I saw a commercial the other day for one of those soda making things. Y’know, the gizmo that forces CO2 into water to make fizzy drinks using different flavor concentrates (that you would buy from the gizmo-maker.)

This thing.

The commercial was crap – no one gets that orgasmic over sweet fizzy water – but the idea stuck with me. I drink mostly water and tea and tend to avoid soda because it’s nothing but liquid sugar, but if I had a way to make less sweet soda …

To the Internet!

Apparently there are a lot of recipes for homemade soda, and most are pretty much the same. You need a sweet liquid (I used and apple juice “cocktail” that’s partially juice and partially sugar water) a pinch of yeast, and a sturdy bottle. If you use bottled juice, be sure to check the label. If it contains potassium sorbate, sorbic acid, sodium benzoate, or benzoic acid, then it won’t work. These are additives used to prevent fermentation and will simply kill the yeast before it has a chance to work its magic.

The bottle and the yeast are the most important things, the bottle has to be sturdy enough to contain the gases produced by the yeast and not explode (home-brewers call these “bottle bombs” and it’s a bad thing.) Not surprisingly, soda bottles work pretty good, but since I didn’t have any, I just poured out a bit of the “cocktail” and dumped the yeast into the juice bottle. I then put it in the bathtub with the shower curtain drawn in case of catastrophic failure.

I always expect catastrophic failure.

The recommended yeast is ale yeast, since I didn’t have any I used a pinch of cuvee wine yeast. Some recipes called for champagne yeast, which sounds silly to me. That stuff has been bred for high-pressure environments and would almost guarantee that things would go boom, but ale yeast will supposedly die off if the pressure gets to high. You don’t need much, just a pinch, so the packet of yeast will last a long time.

I dropped the pinch of yeast into the “cocktail” bottle, closed it up tight, and put it in the bathtub before heading off to work. I thought about leaving a note for Mother Dearest, but wasn’t sure what I should write – “Don’t worry if you hear an explosion coming from my bathroom, it’s just the apple juice in my bathtub.” just sounds kinda weird.

I got home and the bottle was fine, it still had a bit of give to it so I left it on the counter and checked it several times during the next day. I could see tiny bubbles rising – a sure sign of fermentation – and the bottle was growing steadily tighter. Once the bottle was hard as a rock, after about forty-eight hours, I stuck it in the fridge. I wasn’t sure if the pressure would kill off the wine yeast, but the could should send them into dormancy.

A few hours later I cracked open the bottle to a satisfying “c’hiss” of escaping gas and poured myself a glass.

Mmmm, juice.

It was delicious, but would have been better if I had used a good juice instead of the store-brand “cocktail” I had. I’m thinking my next batch will be cherry or maybe I will try root beer.