Soda experimentation

I’m going to drop this in ‘Food’ for now.

I’ve been working with soda and seltzer for a while, both as a dad and a person who hosts a weekly Sunday get-together. Sundays seem to be a time when folks want to be feeling good for the new work week and tend to either go low-alcohol or just want a seltzer. So dry options on a four-tap keezer are always welcome in the house.

I’ve been working on recipes that nail good fruit sodas. I could attempt root beer, but Sprecher’s through NB and the old Root Beer and Soda book cover that well.

I’m dropping this here for further use:

When one goes to the local grocery store, you regularly find the Cranberry Juice-sized bottles in the juice aisle. Usually a quart of juice of varying quality. But these CAN be gold for the kegger.

A quick soda for the 3-gallon keg
1 qt bottle of grocery store pure berry juice (example: 100% black cherry juice)
4 cups of white sugar
40 g citric acid

The Juice
You need a flavorful juice. The standard ‘Ocean Spray special’ is mostly white apple juice, a good deal of added sugar, and some cranberry juice for color. Look instead for 100% black cherry or pomegranate juice. Something with a strong flavor and no dilution. A quart will nab you about 700 calories to start flavoring a 3-gallon keg (Got a standard 5-gallon? Use two)

The sugar
However, a good Jarritos-like (Mexican fruit soda; the absolute neplusultra of the cheap soda) will run ~3500 calories for three gallons. I don’t know about you, but that feels a lot of sugar, friend. Let’s cut that down just a little bit. A quart volume of sugar (shudder) runs ~2400 calories. Add that to the fruit juice, and you’re running ~3000 calories. Good enough.

The acid
If you’ve made a fruit seltzer, you know that fruit sodas CHEAT on the sour just a little bit. Most homemade sodas are a little sweet and floppy (ie: under-attenuated scottish ale). You need to augment that fruit with a little old-fashioned citric acid. Available most everywhere. I get mine in the canning aisle. For 3 gallons, try 40-50 grams. Adjust over iterations.

The mix

  • Sanitize your 3-gallon keg.
  • In a quart measuring cup, add 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water and 20 grams of citric acid
  • Put in the microwave for four minutes (watch for xplodos and stop if it’s getting too hot)
  • Stir vigorously. You want the sugar to dissolve in solution.
  • Pour the solution into the keg. Repeat once.
  • Add the quart of juice.
  • Pour water to the kegging line.
  • Put under pressure and do a bit of keg flipping to mix the liquids.
  • Put back under pressure and carbonate to your favorite PSI.


1 Like

Interesting…I have been a fan of the “weak flavored” seltzers… but not bothered to make one. I don’t care for sweet drinks.

Quick note: we’re on iteration #2 with pomegranate and lime juice. The recipe/ratios of sugar and citric acid has continued to work well with this combo. Both the teens and our slower drinkers have been enjoying this something fierce.