Homemade specialty sodas are a great way to add variety to your menu, get more tips during your lunch shift, or just make another tasty beverage.
I’ve made sodas a few different ways in the past – some more successful (and less messy) than others. In this video I’ll go in detail over my favorite way to make sodas, as well as briefly mentioning two alternatives as well.
How to Make DIY Sodas
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1. Puree and Reduce
This method is similar to how commercial sodas are distributed – in a condensed syrup form. Soda water is added later to reconstitute the soda. Here are the high level steps:
- Puree the fruit you plan to use in your soda
- Add sugar to taste and reduce it to a thick syrup over heat
- Fine-strain to remove particles
- Add syrup and soda water to a glass and stir to combine. Add citrus juice and/or simple syrup to taste.
2. Fermenting Soda with Yeast
This is the trickiest of the methods, and the most dangerous. It’s extremely important that you NOT use a glass container or any other container that can’t handle high pressure. I’ve heard empty 2L cola bottles are a great vessel for this, but I haven’t tried it myself! For this, we used Red Star Champagne Yeast (10 Packs) Dried Yeast.
- First, design your soda without the bubbles, but make it sweeter than normal to leave some sugar for fermentation.
- Put the drink into a container that is safe! (As mentioned earlier, empty 2 Liter soda bottles are a good choice.)
- Add fermentation yeast – I used 1/8 tsp for each 2 Liter soda bottle.
- Let it ferment! Keep a close eye on it, and try to check it every 6 hours. When the soda bottle is firm and you can hardly dent by squeezing it, the soda is done.
- Immediately put it in the fridge to stop the fermentation. (Don’t wait until the next morning – that’s how ours exploded!)
Another note – I highly recommend opening the soda bottles over the sink!
3. Juice, Strain and Carbonate
I have been doing this for most of my juices and I’ll say, it works but I made a huge mess! This is the SodaStream that I used in the video (and have abused dozens of times well beyond what it’s supposed to do).
- The juice from 1 bunch of Celery
- 6 oz Sudachi Juice
- 1.5 oz Agave Nectar
- ~ 18 oz Water
- Juice the celery. (Here’s the juicer we used)
- Strain it as much as possible. (I use a Fine Strainer and a coffee filter to strain twice.)
- Add the Sudachi Juice and Agave Nectar to taste. Make it slightly sweet.
- Add water to make the total quantity 1L.
- Put in your carbonator and carbonate!
- You can make a lot less mess than I did by carefully and slowly removing from your sodastream
In the video we use a SodaStream carbonator with this Paintball Canister Adapter. Since this is not the manufacturer’s recommended approach, do this at your own risk! 🙂 We also talked about clarification, which you can learn more about in our first clarification video and second attempt.
Other Carbonating Resources:
- Brian Johnson, Better Cocktails At Home: The Science of Cocktail Carbonation
- Jeffrey Morganthaler: How to Build Your Own Carbonation Rig