Drinks,  Drinks (Non-Alcoholic)

Eper Szörp / Hungarian Strawberry Soda

Szörp might just be the most delicious, most summer-forward drink you can make. I was taught how to make this Hungarian non alcoholic drink by my mother’s Hungarian cousin, Zsuzsa, and it is as authentic as it is delicious. Cold, refreshing, sweet and bubbly… This is the stuff summers are made of.

Where did you ever discover a Hungarian non alcoholic drink?

The first time I had szörp was when my family went to Hungary was in 1992. My sister and I were pretty young and we had never really been outside of the country before (Canada aside). Our flights were a mess because the travel agent had somehow booked our connecting tickets for incorrect dates, but this was back in the day when the airlines still cared about keeping their customers happy so Pan Am rebooked us onto TWA who then booked us onto Northwestern who put us in the last row of a flight across the Atlantic in the smoking section by the bathroom.

The travel was a joy. But we got there.

And it was an amazing trip. Being thrown into a brand new culture with different traditions, different architecture, and a vastly different language is an unparalleled experience. Especially for kids as they have fewer preconceived notions of the world.

I have lots of wonderful memories from that trip, but the one I want to talk about here is my memory of the food. Our family greeted us at the airport with sandwiches made from the most delicious bread (soft and crusty at the same time) and a whole new food experience was born.

Eper Szörp / Hungarian Strawberry Soda

But as a child, the one food memory that really sticks out in my mind is Szörp (try saying it like “zurp”). For lack of a better translation, you can think of Szörp as a homemade fruit soda. And having Szörp for the first time was a revelation. We didn’t have CO2 canisters laying around the house in Maine with which to carbonate water, and we certainly never thought of making a fruit syrup out of the strawberries we would get from the farmer’s market. Putting the glass of Szörp to my lips for the first time was the real-life equivalent of Remmy’s flavor fantasies in the movie Rattattouie. Explosions of color all around my head. Summersaults of joy. A burst of fresh flavor. This is the stuff summers are made of.

Full disclosure: “Zurp” is a little misleading as a pronunciation. You should probably say something more like “ZOO-rp”, but that schwa is forever cemented in my mind from my childhood understanding of what was being said to me, and looking at it on my computer screen “Zurp” seems more accessible than “Zoorp,” so I’m going to go with it. Apologies to the Hungarian language.

Szörp is sweet: Fair warning

Now, this stuff is sweet. Full strength it’s the type of sweet that makes a child’s eyes get really big while they ask for seconds but sends an adult into an near-instant sugar-coma. I think you could knock the sugar down by 50% and come out with a lovely mixer for adults — but that’s an experiment for another post (which I am 100% planning on doing) — this one is about the authenticity of this wonderful little drink. I promise you, sweet though it is you will like it, and all the children in your life will ask for more.

Literally 157 photos to get a shot of szörp with a double-drip. 😅

Updating a tradition by leaving out the preservatives

The one ingredient I have left out of this traditional Szörp recipe is the preservative. They’ve fallen out of fashion after all, and as long as you have room for an extra jar in your fridge there’s really no need for it. Both sugar and lemon juice are natural preservatives anyway, and the quantity of Szörp that you’ll be making probably won’t last more than a month, which is well within the time frame that it will stay fresh in your fridge.

If I had to rate the kitchen skills required to make Szörp I’d peg them at negative 10.

  • If you can smash a berry and leave something alone in your fridge for a day, you can make Szörp.
  • The drink itself is just a 4-to-1 ratio of sparking water to syrup. It doesn’t require any garnish, special glassware, or forethought of any kind.
  • Make. Keep. Serve.

Other things you might be interested in:

If you’re looking for more inspiration you might enjoy one of these other recipes I’ve posted!

Tag me Instagram @jamandbreadofficial (I love seeing when other people make one of my recipes!) and please consider leaving me a review below if you make my recipe for Eper Szörp. I really hope that you love it, and that you are ON BOARD with making my Eper Szörp a staple of your summertime routine. 

For even more recipe ideas you can follow me on Pinterest!

Enjoy. 😀👍

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Eper Szörp / Hungarian Strawberry Soda

  • Author: Matthew Smedal
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 32 Servings 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Cuisine: Hungarian


Having Szörp for the first time as a child was a revelation. Explosions of color all around my head. Summersaults of joy. A burst of fresh fruit flavor. This is the stuff summers are made of.


  • 1 pound strawberries (1/2 kilogram)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)


  1. Pour the sugar into a bowl and squeeze the lemon juice over it. Stir together to encourage the lemon juice to dissolve the sugar. Let this sit while you hull the strawberries and either crush them with a fork or blitz them in a blender or food processor (the latter might not be traditional, but sure is fast!).
  2. Put the smushed berried in a sieve or a colander lined with cheesecloth and place over your bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the juices from the berries drain onto the sugar and lemon juice.
  3. After an hour or so press the rest of the juices through the sieve and discard the pulp. Stir the mixture, breaking up any sugar lumps. Cover the bowl and let it rest in the fridge for one day, stirring when you think of it, to encourage the sugar to fully dissolve.
  4. Pour into a 2-cup (500ml) jar, cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 month.


TRADITIONAL SERVING: Start with a ratio of 4-parts sparkling water to 1-part Szörp, and adjust to suit your taste. This is the traditional ratio as it was taught to me. An easy way to think of this is one small shot (one ounce) of Szörp for every half cup of sparkling water.

MILLENNIAL LA CROIX-STYLE SERVING: If you’re after something more like a homemade La Croix start with 1 tablespoon of Szörp for every cup of sparkling water. <– This is actually my preference! 😂

Keywords: Eperszörp, Szörp, Strawberries, Strawberry Syrup, Strawberry Soda


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