanks so much for your kind words re the photography. It means a lot as I very much respect your photography skills. Haha… yes, I never thought of the blood splatter but you are entirely right! Creepy! Hugs right back to you my lovely friend :)

      • Hello right back, my friend Down Under! :-) Well, to be precise those wines do not actually contain star anise, they have aromas reminiscent of star anise that they acquire during their aging process in oak or other wood barrels. There are a few, including certain Amarone’s and even international varieties like Merlot and Syrah, and even a handful of whites. I hope you will come across one during your tasting adventure: despite how good Australian wines are, it sounds like an exciting journey to be on!
        Have a wonderful week, dear Laura! :-)

      • I have come across a couple of wines with the aroma of star anise… Syrah from memory. It was absolutely beautiful! I love how the complex bouquets of different wines can stir thoughts of earth and leather, right through to tropical fruits, chocolate and spice! I am definitely excited to continue the journey Stefano! Thanks again, I appreciate ‘chatting wine’ with you! :)

  16. I love the cold Laura, especially after spending a year in hot and sticky Singapore. I can’t wait for a cold Canberra Winter this year, although I’d have no problems drinking this in the depths of Winter. I’d just have to snuggle up to do so :)

    • Hello lovely! Ah, I can definitely understand a whole new appreciation for the cold after being in Asia for a year. I can’t cope with the humidity in Asian countries… though from a cultural point of view, they’re beautiful to experience! Hope that you’re enjoying the change of season. You guys get much colder weather than us in Canberra… I’ve only visited once but I loved rugging up in gloves, coats and wooly hats! xx

  17. This looks like the fanciest, prettiest soda I’ve ever seen. Also, since I’ve attempted to make my own soda before, it looked nothing like this. One time I left salsa in the fridge to long and it started to ferment and carbonate, but that’s not quite the same. I guess what I’m trying to say is, I bet this is delicious.

    • Ha! Ah, Andrew. I didn’t realize that you were so up with the fermentation trend. Very hipster bro. Thanks for the kind words, it was definitely delicious. Even my husband approved and he normally balks at pretty pink drinks. But then again, so do I (I’m definitely more of a beer girl on the average day)

  18. Such a refreshing drink! So beautiful and refreshing. And the thought of a sparkling pomegranate and star anise soda makes me sigh. Would you please bottle some and send it to America? :)

  19. I was eyeing off a pomegranate tree up the street recently. Wondering if I could furtively ‘release’ a few into the wild, well my waiting hands anyway. Laura have you thought about playing with kombucha or kefir to make your own soda water type thing? All those flavours would be lovely in it.

    • Haha, yes definitely release them! These ruby red wonders definitely need to be consumed and appreciated with juice-stained hands Brydie! I have thought about making my own soda water but I haven’t done it yet. Fermentation is pretty fun. Are you going to try making some kombucha or kefir soda? I’d love to compare notes! xx

  20. So refreshing! I all of a sudden noticed that I was very thirsty…Now that summer is approaching here in the northen hemispere is would make a wonderful “Welcome summer” type of soda as well!

  21. Oh, yes! This is definitely just the thing to chase away winter and make you feel like you’re soaking in some warm sunshine! What a beautiful, delicious drink! Since we are (finally!!!) just welcoming spring here in Ohio, your timing on this recipe is actually just as perfect for us as it is for your Aussie friends! :D

    • Oh, thank you so much Shelley! Glad that the weather is warming up over there now, you deserve it after that long winter. Yay for iced drinks, sunshine, t-shirt weather and balmy nights xx

  22. Incredibly well written. Truly inspiring to new bloggers such as myself. Thank you. :)

  23. Seriously Laura, we are lucky to have a relatively pleasant summer and winter. I can never survive the ‘extremes’. Your post is filled with warmth, colour and all the comforting ingredients that make winter anything but dull and dreary. I love that you added star anise. Spice is what I crave for especially during the colder months.

    • Yes, I definitely agree Sonali. Having a mild and cool winter is such a wonderful thing. Thank you for your kind, thoughtful words, it’s always wonderful getting a note from you! I completely agree about spice in the cooler months. It’s wonderful xx

    • Ohhh, we’re just getting in to mulled wine season over here! I’m looking out at the gloomiest of wet mornings as I type (argh, I need to unearth myself from the blankets on the couch and get to work). Thanks lovely x

  24. Wow, now that’s something, Laura! Sounds deep and refreshing at the same time, a perfect in-between. I can imagine it very well in a sauce, also. I love that pouring-syrup-in-the-glass-picture a lot, it has such a nice easy living touch.

    • Oh, thanks for the kind words Claudia! It was fun to take the photos, I wasn’t completely happy with them but then again, when am I ever! The soda on the other hand? Divine, I loved it xx

  25. This looks delicious!I have a pomegranate on the counter that has seen better days, but that I’ve somehow delayed the use of. Tomorrow it’s into the pot! I have to go check the cupboards for star anis. Thank you so much for sharing!

  26. I have many memories of eating fresh pomegranate in india when I used to visit as a kid and I loved them so much :D
    Your soda would make me nostalgic and very satisfied!

    Choc Chip Uru

  27. How refreshing does this look? I am intrigued by the combination of pomegranate and anise… sounds lovely. I love the mint too! It’s nice to make your own natural sodas, isn’t it? My husband does this a lot at work. I would drink this in any season, preferably with the the vodka ;) Have a great weekend! xx E

    • It’s so good Em, the star anise adds a gorgeous ‘warmth’ to the drink. Perfect to transition a cold soda into a winter beverage (well, in my mind anyway!). What does your husband like to use in his homemade soda? Great idea to transport them to work! xx

  28. Hello Laura, I love this pomegranate soda. Just right for a summer drink here. Not forgetting all the goodness from this fruit. And it is such a clever idea to add in mint leaves and star anise. My mouth is watering already :) Warmly, Danny

    • Hello Danny! Very long time no hear!! Hope that life is treating you well. Yes, I did love every drop of this soda. The extra aroma and flavour from the mint and star anise were wonderful :)

  29. Pingback: Shivaay Delights… Sharing Super Blogs! | Shivaay Delights

    • Hello there! Thanks so much for stopping on over – so nice of Dimple to share the link! Hope that you enjoy the recipe. It’s become one of my favourite sodas xx

  30. Pingback: Picnics and Caramelised Onion Foccacia « Laura's Mess

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