Soda Gembira ‘Lite’: Happy Soda (Less Sweet)

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Deyana Goh
Deyana Goh
Deyana was born in Singapore and lives there. She is half-Chinese, half-Arab, with a grandmother who was born to an Arab family in Bogor, Indonesia. Deyana grew up eating Indonesian food as it is cooked in Arab-Indonesian households, and has fond memories of the festive whole chicken stuffed with lamb.

Soda gembira, or “happy soda” in English, is the perfect welcome drink for a wholesome party. It’s pink, fizzy, refreshing, obscenely sweet, and a lot of fun. Your guests will be happy for sure. It’s also super easy to make, so you’ll be happy too. Happiness all around!

Soda gembira is a simple concoction of syrup, soda water, and condensed milk — at least, in theory. On the streets of Indonesia, however, most eateries have found a shortcut to this stressful three-ingredient recipe, and have reduced the number of ingredients to just two: Fanta Cherry (cherryade) and condensed milk, with ice cubes thrown in for good measure. Great idea, but you can imagine the sugar high!

As a busy modern person who’s mildly saccharophobic [fear of sugar, according to Google], I’ve found the perfect solution. This recipe for soda gembira is just as quick and easy, but with slightly lower sugar content. Still unhealthy, but makes you feel like you’re at least trying, like drinking a Diet Coke. I have dubbed this drink ‘Soda Gembira Lite’.


How to Make It

Making it is really simple, and a recipe really isn’t needed. For every glass of soda gembira, add a few teaspoons of condensed milk to taste. Then add two parts cherryade to one part soda water. Stir and mix. Adjust according to your preference. Serve while it’s still fizzy. 

The best way to serve it is to pour the condensed milk into the glass first, and to let it settle at the bottom of the glass. Then, add the sodas and mix. This isn’t really necessary, but it’s fun to watch the concoction slowly transform from red and white (colours of the Indonesian flag!) to a milky pink. If you’re serving this to guests, you might want to let them do the stirring as party entertainment.

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Soda Gembira ‘Lite’: Happy Soda (Less Sweet)

Soda Gembira ‘Lite’: Happy Soda (Less Sweet)

  • Author: Deyana Goh
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 3 minutes
  • Yield: 1 1x
  • Category: Drinks
  • Method: Mixing
  • Cuisine: Indonesian
  • Diet: Vegetarian


Soda gembira is a popular sweet drink found in restaurants all over Indonesia. This pink, fizzy and milky drink is made using cherryade and condensed milk, but we’ve tweaked it a bit to make it less sweet..


  • 3 tsp condensed milk
  • 200 ml chilled cherryade
  • 100 ml chilled soda water

Soda Gembira ingredients


  1. Pour the condensed milk into a glass.
  2. When ready to drink, pour the cherryade and soda water. Serve immediately while it’s still fizzy.


  • You can add in flavoured syrup as well, or skip the soda water altogether and use 100% cherryade, resulting in a sweeter, punchier taste.

Keywords: Quick & Easy, Common Ingredients, Cherryade, Cherries, Fizzy Drinks

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