Remember when you were a kid and a soda was such a treat? It wasn’t just a drink you had while scarfing down your meal like nowadays. It was equivalent to ice cream or some other dessert. I think it tasted so much better then too.
I’m now visualizing a picture of one of those old fashioned soda shops in my head… I promise I’m not that old.
I find carbonation so refreshing, isn’t it? With all the chemicals that are now added to most store bought sparkling drinks, sure you can get soda and sparkling waters that aren’t but they’re more expensive. Time to learn how to make it ourselves! I’m not talking about using a soda maker, either.
I love, love, love carbonated beverages. It’s pretty much the only way you can get me to drink anything. I know, it’s terrible but water is boring and there’s no time for boring. I usually start my day off with sparkling lemon water to wake me up. Then I drink a couple glasses of sparkling lemonade throughout the day, and most likely end with some sparkling juice. It’s what I do.
Seriously, you can make just about anything sparkling. First up is a cola recipe and then info on bubbly beverages. This is soooooo much cheaper than a soda making machine and so many more flavor options!
I must admit I found this basic recipe online in an instructable and modified it to my tastes. Recipe is below.
In a large pan, simmer 2 cups of water.
Add zests, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla, and citric acid.
Simmer on low for 18 minutes, you can go a little longer to bring out a little stronger flavor, but I wouldn’t go over 25.
Meanwhile, add sugar and molasses to a large bowl.
Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place on top of sugar bowl. (I poured the simmered mixture into a mason jar first using a filling funnel, easier to hold the pan with both hands that way.) Make sure you gather up the corners and squeeze as much liquid out as you can from the zest mixture.
I used this funnel specifically made for wide mouth mason jars, it cradles the sieve perfectly.
Very useful when you can too, gives you head space and keeps the rim of the jar clean!
Another tablespoon of molasses will make it even darker.
Above is the CO2 setup we use to charge our 2 liter bottles. It’s made up of a 20lb cylinder, a CO2 regulator, and 5/16″ ID beverage tubing with a ball lock on the end. If your husband makes beer he will probably already have the CO2 cylinder and regulator. He’s been holding out on you, tell him to get a Y splitter with two independent shut off valves and you can add your tubing to it.
Here’s the cap for 2l bottles, it also fits anything that uses that same cap type. Mountain Man says you can also modify existing plastic caps with tire stems and instead of the ball lock use a tire chuck to fill it from the regulator. I’m not sure what half that means so if you go that route and need help hit me up in the comments.
The CO2 side snaps onto the replacement lid and you can hear the rush of CO2. Now all you do is ShAkE the bottle, 10 to 15 seconds is all that is needed and bam…carbonated water. The colder the water the more CO2 it will hold. Although this works with cool water, it won’t hold much CO2 for long. We always have a pitcher of water in the fridge to fill the 2l bottles with. In a pinch we have used ice water when we forgot to fill the pitcher too. If you have a cold water dispenser that’ll work as well.
This is a very “herbal” cola, we enjoy immensely and hope you will too!
Here are links to everything used in this post(We get a small commission if you use them Thanks!):
- Zest of 1 orange
- Zest of 1 lime
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 small star of anise (whole)
- ½ teaspoon dried lavender flowers
- 2 teaspoons ginger root (needs to be fresh)
- 1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
- ¼ teaspoon citric acid
- 2 cups cane sugar
- 1 tablespoon molasses
- Zest all the citrus and combine cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla, and citric acid.
- In a large pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add zests, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla, and citric acid. Simmer on low for 18 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add sugar and molasses to a large bowl.
- Line a sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and place on top of sugar bowl. (I poured it into a mason jar using a funnel.)
- Pour simmering mixture through sieve. Make sure to squeeze the last bit of fluid out, careful it'll be hot.
- Stir the hot liquid and sugars together, making sure all the sugar dissolves.
- Pour the syrup into a jar and chill. Once chilled, combine a jigger of syrup to ¾ cup seltzer water and enjoy.