We know that the long, hot days of summer are still quite some way off, but the recent few days of unseasonably warm weather have put us in the mood for thirst-quenching drinks. So we thought that in today’s blog post, we’d take a look at how to make your very own fizzy drinks that are a whole lot tastier, and better for you, than the big brand colas and fizzy pops. What could be better than a shelf full of colourful glass bottles filled with mouth-watering homemade drinks?
What makes ‘pop’ fizzy?
When you drink a commercially produced cola or soda drink, there’s an unmistakeable fizz to it, which of course is part of the drink’s appeal. Generally, the fizz in these drinks is produced by forcing carbon dioxide gas (CO2) into the drink under pressure. The same principle is at work in the humble soda siphon and in the domestic fizzy drinks dispensers that were so popular in the 1970s. These are enjoying something of a revival today too. In this article, we’ll cover appetising drinks that can be enlivened with a soda siphon, as well as drinks that get their fizz by other means.
Homemade fizzy lemonade
Lots of recipes for homemade lemonade produce an old-fashioned cloudy lemonade that is delicious, but not exactly fizzy. There is a solution, however, in the form of baking soda, which will give your lemonade the fizzy kick it really needs. Here’s the recipe...
For each glass of lemonade:
1tsp baking soda
Squeeze the lemons into a glass, and then fill the glass two-thirds full of water.
Stir in the baking soda and add the sugar to taste.
That’s all there is to it! Because the lemon juice is acidic and the baking soda is alkaline, combining the two causes a chemical reaction, producing carbon dioxide - and that translates into bubbles!
Homemade ginger beer
Another great fizzy drink to make at home is ginger beer; a versatile drink that can be added to cocktails and mocktails, or drunk as it is. Homemade ginger beer doesn’t have such a powerful fizz as shop-bought versions or other carbonated drinks, but it’s a fizz nonetheless and it’s part of what makes ginger beer so delicious.
If you want to make true ginger beer, which is a fermented drink, you’ll need what is known as a ‘ginger beer plant’ (GBP) to get started. A ginger beer pant isn’t a plant at all, but instead, it’s a jelly-like culture that acts as the starter agent in the fermentation process within your ginger beer. You can obtain a ginger beer plant from someone who already produces their own ginger beer, or you can buy some online. Here’s our ginger beer recipe…
1tbsp ginger beer plant
7cm piece of root ginger, peeled and grated 275gms sugar Juice of 1 large lemon ½ tsp cream of tartar
2 litres of water
Place the grated ginger on a muslin cloth and tie the top. Place it with the sugar, water, cream of tartar and lemon juice into a large jug and stir until all of the sugar has dissolved.
Add the GBP and cover the jug with a lid, or with a clean cloth fixed in place with string or a rubber band.
Leave to ferment for up to five days, then pour it carefully into swing-top bottles using a piece of muslin and a funnel, or a very fine sieve.
Leave the glass bottles for another 2-3 days and the ginger beer will then be ready to drink.
Your ginger beer plant is ready to reuse as soon as you remove it from the fermented drink. Just wash it in clean water and start again. As it grows, you can also divide it and give it to others to start their own ginger beer production process!
Cheat’s fizzy drinks
Of course, if you want a quick and easy fizzy drink to make at home, the easy way to do this is to cheat a little. Spritz up some homemade elderflower cordial with some soda water or even sparkling mineral water, for a quick and easy fizzy delight. You can really go to town experimenting with this kind of fizzy drink, choosing whatever fruits and berries are in season and either squeezing the juice or pulping them, before straining the juice into swing-top bottles and topping up with soda water. These are perfect for lazy afternoons in the garden or picnics at the beach.
Have you had a go at making your own homemade soft drinks, fizzy or not? If so, we’d love to hear how you got on, and what your favourite recipes are. Why not share your photos and recipes with us online, on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter?