Now, I'm sure many of you homebrewers out there have considered making soda at one time or another. It only makes sense: those who homebrew often make a lot of things for themselves. Soda should be no different.
You've seen the soda extracts that many shops (including NB) sell, which I myself partake in from time to time. They make good, quality sodas and the majority of the work is done for you.
Making soda is easy and usually involves two approaches, either natural or forced carbonation. Natural carbonation involves letting yeast begin to ferment the sugars available in the soda in a closed container (glass or PET bottle). The amount of CO2 produced from the yeast carbonates the soda before any real alcohol is produced. Forced carbonation most commonly involves a homebrew kegging system. No yeast needed, just dissolve sugar in water, mix in your soda extract, and carbonate.
The following soda recipe and directions I mentioned utilize a homebrew kegging system for forced carbonation. This recipe can be made with natural carbonation using yeast, but for sake of ease I prefer the forced carbonation method. This inspiration for this recipe was given to me from NB employee Ilya Soroka.
What's different here is what you consider a soda: is it something sickly sweet, loaded with high high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors, and too much caffeine; or can it be a healthy, delicious, and refreshing beverage?
Check out this recipe for a new, fresh take on soda.
Orange/Carrot/Ginger Soda (3 gallons)
- 2 Gallons Orange Juice (from oranges or from concentrate)
- 5 lbs. Carrots (tops removed)
- 1 branch* of Ginger (peeled)
- 1/2 Gallon Water
- Funnel (sanitized)
- 3 or 5 gallon soda keg (also sanitized)
- Place the sanitized funnel in the open keg hatch and position it under your juicer.
- Juice the oranges, carrots and ginger (I typically find juicing the ginger knobs with the carrots or oranges easier than alone).
- Top the keg off with water to desired level of consistency and sweetness.
- Attach the keg lid and purge head space with CO2.
- Carbonate with CO2 to 3 - 4 volumes.
- Keep refrigerated at all times to maintain freshness.
The possibilities are endless: pick your favorite fruits (and/or veg gies), juice them, and carbonate! Not to mention those who just like carbonated water can make their own "club soda."
I will be experimenting with some strawberry-watermelon soda this summer - I'll keep you updated!
* This is what a "branch" of ginger looks like, way bigger than a "knob:"