Ray holding up his drink recipe

Low Calorie Non-Alcoholic Orange-Bitters-Soda Surprise Recipe

I love me a good Old Fashioned—it’s the oldest cocktail recipe in the world!—but in the spirit of taking January off the sauce, I’ve taken the liberty of writing down my personal favorite replacement.

Ray holding up his drink recipe


Equipment needed for drink
  • Big ice cube tray. Don’t settle for anything less. You can find these for 10 bucks, and they’re essential for making a drink that can look nice and official.
  • Muddler.
  • Peeler. I use a drink one, but in a pinch you can use a standard kitchen gadget.
  • Big fancy glass.
  • A SodaStream if you have it, to make your own soda water cheaply and to your specifications.


  • Aromatic bitters. Angostura is my pick.
  • Orange bitters. Optional, but a dash is nice.
  • Orange. Navel is fine, you want something with a pretty firm peel. You can juice it the next morning.
  • Sugar cubes. The perfect size for just a little sweetness. You can also use a teaspoon of simple syrup, or equivalent.
  • SodaStream or soda water. I like to get a soda maker because it’s more cost-effective and better for the environment. Plus I can make it extra bubbly.
  • That big ice cube you made with that fancy tray.


Bitters Soda Surprise drink
  1. Take two good peels from the orange per drink. Toss one in the bottom of the glass, save the other to finish it with.
  2. Put a sugar cube in the glass. Add three dashes of aromatic bitters and maybe one dash of orange bitters.
  3. Add a half inch of soda water and muddle thoroughly. Swirl around the glass a bit.
  4. Add a large ice cube, then fill the glass with more soda water.
  5. Stir a bit, then take that other orange peel and rub it around the rim of the glass. Twist it a bit over the glass for a bit of extra flavor.
  6. Enjoy!


  • When the drink gets low, top it off with more soda water. It stays refreshing, and no added calories!
  • Experimenting with other kinds of bitters is fun.
  • If you have Polar Orange Vanilla soda water, oh man, use some of that, and leave out the orange bitters. That stuff is delicious.
  • If you’re in a locale where it’s legal, those little liquid bottles of cannabis products go great. Just skip sugar cube if they’re sweet already!

Kandace Brigleb

Producer, co-founder of Needmore. Currently residing on the left coast.