Introduction: Homemade Carbonated Beverages

Picture of Homemade Carbonated Beverages

I have been making homemade soda for longer than I have used Instructables. After scanning what people have posted here on soda making, I decided that I would post my technique. This will not save you money if you compare it to most store bought carbonated beverages. However you will have control over what you put in your body. After all, the most famous soft drink in the world won't tell you all of its ingredients, but it sure makes a great rust remover!!! On to the Instructable!!!

Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools

To make soda you could buy a pre-made soda maker, but I did not want to have to rely on a cylinder exchange program. So, I put one together using off the shelf components.

Here is what you need:

A C02 Cylinder, mine is a 10 LB as I did not want to have to get it filled very often. 5 lbs would work too!

A Regulator

1/4" thick walled hose, as long as you want, but long enough to give you some freedom from the cylinder.

Disconnect - Ball lock with 1/4" barb (gas)

Hose clamps (2)

Carbonator brand PET bottler

Empty 2 Liter PET bottles

I happen to live close to Ballast Point Breweries' Home Brew Mart, so that is where I picked up all but the 2 liter PET bottles. All the pieces cost me about $250. I recommend finding a local home brew supply house to pick up all the items as they should have helpful staff to assist you in the acquisition of all the pieces and perhaps fill your cylinder or direct you to somewhere that can. It will cost less to order the big pieces online though. You don't actually have to drink any of the nasty commercial sodas to get the 2 liter bottles, family and friends should be more than happy to give you theirs!

Attach the regulator to the C02 cylinder using the instructions provided with said regulator.

Attach the hose to the regulator's outlet and tighten with a hose clamp.

Attach the Ball lock disconnect to the other end if the hose with the other hose clamp.

Following all safety precautions (i.e safety glasses, and directing loved ones to a safe distance) slowly open up the C02 canister's valve and tighten up any leaky connections.

Adjust the regulator to 30 PSI.

Your C02 rig should now be ready, on to the next step!

Step 2: Figuring Out Your Proportions

Picture of Figuring Out Your Proportions

I did not want to use premade soda mixes, so I figured out to make it with 3 ingredients. They are water (that we carbonate,) juice (or other such flavor,) and sugar.

Your proportions may be adjusted to suit your taste, but I find that about 10% flavor (I love cherry soda so I use cherry juice,) and 15% sugar works out pretty well.

To make life easy, mark your 2 liter bottle with fill lines.

10% plus 15% equals 25% which leaves 75% water. As we are using 2 Liter bottles, let's stick to the metric system for our measurements. 75% of 2 liters is 1500 milliliters. That is how much water we need, so I measure out 1500 ml of water and pour it into the 2 Liter bottle.

Mark a line on the bottle at the water level with a Sharpie or other such marker and label the line "water."

Measure out 200 ml of water and pour that into the bottle, adding it to the water that is already in it.

Mark the water line with the marker, and label it "juice," or "flavor," or "flavour" for our British friends.

You could continue on and fill up another 300 ml to make 2 liters and mark that for the sugar, but I find that that line always gets worn off, so I don't bother, it is just the top to me.

YAY, we have our proportions! Lets carbonate some water!

Step 3: Carbonate the Water!

Picture of Carbonate the Water!

Now we are onto the carbonization process!

Fill your 2 liter bottle to the "water" line with good water. I use reverse osmosis water as my tap water is so hard it could drive nails.

Chill it. I chill it overnight.

For the sake of the Department of Redundancy Department, I shall repeat: Chill the water. Warm water doesn't carbonate.

If you haven't already put the Carbonator cap on, go ahead and do so.

Squeeze out the air in the bottle while depressing the Carbonator's valve, as the instructions that came with the Carbonator indicate. when a little water comes out, stop depressing the valve. The goal is to have no air in the bottle.

With the C02 cylinder valve open and the regulator adjusted to 30 psi, attach the ball lock disconnect to the Carbonator.


You will notice that the gauge on the regulator dips below 30 psi, then slowly raises back to 30 psi.

Shake the bottle, you will notice that the pressure dips again, and then goes back up to 30. The pressure dips because the water is absorbing the C02 when you shake it, making carbonic acid.

Keep shaking until the gauge stops dipping. This is quite a little workout, but I find that I get the most consistent carbonation with this technique.

When the gauge stops dipping, remove the ball lock disconnect and put the newly carbonated water back into the fridge. Ideally it should re-chill overnight again, though I have had success in adding the rest of the ingredients right away.

Feel good that you have not only carbonated some water, but you have also gotten a nice workout!

Step 4: Make Simple Syrup

Picture of Make Simple Syrup

Simple is the name of it for a reason.

To make simple syrup, boil equal parts sugar and water in an uncovered sauce pot for 10 minutes.

Make a good amount of it, as you will use it for so much more than soda. I am a crusty granola eater, so I use organic sugar, hence my simple syrup has a tan color to it. Refined sugar should yield a clear syrup, but I have never made it out of refined sugar, so I really couldn't tell you.

Store your syrup in a sealable container in the refrigerator. You will want your syrup to be cool before adding to carbonated water.

Step 5: Add Flavor and Sugar

Picture of Add Flavor and Sugar

Remove cap and with a funnel tilted to the side, add your flavor. As i mentioned before I am addicted to cherry soda, so I use cherry juice. Make sure your juice is 100% juice, as we are diluting it down to 10%.

Try to get the juice to run down the inside side of the bottle to prevent the carbonated water from fizzing too much. Fill to the "juice" line.

Add your simple syrup, again trying to slip it into the soda along the inside side to prevent too much fizzing, untill you fill it to the "top".

There will be some fizz over, but I still get better results pre-carbonating the water.

Put on the cap that the bottle came with and give a little shake to stir everything up, then toss it in the fridge for a few minutes to let the bubbles settle.

Step 6: Enjoy Your Fine Tasty Beverage and Share Your Recipie!

Picture of Enjoy Your Fine Tasty Beverage and Share Your Recipie!

Taste your tasty beverage. Know that you are enjoying something that is not filled with phosphoric acid and mercury laden corn syrup. Feel free to try a plethora of flavors. I have carbonated a number of juices from concentrate, grapefruit juice from my fathers grapefruit tree, even prune juice!!! You could also flavor your simple syrup and make Italian sodas. Heck, if you are going to flavor your simple syrup, use it in your lattes. I have made no calorie soda using Organic Zero, though it doesn't make a simple syrup, it can be added as granules because it dissolves rapidly. This project also helps reuse those 2 liter PET bottles! they do have a limited useful life so be sure to recycle them after reusing them a lot. When the creases on the sides of the bottle are really noticeable, it is probably time to recycle them or re-purpose them.

Please post your own variations in the comments! Tell us how you flavored it, what proportions you used, and what non-aspartame based sweetener you used!


doomsdayltd (author)2010-08-28

so this isn't just a how to make soda tutorial its how to make ORGANIC soda tutorial...sweet!

bsg68 (author)2016-03-16

Could you make apple cider with this

plasticbaldy (author)2016-03-06

And the difference between Organic Sugar and Sugar is . . . ? The cost that gullible people are willing to pay. - It's 'natural' you say - so is dog poo.

RonnyL1 (author)2015-06-16

BrianI (author)2014-11-14

Word of advice to all who might try this, I have force carbonated beer in a similar fashion with great success. You may need to apply the CO2 pressure and shake repeatedly until the beverage quits absorbing the gas for the best result.

jgarcia76 (author)2012-08-30

not to be mean, but why even put this on here i am so sure that ppl just have this stuff lying around, right?

BrianI (author)jgarcia762014-11-14

As a home-brewer I do have this lying around

BrianI (author)2014-11-14

How many 2 liters can I expect from a 10# CO2 bottle? Thanks for the tutorial.

TSellers22 (author)2014-06-24

Bump, I found that when adding my Calamasi syrup to commercial Sparkling Water or generic Club Soda, it tends to make it go flat quickly. So with the system I just got assembled today, I'm planning to add the syrup first, then carbonate, although I did note that this instructable mentions that better results were achieved by adding the syrup post-carbonation. Guess I'll have to try both and see what gives the best results.

Rias88 (author)2013-06-11

Can i Use steel tank and regular CO2 regulator sir for this system?

wpetta (author)2011-09-19

Okay, we followed your instruction and the soda tastes flat after 15 minutes in the bottle. Any thoughts as to why it is not holding carbonation?

screamkitty (author)wpetta2011-09-28

Cold and Pressure are the 2 things required to mix CO2 and water and keep it mixed.

If either one of those is lacking, your soda will be flat. ;)

mattbomb (author)2010-08-28

LOL adding the alcohol wont be bad

not isopropyl

el kabong (author)2010-08-25

Why is it that you carbonate the water before adding the syrup and flavorings? Wouldn't you get a more consistent result if you carbonated after all the ingredients are mixed?

iyore (author)el kabong2011-04-02

I just finished some root beer and I did the following:
1. chilled water (overnight)
2. added syrup (mix/shake/rattle/roll/etc.
3. chilled some more (overnight)
4. Carbonated; I am using a kegging system so this took 4 days.
5. Voila nice taste.

mousewrites (author)el kabong2010-08-26

That was my thought as well. To get the items really well mixed, you'd have to stir/shake it, and won't that knock out some of the bubbles? Is it a matter of the water carbonating better without the sugar, or is it something about the room in the bottle?

ardrhi (author)mousewrites2010-08-26

I carbonate after. I put the ingredients in *warm* water because it dissolves better, agitate to mix, then chill the result as cold as possible. THEN I carbonate, and agitate under pressure to dissolve the CO2 into the cold solution. Cold liquid carbonates easier because it holds more gas, but warm liquid dissolves sugar and syrups more easily. So make your base first, then chill and carbonate the finished base. It comes out more consistent and holds the carbonation better.

the mechanical engineer (author)2010-12-14

could you also carbonate by dropping some dry ice in the bottle and shaking it as long as you make sure it dosen't explode?

Yes, you could - I have done that. However, I also exploded a couple bottles in the process.
1. Use ONLY plastic bottles, never glass.
2. Wear safety goggles.
3. Cool the liquid in the fridge before carbinating ( cold liquids hold much more CO2)

A piece of dry ice about the size of a Mintos breath mint is good for a litre bottle. Drop the dry ice in and then loosely seal the lid. After the dry ice is almost completely gone, seal the lid tightly. After sealing each bottle, place it immediately into a cardboard wine box, so if it explodes later it will be contained in the box.

bowmaster (author)2009-09-13

Jalapeno soda.

mdeblasi1 (author)bowmaster2010-08-25

That poses an interesting philosophical situation. Since capsaicin does not actually burn your mouth, but aggravates the the receptors that sense burning, and CO2 does not actually hurt your tongue but aggravates the pain receptors, You could call it Voodoo soda. Cheers, M

bowmaster (author)mdeblasi12010-08-26

Or poison soda.

gizmology (author)bowmaster2010-12-16

Or Horrible. ;)

bowmaster (author)gizmology2010-12-17


gizmology (author)bowmaster2010-12-17

"Probably soda"? Hmm, THAT one, I don't know about...

bowmaster (author)gizmology2010-12-17

Try it, it's really good. It's a mix of cyanide pellets, shaving cream, bird guts, razor blades, and ground up microchips.

gizmology (author)bowmaster2010-12-25

Ah, got it now: "PROBABLY SODA: after you try it, you'll *probably* never ask for any other soda again!" (or anything,, perqiod.) :D

M4industries (author)bowmaster2010-12-25

Throw in a tablespoon of antimatter.

ronmaggi (author)bowmaster2009-09-13

The very point of this I'ble is to give people the power to make any flavor of soda they want!!! While I have no interest in making Jalapeño soda, I am interested in you making it!!! It would probably go well with garlic ice cream. Also It could be a nice April's fools gag "Oh, that is spicy salsa... here, wash it down with this!"

quadracer (author)2010-09-01

You can flick or tap the side of the bottle to release the bubbles

mdeblasi1 (author)2010-08-25

I've been thinking about making soda for a while now. I found this a couple of weeks ago That technique seemed perfectly reasonable to me, until I came across your method. What is the difference between Yeast fermentation and CO2 fermentation. Is one easier? More "authentic" ? Better tasting? I was thinking of something with black strap molasses, espresso, maybe jasmine and sechuan peppercorns. Something along the idea of what coke once was, with out actually attempting to reproduce it. For all I know, it will taste awful.

ronmaggi (author)mdeblasi12010-08-30

I'v actually thought about making ginger ale the old fashioned way. I just haven't had the time. I'm sure it tastes fantastic though!!!

11richie21 (author)mdeblasi12010-08-25

yeast actually turns sugar into alcohol making alcoholic beverages

regisd (author)11richie212010-08-27

It does. For a ginger ale, though, the goal is to stop the yeast fermentation long before the alcohol content becomes noticeable. One should make sure to use brewer's yeast for soda, though, as baking yeast ends up with a slightly 'bready' flavor. I've made soda both with yeast fermentation driving the carbonation and with CO2 driving the carbonation. Yeast-carbonated is much cheaper to do, since there's less gear needed, but you need to be more careful so that the yeast stops yeasting when it should. It also means you can't leave your soda around at room temperature for long periods of time as the yeast may start doing their thing again and you end up with the risk of exploding bottles.

ardrhi (author)mdeblasi12010-08-26

I made naturally-carbonated sodas for a long time before I switched to force carbonation. It doesn't take a lot of yeast, and it doesn't make a lot of alcohol unless you let it go for a long time in warm conditions. A lot depends on what kind of yeast you use, too. I never used bread yeast -- it comes out tasting very bready and yeasty instead of like your soda. I used several different champagne yeasts. My favorite was a Lalvin EC-1118 strain. It's a low-temperature champagne yeast that will continue to ferment VERY slowly at refrigerator temperatures over a very long time. A PET bottle will hold the pressure just fine, so don't worry about that. The key to it isn't alcohol, but maturing of flavors. Just like wine, the flavor will change and meld over time, becoming finer, less rough. The longer it ages in the fridge, the more complex and gentler it will get. If you want the yeast to STOP fermenting once you put it in the fridge, go with something like Premier Cuvee, a higher-temp yeast that will shut down at fridge temperatures. The aging will still take place, but due to flavors mingling over time, not due to continued fermentation. The process with natural fermentation is simple -- make your base, add the yeast, put it in your bottles, leave it out in a warm spot for a few days until the bottles are ROCK HARD with pressure, then fridge them for at least a week. Champagne yeasts are the most subtly flavored and will interfere with your soda flavors the least.

sealman (author)2010-08-30

I have one ? If you had a 2 liter coke that had went flat, could this process bring it back to it new taste. Thank you!

red9er (author)2009-09-09

how would you make a root beer flavor?

UberNoober (author)red9er2009-09-09

I know you can buy root beer syrup for use in making snow cones; I bet you could just use that. If not, there must be some sort of root beer flavoring on the market... somewhere.

ronmaggi (author)UberNoober2009-09-09

There are many root beer mixes, and recipes out there. In fact when I bought my equipment, the clerk let me sample his own root beer. The ultimate would be to make your own recipe! If you do I sure would like to see an I'ble on it!!!

ardrhi (author)ronmaggi2009-10-22

The most common ingredients for root beers are sassafras root and young birch twigs.  You can usually get these at health food or brewing stores, or you can get extracts.  Root beers made with exclusively birch are usually called birch beer, and taste strongly of wintergreen. (I guess technically that'd be a bark beer, because it isn't a root.  Go figure.)  I don't care for wintergreen, so I lean heavily toward sassafras.

mousewrites (author)ardrhi2010-08-26

Ah, thank you ardrhi for answering a question I've always had; why do so many artisan root beers taste like wintergreen soda? I don't like wintergreen at all, so, when I eventually embark on making my own root beer, I'll back off on the birch! :D

ardrhi (author)mousewrites2010-08-26

I agree...I can't stand wintergreen myself either. My aversion comes from the years I spent working in janitorial services, and one of the cleaning products was scented with oil of wintergreen. The scent was so powerful and cloying, it would stay with you for hours, and was one of the most intensely obnoxious scents I had to work with. After that, root beers tasting strongly of birch, or specifically birch beer would literally turn my stomach. It's a bit of an issue -- my partner loves birch beer! I like sassafras and sarsparilla based root beers better. You can generally find sassafras extracts with the safrole component removed (the FDA says it causes cancer and liver damage), and sarsparilla root in some health food stores, brewing stores, and some ethnic food marts. I haven't made my own soda in a long time ever since I came down with post-surgical type 2 diabetes. I haven't found an artificial sweetener that I like in soda yet. (Splenda. Yuck. Stevia. Double yuck. Aspartame. Allergic. Triple yuck through a swollen throat.) I have yet to try it, but I may try a small batch using erythritol. I use that in my coffee to cut my sugar intake by 50% or more. And that's just about my only remaining pure sugar intake now.

Jason91887 (author)ardrhi2010-08-29

Have you tried Agave Nectar? It has a much lower glycemic index than sugar (from what I am told) and might be what you are looking for. Though you still have to be cautious with it, my mother, who is Type 1 diabetic, LOVES using it in her coffee and in place of sugar in a lot of things. But again, you may want to do some research and also try it in moderation. By the way, this is a fantastic instructable, and I am going to have to try this out now and put my mead making on hold!

TheMadScientist (author)2010-08-28

co2 has nothing to do directly with how soda tastes, or more correctly, the bubbles have nothing to do with it. you could drink soda in a hyperberic chamber pressurized to the internal pressure of the soda can and you would still feel the fizzy "snap" of the soda, with no bubbles emerging at all. this is because the tang of fresh soda vs flat soda is actually caused by carbonic acid which is formed when the carbon dioxide is dissolved into water.

Octobeam (author)2010-08-25

Loving the magic bullet

madmedix (author)2010-07-22

Another option...Strangely enough, my local brew shop didn't have any of these Carbonators. Being an impatient one to try this puppy out; I used a standard PET bottle cap; drilled a 1/2" hole in the top and pulled through a tire valve... Only problem is, now I have a locking chuck on a CO2 line that I had to "tee" off the standard ball connectors for my draft beer. Bigger tank needed you say? Why thank you...just the confirmation I needed :-) Nice instructable btw. Cheers!

Huntman00 (author)2010-03-04

Where can i get "The Carbonater"???

trulin (author)2009-11-24

nice pit hair! and cool instructable too, i just need to get a C02 canister...

ronmaggi (author)trulin2009-12-28

 Ha Ha!! That is my head hair not pit hair. I'd be proud if it was though!

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