Craft Soda, at least the way I make it, is a very low alcohol fermented beverage with almost unlimited flavouring options. The basic idea is to infuse and blend your chosen flavours overnight, then bottle it with yeast the next day - the yeast will eat the sugar and create co2 and alcohol, making your brew fizzy. Once the bottles firm up tough, pop them in the fridge and fermentation will cease, and it's ready to drink.
There are many great benefits to brewing your own Soda. As well as using natural, healthy ingredients and leaving the chemicals out of your brew, it's also a great way to enjoy your own beverages with almost no alcohol – it's full of creative options and you can tailor the sweetness and flavour intensity to your own palate - it's very quick and easy to make, and ready in 48 hours. Finally, it's very economic – you can make products that are superior to supermarket sodas for a fraction of the cost.Equipment Required
2.5L+ vessel which can withstand boiling water. Bowls, large pans and stockpots, buckets etc are all great
Muslin/nylon to act as a filter
8-9 500ml PET/Plastic BottlesIngredients
200g Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar
Wine or Ale YeastMethod
Cut the lemons in half and juice them into the bucket, then drop in the rinds. Use 1-2 rinds for a sweeter lemonade and all 5 rinds for a more bitter lemon flavour. Add the sugar. Pour 2L boiling water over the whole thing and the surfaces of the vessel to sanitize, and dissolve the sugar thoroughly. Sanitizing is only necessary if you're using a cold water infusion of any sorts because boiling water will keep things sanitary – if you have a lid, pop it on and give it a careful shake to sanitize all surfaces.
Cover and leave to infuse for 24 hours.
The next day, you should have a nice extract going with a strong flavour. Make this mixture up to 1 Gallon or 4.5L with cold water;
Sanitize your bottles, funnel and muslin filter. Stir your brew thoroughly using a sanitized spoon and ensure the sugar is dissolved - pour the brew through the filter and funnel into another vessel and you should have a nice pulp-free liquid;
You can do this a bit at a time or all at once into a larger vessel.
Pour the brew into your bottles, leaving about ¼ - ½ inch of headspace for the pressure, or if using beer bottles, the bottle neck.
When your bottles are full, add a few grains of yeast – a tiny teaspoon tip - to each bottle. Give them a shake and leave the sealed bottles in a warm place until they firm up – when they're ready, they should be tough and not squeezey, but you want to check them every 6 hours or so. Fermentation will take anywhere from 6 to 48 hours to get going.
Boosh! The hard part's done and you can almost relax. When bottles are firm, stick them in the fridge upright – this stops the fermentation, leaving the brew sweet and carbonated. I select individual bottles when they are firm enough and gradually move the whole batch over.
Leave in the fridge for at least 24 hours to settle and carbonate, and drink cool pouring the drink away from the bulk of the sediment, or shake slightly if you like it cloudy. The bottles will clear a little and absorb more carbonation after a week, if you're patient enough.
Remember you can vary everything as you like, including the sugar quantity for a sweeter or drier soda, and the world is your oyster! Most brews use some sort of acid for depth of flavour, which is readily available from a natural source in Lemons, or by using Citric Acid.
Sugars (White/Brown, Honey, Molasses, Maple Syrup, Carob Syrup)
Extracts and Essences (Vanilla, Rum, Fruits, Nuts)
Fruit Juices, Whole Fruits and Purees/Concentrates
Herbs and Spices (Ginger, Thyme, Chilli, Black Pepper, Cardamom, Hops!)
Teabags (Original Iced Tea, Camomile, Peppermint)
Vegetables (Cucumber, Beetroot, Carrot)
The list goes on, and nothing is off limits!Hot Ginger Beer
Juice and Rind of 3 Lemons
6tbsp Fresh Grated Ginger (A thumb sized piece.)
200g Sugar.Juniper Gin-Style Soda
3tbsp Juniper berries
1tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 Cinnamon Stick
Juice and Rind of 2 Lemons
2 Cardamom pods
1 Bay leaf