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Old 10-27-2013, 05:34 PM   #1
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Making carbonated drink, alternative to soda?

My kids drink far too much soda and I would like to offer them an alternative that is healthier and still enjoyable to drink. I already make my own carbonated lemon aid which is delicious. I'd like to try something else. Does anyone have suggestions for me?

Btw, I will start small making single drinks till I find something I like. After that I'll make larger batches. I used to brew beer so I have a nice mini fridge, kegs, co2, etc. So whatever I make I can have "on tap".

Thanks for any suggestions!

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Old 10-27-2013, 05:40 PM   #2
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Lots of folks swear by the SodaStream system. I don't have one, but it sure looks tempting.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:41 PM   #3
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I saw that thread and it does sound like people like it. Since I have my own carbonation system I don't really need something like that though. I just need recipe ideas for drinks. Thank you.
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Old 10-27-2013, 05:58 PM   #4
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I love ginger ale. Maybe some ginger root and stevia or agave syrup? Another thought, pomegranate juice and similar sweetener.
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Old 10-27-2013, 07:44 PM   #5
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I love seltzer and cranberry juice cocktail. I put about a cup of the cranberry juice to a liter of the carbonated water. There is no reason that you could not make it with almost any kind of 100% juice. Hmm.....maybe I will try it with apple cider.
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Old 10-27-2013, 08:10 PM   #6
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As far as homemade soft drinks go, I like Ginger Beer myself. In fact, I just started a gallon of it today. Below is a link to the recipe I use. Note that I prefer brown sugar, and I also use Cote des Blancs or Premier Cuvee wine yeast instead of the bread yeast called for. This recipe has a real nice zing of ginger. If you don't like it that potent, just cut back the amount used.

http://www.scienceinschool.org/repos...gingerbeer.pdf
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:03 PM   #7
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That looks like a good recipe but 3/4 cups of sugar for 2 liters...is that better than soda pop?
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemchine View Post
That looks like a good recipe but 3/4 cups of sugar for 2 liters...is that better than soda pop?
I don't know, but I suspect a lot of that sugar gets used by the yeast.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:29 PM   #9
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That's a good point regarding the sugar. Leaving it at room temperature for the recommended 48 hours would probably be long enough for the yeast to consume most of the sugar. Since I would be force carbonating I could potentially get by with less sugar. I'll have to think that over.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:39 PM   #10
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If you make some simple syrup, you can make up your beverage without sugar and then add simple syrup to taste. Then you will have an idea of how much sugar it needs/you like.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:45 PM   #11
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That looks like a good recipe but 3/4 cups of sugar for 2 liters...is that better than soda pop?
Considering Coca-Cola contains 240g of sugar in a 2 liter bottle (roughly 1.25 cups), along with phosphoric acid and caffeine, I would say it's definitely better.

But as you know, that's the beauty of making your own. You can sweeten it to your own taste. I use a cup of brown sugar for a one gallon batch and that's about right for me. Plus, as mentioned, some of the sugar gets fermented off.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:48 PM   #12
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Excellent! Since the recipe makes 2 litters I purchased a cap that will allow me to force carbonate from the large co2 tanks. I'll experiment with the simple sugar idea and if I like the result I'll ramp up to the 5 gallon kegs I normally use in my beer fridge. Thank you everyone for your ideas. I'll post back my results but it will probably be a few weeks. In the meantime I will continue to monitor this thread for any further ideas.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:58 PM   #13
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Would you mind explaining the process? Do you make fizzy water and add syrup? Could you take frozen orange juice concentrate and dilute it with fizzy water instead of plain water? Would it carbonate a beverage that was already at the right concentration?
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:02 AM   #14
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When I make beer I have two choices to carbonate the beverage. 1) I can add sugar which the yeast converts to co2 or 2) I can use a tank of co2 connected to a keg (or in this case a 2 litter bottle) to force carbonate.

The recipe mentioned above uses sugar and yeast to naturally carbonate. Some of the sugar would not be converted though and would leave some residual sweetness. So if I were to force carbonate the same recipe minus the sugar it would not be sweet enough. So TaxLady is suggesting I add simple sugar at the end until I get the desired sweetness. Does that make sense?
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:09 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemchine View Post
When I make beer I have two choices to carbonate the beverage. 1) I can add sugar which the yeast converts to co2 or 2) I can use a tank of co2 connected to a keg (or in this case a 2 litter bottle) to force carbonate.

The recipe mentioned above uses sugar and yeast to naturally carbonate. Some of the sugar would not be converted though and would leave some residual sweetness. So if I were to force carbonate the same recipe minus the sugar it would not be sweet enough. So TaxLady is suggesting I add simple sugar at the end until I get the desired sweetness. Does that make sense?
I'm suggesting simple syrup, which is sugar already dissolved into water. Syrup - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"Simple syrup is made by stirring granulated sugar into hot water in a saucepan until the sugar is dissolved and then cooling the solution."
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Old 10-28-2013, 11:25 AM   #16
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One down side I can see to using simple syrup is that you are also diluting the recipe by adding additional liquid. What I would instead suggest is making up the recipe on the stove using half the amount of sugar called for, and then adjusting it to taste there, rather than sweetening after it's carbonated. For another thing, as soon as you add a sugar solution to several gallons of carbonated liquid, you are going to have a "soda volcano". Trust me, I know this from actual experience.

You've seen those Mentos/Coke videos on YouTube, right?
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Old 10-28-2013, 12:07 PM   #17
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Also, when sweetening before carbonating, you'll want to sweeten just a tad more than you like, as CO2 reduces the perception of sweetness.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:08 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davemchine View Post
My kids drink far too much soda and I would like to offer them an alternative that is healthier and still enjoyable to drink. I already make my own carbonated lemon aid which is delicious. I'd like to try something else. Does anyone have suggestions for me?

Btw, I will start small making single drinks till I find something I like. After that I'll make larger batches. I used to brew beer so I have a nice mini fridge, kegs, co2, etc. So whatever I make I can have "on tap".

Thanks for any suggestions!
Ginger beer? Not really beer. My mother used to make it and it was the only soft drink I'd drink Slightly fizzy, if IIRC. Sadly I haven't found the recipe among her effects. Ginger, water, sugar (ok, bad for their teeth but they can brush them or you can ration the GB) yeast and lemon juice, I think.

Elderflower cordial? Again, no recipe but you should be ale to find one on Google. Could be diluted with plain water or soda water or sparkling natural mineral water.

Orangeade - same method as lemonade but less sugar required

Non-alcoholic shrub - basically a fruit vinegar diluted with sparkling water. - sort of sweet with a tang to it. My grandmother used to make blackberry vinegar (dead easy) to be taken neat for coughs in winter and diluted into a very refreshing drink in hot weather.
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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Quote:
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That looks like a good recipe but 3/4 cups of sugar for 2 liters...is that better than soda pop?
At least it IS sugar. Most of the carbonated drinks on sale in the UK have artificial sweeteners as well as sugar.

And it isn't just the sugar in bought soft drinks that causes manic behaviour - colourants are another of the villains. The café at the stables sell "Slush" a so-called "fruit flavoured" semi-frozen granite-style drink which comes in lurid colours - neon blue, fluorescent green and crimson. The lady who runs the café had to stop selling the blue one because she had so many complaints from parents about their children's evening tantrums after drinking it all day!
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Old 10-28-2013, 04:35 PM   #20
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Ginger beer? Not really beer. My mother used to make it and it was the only soft drink I'd drink Slightly fizzy, if IIRC. Sadly I haven't found the recipe among her effects. Ginger, water, sugar (ok, bad for their teeth but they can brush them or you can ration the GB) yeast and lemon juice, I think.

Elderflower cordial? Again, no recipe but you should be ale to find one on Google. Could be diluted with plain water or soda water or sparkling natural mineral water.

Orangeade - same method as lemonade but less sugar required

Non-alcoholic shrub - basically a fruit vinegar diluted with sparkling water. - sort of sweet with a tang to it. My grandmother used to make blackberry vinegar (dead easy) to be taken neat for coughs in winter and diluted into a very refreshing drink in hot weather.
If you google "Home made soft drinks" and look for the "Epicurious" site there's a list of recipes
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