Genmai Cream Soda Syrup

Remember last year when I came back raving about Portland? Well I'll forgive you if you don't, but here's the thing, we had an amazing weekend and I haven't stopped thinking about it. A huge thanks goes out to Brooke (happy birthday, sweets) and Michelle for making it extra magical and tasty. Well anyway, there was a drink that we had at Biwa (thanks for the rec, Michelle), that I've been craving. My friend Jackie was actually the one to order it first and after trying a sip of hers, I ordered it too. What was it? A genmai cream soda!! And if you're wondering what genmai is, it's roasted rice and you usually find it in genmaicha "roasted rice tea" (which is one of my favorite teas). I actually thought it was roasted brown rice, but when I was doing my research, I learned that sushi or Japanese white rice is what's typically used. So idk, maybe it's both or maybe I was wrong before? Either way, it's delicious!

For my purposes, I went with a "quick" roasting method. I say "quick" because it still requires a two hour soak, but doesn't require the soak + cooking + drying then roasting method that was recommended in this post all about genmai. I found that the key to success was all in the pan. So when I say to use a heavy bottomed skillet with a lid, I highly recommend you use a heavy bottomed skillet with a lid :D :D :D. While the rice didn't get as puffy as I've seen it get, I don't think it's totally necessary as you'll be steeping it in your syrup and not actually consuming it on its own. The syrup itself comes together quickly, but you will need to allow up to an hour's worth of time to steep the roasted rice.

As for the "soda", I used my Sodastream to make the sparkling water, but if you don't have one of your own, def feel free to use seltzer water. However, I'd be doing you a major injustice if I didn't talk about my SodaStream for a minute because it is the coolest and I honestly use it every single day. Funny story is that when I first got it, Moses was mad at me for adding another appliance to the counter of our teeny tiny kitchen. BUT THEN, guess what, he fell in love with it (duh) and is now the one making sparkling water for us nightly. We are obsessed. Truly and deeply. Anyway, this isn't a sponsored post, though the kind folks at SodaStream were kind enough to send one my way to add to the arsenal. I really just wanted to tell you guys how rad it is, I mean, all you do is press a button and bam--sparkling water! Thank you, Sodastream for the game changer. I attribute my success in consuming my daily 8-10 glasses of water to you guys. 

Ps - What's up with the bi-polar weather LA? Las weekend wind and rain and this weekend 80°F? 

Pss - We're halfway to Fri-YAY!!

Genmai Cream Soda Syrup

Makes about 12 fluid ounces



  • 1/2 c. Japanese white rice (with enough filtered water to cover)
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. filtered water
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract


  • 1 oz. syrup
  • 1/2 oz. half & half (optional)
  • 6 oz. sparkling/seltzer water
  • Ice cubes


  • Heavy bottomed skillet
  • Medium saucepan
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Fine mesh sieve
  • Wooden spoon
  • SodaStream (optional)




  1. Place rice in a bowl and cover with filtered water. Soak for 2 hours then rinse until water runs clean. Strain out water through a fine mesh sieve and shake to get as much water out as possible.
  2. Heat a heavy bottomed skillet over medium heat and add rice. Cover with a lid and roast for a minute. Remove lid and stir with a wooden spoon. Dry off any condensation from the lid and replace, roasting rice for another minute. Remove lid and stir with spoon, immediately replacing lid (drying if necessary) and roasting for 30 more seconds. Remove lid and stir with spoon and continue stirring until rice is golden brown and puffed. Promptly remove from heat and transfer to saucepan.
  3. Add granulated sugar, 1 1/2 c. filtered water, and juice of 1/2 a lemon and heat over medium-high heat until sugar is melted and mixture comes to a boil. Remove from heat and swirl in vanilla bean extract.  Steep for up to one hour (depending on level of genmai potency you prefer) then strain through a fine mesh sieve. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator for up to a week.


  1. Fill glass with ice then add syrup and half & half (if using). Top with sparkling/seltzer water and stir.
  2. Serve and enjoy!