How to make your own soda pop

Store-bought soda can be higher in sugars than you'd like. Here’s how to make your own delicious soda—and save countless cans and bottles from being tossed.
Making your own soda involves creating the bubbles and adding the flavours—one part science and one part preference. First, the preference.
Pick and prepare the flavouring
If you're looking to replace your store-bought root beer, or an all-natural light and fizzy lemon sparkler, you can buy base syrups to make some pretty reasonable facsimiles of commercial soda classics like cola, orange, and root beer. There's also options for some fancier flavours.

But making your own syrups is as easy as it is rewarding. More importantly, you can use all-natural flavours and reduce the sweetness. You might try raw cane sugar instead of refined white, for example. Other natural alternatives include xylitol, agave, and stevia.

Consider starting with a basic lemon syrup. Merely simmer the juice and zest of lemons with water and the sweetener of your choice, then strain and bottle. Refrigerate for storage.

Gather what you’ll need
And now, the science. While what follows is a simple route to soda success, you can find many more options in books and on the Internet.

  • 1/8 tsp. Champagne, brewer’s or bread yeast (bread yeast will work, but is the poorest option. Make sure this measurement is exact).
  • 1/2 c. lukewarm water.
  • 4 litres water.
  • 2-1/4 c. sugar (for a lower-calorie option, replace 1-1/8 c. sugar with 1-1/8 c. sugar alternative OR for a less sweet option, reduce amount of sugar but by no more than half).
  • 1 tbsp., plus 1 tsp. of soda extract (found in home-brew and winemaking shops or online) in the flavour of your choice OR (to taste) a store-bought base syrup or your own syrup.
  • 4 litre non-aluminum container with a lid.
  • A large wood or plastic mixing spoon.
  • A funnel.
  • A strainer.
  • Two 2-litre plastic soda bottles.
  • Bleach, or bleach alternative.

Play foodie scientist
Step 1: Sanitize your equipment in a sink containing one tablespoon of chlorine bleach to four litres of water for at least 20 minutes. Wash and rinse everything carefully to ensure that no leftover bleach particles linger to kill the yeast.

Step 2: Dissolve the yeast in the warm water for five minutes.

Step 3: Mix the sugar, soda extract or flavouring (straining first if necessary to remove any solids), and dissolved yeast in the large container, adding enough water to fill it. Close the lid securely and shake the container until the sugar dissolves completely.

Step 4: Pour the mixture into the bottles evenly using the funnel, screwing the caps on tightly.

Step 5: Place the bottles in a dark place at room temperature for four to six days. Squeeze each bottle gently on a daily basis. If one feels too firm, open the cap, allow some carbonation to escape, then reseal. Use caution...those bubbles are powerful!

Step 6: Refrigerate the aged bottles and enjoy when they are as firm as store-bought plastic bottles of soda. Drink within four weeks.

How to make your own soda pop


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