Make a Pine Needle Soda: A Natural "Sprite" | Almanac.com

Make a Pine Needle Soda: A Natural "Sprite"

Pine needle soda with lemon and mint

Pine needle soda with ice, lemon, and herbs

Photo Credit
Olga Kri
Preparation Method
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Let’s make a natural soda with pine needles! We call it a natural “Sprite,” but this fizzy soda tastes so much better—citrusy with undertones of mint—with a free blast of Vitamin C. The recipe only requires three ingredients! See how to make White Pine Needle Soda.

White Pine was an important staple for humans here for centuries. The needles are especially rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, and numerous other plant compounds and may have saved the lives of early European explorers. This cup of Pine Needle Soda has much more Vitamin C than a cup of orange juice!

Yes, White Pine Needles are Edible

Most pine needles are edible; we use White Pine needles because this tree is common across North American neighborhoods and parks; plus, white pine needles make the best-tasting drink in our books. The White Pine is easy to identify because it’s the only one with five needles per bunch. See how to identify white pine trees. (Don’t mistake pine for a yew or cypress or “fake” pine like the Norfolk Pine, as these needles are toxic.)

A few notes on the recipe below …

  1. Use a glass jar with a tight lid or glass container with flip-top to make this drink. Plastic can leach chemicals in sunlight. 
  2. Do not eliminate or decrease the small amount of sugar. You need the sugar to feed the wild yeasts living on the needles (which they feed on to create the carbon dioxide bubbles).
  3. We’ve been asked about washing the pine needles. We just take them straight from the tree. You may immerse them in a large bowl of cool water if you’re concerned about dust, but be very gentle and do not overwash them, or you’ll kill the wild yeasts that you need to create the fizzy soda. Avoid hot water, which also kills wild yeasts.

Also: See our Pine Needle Tea recipe and more White Pine remedies!

pine needle drink
Put needles and sugar in a glass jar and fill jar with water. (Note: We use White Pine needles in our recipe.)
2 cup pine needles, woody ends removed
4 tablespoons sugar
2½ cups water (use bottled or filtered water)
  1. Put the needles and sugar in a glass jar or bottle and fill up with water.
  2. Add the lid and gently shake the jar so the ingredients are evenly distributed.
  3. Put the bottle on a windowsill with direct sunlight (or indirect sunlight during summer). From here on, do NOT shake the bottle at any time, or it may explode.
  4. Wait THREE days. Then, open the bottle. Again, do NOT shake it. Strain out the needles. 
  5. Pour liquid over a cup of ice! Squeeze in some lemon slices, perhaps some mint leaves, and enjoy!
About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann