1. Find Carbonated Water
A key component of all sodas is their fizz that makes them so much more interesting to drink. This fizz can be added through store bought sparkling water, bottles of which can be bought at pretty much any grocery/convenience store near you. You can go with generic store brands or buy the premium stuff such as Perrier.
For a truly homemade soda and better tasting experience, you can make this seltzer water at home. To do so, you need an appliance called a soda maker. Soda makers are handy devices that come in different shapes and sizes. They inject CO2 into your drink so as to carbonate it and to turn regular water into sparkling water. There are 2 main types of these appliances: soda machines and soda siphons.
Soda machines are full on appliances to which you attach a bottle of water. Through various mechanisms such as pressing a button or pulling a lever, the soda machine adds carbonation to the water in the bottle. The CO2 comes from a carbonator (a metallic cylinder filled with CO2) or a CO2 cartridge (small metal pellet filled with CO2). Soda machines cost less to use and are more convenient so they should be bought by people/households that consume a fair bit of soda.
Soda siphons on the other hand are very small devices that you attach to bottles that are usually included. After inserting a CO2 cartridge into it and screwing it onto the bottle, you need to shake the bottle and wait a bit before the carbonation takes full effect. Soda siphons take longer to operate but the actual device is less expensive and should thus be used by more casual drinkers of soda.
2. Find Flavoring
If you are simply interested in how to make carbonated water you can skip this step.
Now that you have your carbonated water, you’re going to need to find a way to turn it into tasty soda. Thankfully, there are a myriad of options available. The most popular are SodaStream flavors that come in beverage mixes. These are available in multiple flavors, some of them mimicking existing drinks such as Pepsi or Sierra Mist while others are very unique such as blackcurrant or cucumber lime. More traditional flavors like ginger ale, lemonade or apple peach can be bought as well. They are also available in diet variants with 0 calories.
Not excited by these SodaStream flavors? There are other options available as well such as Crystal Light, Kool-Aid (powders), Stur, Mio (liquids), Torani and Rio (syrups). Once again, these come in a very wide variety of flavors. For a more extensive article on alternatives to SodaStream flavors.
I have also found that instead of purely drinking fruit juices, it was much tastier and healthier to combine it with sparkling water in a 50/50 mixture. Most of these juices are too sweet initially so by adding carbonated water, you can dilute this sweetness while simultaneously adding that fizz loved by all soda aficionados.
Finally, you can make your own syrups to add to sparkling water so as to create soda. Myriads of recipes are available online. 50 Homemade soda recipes (Food Network), 10 Recipes for homemade soda (the kitchn).
3. Mix Them!
Now that you have your flavoring and your seltzer water, all that’s left to do is to mix them. For this step, I recommend using cold water since soda is generally best enjoyed cold, especially on a warm summer day. To find the right proportions, I’d suggest experimenting a bit to find just the right level of sweetness for you. Most of the flavorings do include some general indication.
- SodaStream recommends putting roughly 1 tablespoon of flavor mix per serving (250 ml).
- Torani recommends putting 1 oz of syrup per 8 oz of sparkling water.
Nonetheless, everyone has different tastes so it’s best if you slowly add more syrup until the perfect flavor is reached.