If you’ve ever spent any time in Southern Germany and are a soda drinker, you’ve likely had the pleasure of trying a Bavarian soda specialty called Spezi. I say pleasure because I’ve never really run into anyone that didn’t like it once they’ve tried it. Generally, folks become pretty enthusiastic about it. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to find in the States, which is why I’m trying to see if I can make an equivalent or close approximation.
Jump ahead to the homemade Spezi!
First, I should probably explain what Spezi is – a soft drink made with cola, orange soda and a little bit of orange and/or lemon juice. Let’s take the idea of the American Fanta or Orange Crush right out of your head because German orange soda (and their Fanta) is much more like a carbonated orange juice. It’s actually yellow, not orange. Think more along the lines of Sanpellegrino Aranciata, that refreshing, sparkling orange beverage.
Second, I should explain that “Spezi” is actually a brand name. It’s like saying you want a Coke or Pepsi, versus just a cola. While there are four main brands of this soft drink in Germany, most folks just refer to the drink as Spezi. Though, technically, anything other than what’s sold by the original Spezi makers is called “Cola-Mix”.
Random Collection of Spezi Info and Facts
The Original Spezi – Made in Augsburg, Germany by Brauhaus Riegele since 1956. Interestingly enough, Spezi was first a type of beer. One of their claims is that they’re only ones to use real orange and lemon juice. Their recipe also has mandarin oil and orange blossom extract. Mmm, fancy. Their tagline is “Spezi ist Spitze – trinkt das Original!” (Spezi is great – drink the original!). Personally, I have never seen this one outside of Germany.
Mezzo Mix – Made by the Coca-Cola Company. Their tagline is “Cola küsst Orange” (Cola kisses Orange). I’ve seen this one at a few German Delicatessens.
Schwip Schwap – Made by the the PepsiCo. Their tagline is “Erfrischt Dich Fruchtig!” (Refreshes you Fruity!). I don’t remember seeing this in the US.
Paulaner Spezi – Produced by the Paulaner Brewery in Munich, Germany and bottled in brown beer bottles with a snazzy and rather retro label in yellow, orange, pink and purple. I’m not as familiar with this one (that I know of) though I read it has quite a cult following. Not exactly sure why their version also gets to use the name Spezi. Maybe because it’s also made by a brewery, versus a soft drink company. If you happen to know, please share with us!
Okay, so that’s all I’ll say about the different Spezi brands. Information wasn’t easily found so I’ll try to continue to expand on this in the future. For example, I would love to know if different brands are more popular in some areas than others.
On to the Homemade Spezi recipe!
So, the only Spezi soda I was able to find locally was Mezzo Mix and Paulaner Spezi at Bavarian Meats in Seattle. This is what I’ll be using to taste test my recipe. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait until I get to Germany in December to try the Original Spezi again to compare. Maybe I’ll think about taking a bottle or two back with me?
Here you go – the Mezzo Mix and Paulaner Spezi. If you haven’t seen these sodas before, I just wanted to show them to you.
Also wanted to show you a comparison of what they look like out of the can. Really not that much different and very similar to coke, just a little lighter, or warmer, in colour. Upon tasting to two right after one another, I found that I preferred the Paulaner Spezi. Not that that really matters, it was just noteworthy to me. It’s a tad bit sweeter.
So these are the ingredients I’ll be using – SanPellegrino Aranciata and Mexican Coke.
I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of regular coke or pepsi. I tried to find Virgil’s Real Cola, Jones Pure Cane Cola Soda or even Trader Joe’s Vintage Cola but had no luck. Actually, turns out that the latter has been discontinued. So, Mexican Coke will have to do. Okay, yes, I’m a little bit of a soda snob!
I won’t be using all of those lemons. That’s just to make the pictures a little more colourful. Also, Spezi is typically served with a lemon wedge at a restaurant. Though, using oranges might have been more apropos. Perhaps I’ll have to retake these pictures sometime in the future?
Anyway, so are the ratios I tried. I was expecting to try several, but only ended up with two ratios and then two variations. I’ll explain…
Half Cola and Half Orange: My Mother told me that when she worked in restaurants in Germany that this was the ratio they used when making Spezi for customers. Typically this was if they were out of the actual Spezi. I expected this to work right off the bat but, for me, it didn’t. The colour was too light and the orange was overpowering. I’m expecting that if you were to do half and half using German Fanta for the Orange, it would work. However, the Sanpellegrino Aranciata isn’t that sweet.
Two Thirds Cola and One Third Orange: I was completely surprised that this worked right away. I was expecting to have to tweak it with fourths instead but this is so darn close! Immediate winner for me and I didn’t experiment any further.
Two Thirds Cola and One Third Orange with the juice of one lemon wedge: Since it’s served with a lemon wedge, I wanted to see what it would taste like with the lemon juice. Also, if you remember, the Original Spezi uses both orange and lemon juice. However, this didn’t work for my tastes buds. Made it fairly bitter. So, unlike squeezing the lemon into my water or ice tea, I won’t do that with the Spezi. Ooh, I think that rhymed.
Two Thirds Cola and One Third Orange with a splash of orange juice: Just for kicks and giggles, I thought I would try this. Positively delightful. It does make it a tad sweeter than regular Spezi but I loved it. Would definitely recommend doing this!
Very basic recipe for Homemade Spezi
- 2 parts Cola
- 1 part Sanpellegrino Aranciata
For the German experience, serve chilled without ice cubes.
Excuse me while I figure out what to do with all this homemade Spezi. Really should have shown you my counter top for a chuckle.
If you try it out, let me know what you think!
- - Cola of your choosing
- - Sanpellegrino Aranciata
Measure out a ratio of 2 parts Cola and 1 part Sanpellegrino Aranciata. A 1/3 measuring cup works great for a regular sized drinking glass.
Mix and serve cold.
For the German experience, serve chilled without ice cubes.
Add a splash of orange juice if you it sweeter.
Add the juice of one lemon wedge if you want it more sour.
Have you ever had Spezi before? If so, do you have a favourite brand?
The first time l got a Spezi wasn´t in Germany, it was in Austria and l got to love it next to “Almdudler”. Those were the favorite sodas at this time. ln Germany it was very local and it was hard to buy it anywhere in Hesse.
The original is still a bit harder to get here with brands like Mezzo Mix and Schwip-Schwap. Also Paulaner Spezi wasn´t a much known soda until we l saw it in our market 2 month ago. Haven´t tried it yet since we just have cans and no bottles.
ln between there are some no-name brands for orange soda and cola which taste (mixed together) way better than Mezzo Mix.
And Fanta doesn´t taste much like orange. There are better sodas.
Hey, I always have loved Spezi, but I never thought of mixing it the way you did…I am going to get a Coke tomorrow and I will try it with San Pellegrino orange, since I have that in the fridge. Now, I do not have to wait until I get to Germany anymore. Thanks so much for all the research…I can enjoy the Spezi here too. The German stores do not carry it here in FL, their clientele are older and they do not know Spezi, since most of them left Germany still in the 40s and early 50s.
I found Mexican Cola and tried the Spezi and you were right with mixing the sodas…I tried the old way, half and half and found out it was much better 2/3 Cola and 1/3 Pellegrino Orange…thank you…I loved it!
Thomas K says
I actually stumbled across this after just having a bottle of Paulaner Spezi and searching for information about them using the brand name “Spezi”. It actually says on the bottle (in German) that the brand name is licensed and Internet research confirms that they actually did license the brand name, but the recipe is quite different.
Being born and living in Bavaria, I can confirm that a 50/50 mix of orange lemonade and Coke is too much on the orange side. Still your information is correct, a “roughly” 50/50 mix is what you usually get if it’s manually done in a restaurant. I personally prefer somewhat more Coke, your 2/3 to 1/3 ratio sounds pretty close to that. So you can call that Bavarian-approved now 🙂
I think the problem really would be finding the proper kind of orange soda in the US. While I love orange soda a lot, most of the US sodas I had so far (and I’ve tried a lot of them…) tended to be more on the heavy, sweet orange side. The German ones are a lot ligther and have a more dominant citrus kick, I would say.
German Fanta is not the greatest thing to use for Spezi – it actually is the only combination I totally dislike, as Fanta is somewhat unique in taste. I never really thought about why, but I think it’s a lot more on the sour side compared to other German orange lemonade. Any other German orange soda typically works better.
I’ve never tried to use San Pellegrino and while I can imagine it’s a lot closer than using any other US orange soda (Orange Crush, Sunkist, …), it’s probably missing a bit sweetness / has a bit too much bitterness to it from what I recall. I guess I’ll have to give this a try now…
But then I’ve also never had the pleasure of having Mexican Coke, I need to put this on my soda bucket list 🙂
The Kitchen Maus says
Oh, excellent. I love hearing about how people come across my blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment!
Glad that another Bavarian approves of my cola to orange soda ratio. I agree with you that American orange soda is too heavy and sweet. I think if you try the Sanpellegrino Aranciata with cola, you’ll find it very similar to what you’re used to in Bavarian. At least it is for me and my family! It also ended up being the closest to the cans of Spezi I’m able to get here in the States. Would love to hear about what you think if you do end up trying it!
Connie Reinhardt says
When i lived there we added that to our beer.. Makes the beer go down fast.. Which can really kick yiur butt. I use diet pepsi and oj and slice of lemon. Yummmmm
monika langhammer says
I can’t wait to try this! I just got back from Munich two days ago and was already lamenting the loss of my favourite Spezi when someone put me on to your recipe. I will be busy tonight…lol! Thanks!
PS I agree, Orange Fanta is horrible!
The Kitchen Maus says
Sorry for the late response to your comment! Bad me! Hope this recipe brings back warm and fuzzy feelings of being in Munich. I know it makes me think of Germany when I have it. Enjoy!
I’m in the UK and have wanted to try this for ages. I’m diabetic too though so obviously I need a diet version! I recently discovered Five Guys in a nearby shopping mall and tried a Diet Coke mixed with Orange Fanta Zero from their fancy Coke machine and fell in love. So today I tried mixing my own. I too went for 50/50 Diet Coke and Orange Fanta Zero but it was far too orangey. The two thirds Diet Coke and one third Fanta Zero is absolute perfection for me.
Many years ago I saw a limited edition Coke Orange when visiting Brugge, Belgium but as it was the sugary version I didn’t get to try it sadly.
The Kitchen Maus says
Wonderful! I’m so glad to hear that this works with diet or sugar free sodas as well.
Carrie Graf says
My 12 year old daughter loved the Spezi that she had while on a recent trip to Munich, we are not able to find it here at home but did find Mezzo Mix in a can. So we did a side by side comparison of the Mezzo Mix straight from the can and the Mexican Coca Cola / Sanpellegrino Aranciata combination…it was unanimous among our entire family, the mixed soda version was much better and closer to what we had in Germany. Thank you for letting us revisit a bit of our taste of Munich!
The Kitchen Maus says
Yay, that’s great to hear! Thanks for taking the time to let me know!
I lived in Munich as a child of from 79 to 82. The only Spezi that I was aware of came in a brown .5l bottle that did look like a beer bottle. That will always be my favorite drink. The closest that I have come to matching it is:
1/3 Coca Cola
1/3 Orange Juice (no pulp) (like the “original”?)
1/3 7-Up or Sprite
I’ve tried it with Real Lemon lemon juice from concentrate, but never went as far as trying to perfect the ratios.
I am in the U.S. When my sister was in town recently, she and my mom found a six pack of Paulaner Spezi in 12 oz. cans. It tasted flat to me. I’m hoping that it was, and the quality hadn’t gone that far down hill.
The Kitchen Maus says
Thanks for sharing, Jim! When I’ve gotten Paulaner Spezi in the States, it hasn’t been flat and was fairly on par with what I’ve had in Germany in recent years. Maybe the six pack wasn’t a good batch or was old? 🙁
David Simpson says
I’ve had a chance to play around with my own recipe. The 50/50 combo definitely is to much orange. I now make a diet version at restaurants with the new machines that let you pick from a bunch of different flavors. I mix about 75% Diet Coke or Coke Zero, and then about 25% Orange Fanta Zero. They can also be ordered from Amazon… for a price.
I just flund this article when looking how to spell Spezi (my guess was Spetzi) – we were introduced to this drink in Germany around 1987 by our German friends…they showed us that at a bar, you can get a can of coke for one price, can of Orangina (we only saw Orangina used, not any other orange drink) for the same price as a Coke or the Spezi, which is one of each, mixed half and half for just slightly more (but nowhere near twice the price) so it was not only tasty but twice the drink for just maybe 10% higher price! I still like to mix the two half and half…maybe Orangina is not as strong an orange flavor as the drinks you tried because I feel 50/50 is just like I had in Germany?
I wasn’t able to find that flavor of San Pellegrino at my Kroger, but I did find a Simple Truth (Kroger brand) Tangerine Italian soda with 12% juice that worked fairly well! Just wanted to share in case anyone else finds themselves in the same scenario. All Kroger owned grocers should have it too.
Thank you for the recipe! I’ve been missing this for years, and I’m too lazy to stop by World Market for it