What I'm Doing

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Hobby

I have discovered a new hobby: making my own soft drinks.

It all started when I read a blog post on "How to Beat the Soda Habit," and then the comments beneath. The post suggested adding lemon or lime juice to water and serving it over crushed ice (the crushed ice was supposed to give the water a "texture" that would replace the fizziness of carbonated water). Some commentors, however, noted that they had been doing something like this, only mixing club soda or seltzer water with the juice (one commentor noted that this provided the "same fizziness, no sugar, caffeine, or bad stuff"—perhaps someone should inform him that fruit juice does have sugar in it, though not as much as a can of soda).

Thinking this would be a neat idea to try, I went out to the store with Kristen and picked up some limeade, grape juice, lemons, limes, and club soda. When we got back to my apartment, I immediately tried mixing limeade and club soda. It turns out that what Kristen had said to me at the store was correct (of course); that won't work, because these juices were made for drinking, therefore water has already been added. In the end, I had fizzy, watered-down limeade.

So, my second attempt was to juice a couple of the lemons and mix the juice in a glass of club soda. Apparently, this was too strong; I kind of liked it, but Kristen found it undrinkable. I tried, at her suggestion, adding a tablespoon of sugar. I found it to be like drinking very sour candy, but Kristen still couldn't drink it.

This evening, while Kristen was over, I tried mixing it with grape juice, but that bottle of club soda had already gone flat. However, I still had two bottles left, and after Kristen went home, I decided to try again.

I juiced one lemon and one lime, and mixed the juice with a tablespoon of sugar and a glass of club soda. The result was pretty good, although the lemon taste did mostly outweigh the lime, and I think it would have still been too sour for Kristen. I think my next attempt is going to be juicing only half a lemon and a whole lime for a glass of soda. I'm going to do that when Kristen is here, though, so I can make a glass for her and a glass for me (that way I don't have to worry about wasting that last half of lemon).

This has been kind of fun, although I think for it to be even more fun, I would need to carbonate my own water. Apparently, it seems that you can buy a seltzer bottle and some chargers, which you can use for this purpose. I've read that the fizziness is not quite as good this way, but I'm willing to try it, just so I can make totally homemade soda. I also need to start finding more soda recipes, and start coming up with my own.

Who knows? If nothing else, maybe I'll come up with something that'll be popular at parties.


Jamison said...

My buddy Michael made home made root beer one time. It tasted amazing. It was carbonated by using champagne yeast after it was brewed. The only kicker is that you have to drink it pretty soon after it's ready, like within 2-3 weeks I think.

Dr. Qohelet said...

I'd rather just mix my own drinks. For example, I am currently having a Tom Collins.

Granted, I'm not going to go for a spin in my auto any time soon...

Erik said...

home-made soda is a beautiful hobby.
i think that the seltzer-bottles are a bit overrated. I like to use them to carbonate juice (or coffee) directly, but they're a pain to clean, and supply.
if you want easy club soda's the way to go, yeast is fun but tricky (bread yeast makes strange soda, and all yeast leaves the possibility of exploding bottles, but that can be a + or - depending on your attitude to exploding soda)

i liked the strawberry soda on a lot.

happy brewing friend. (this is WebbedFeetofClay by the by)

CoderForChrist said...

erik: thanks for posting!

Yeast sounds like a bit too much trouble right now. For one thing, I'd like to not have to worry about leaving my sodas at room temperature.

The seltzer bottle might be fun, although, yes, it does sound like a lot of work. Then again, I make coffee in a French Press (which can be a pain to clean), so I'm no stranger to taking the difficult way.

Of course, at the moment Club Soda is all I have!

I'm debating on the idea of making my own syrup to mix with the soda water. As of now, I'm just squeezing the juices from the fruit and adding a tablespoon of sugar (for one cup). If I can make a syrup that can last multiple servings, that'll save a lot of effort, and bring me closer to the goal of being popular at parties.

Obviously, I don't really have any idea what I'm doing with this. Which is really most of the fun: I'm experimenting, figuring things out, and learning.

anne said...

try some lacroix soda. kinda defeats the point of making your own soda though. if you want flavor and few calories (as in, no sugar) try crystal light, it's actually not bad, esp. the cherry pomegranite flavor. i bet you could mix that with some club soda. some people may frown on all the artificial sweeteners but i like it. oh - andy says just drink caffeine free diet dr. pepper :-)