What Is Soda?

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All about soda

This article will go in depth on what soda is, and how it is made from before is put into cans, bottles, or dispensed from fountain drink machines.

Soda is any beverage that has carbonation in it, which is formed by the forced attachment of water molecules (liquid) combined with carbon dioxide molecules (gas) through pressure. In essence, Theda is a liquid gas drink.

There are many names for soda across the world besides just soda. A few of the names are pop, soda pop, coke, carbonated beverages, bottled drinks, soft drinks, and tonic. The most widely used of these is soda, pop, soft drink, and coke. Coke can be used as a general name for all sodas; not just the coke flavor itself.

The carbonated beverage will usually show its distinction from other drinks by its bubbles found inside of the liquids that sit on the bottom and sides of the container it is in, which eventually escape into the atmosphere. These bubbles will even form on the straw inside of the drink if it sits in the drink undisturbed for too long.

Soda bubbles in a glass

These bubbles are the carbon dioxide that has detached itself from the water.

Soda is usually purchased in glass bottles, plastic bottles, or cans if they aren’t dispensed from fountain drink machines.

How Soda Is Made

Soda is made by mixing a syrup flavor for the beverage with the carbonated water in its simplest form. To make different syrup flavors, combinations of essential oils, like wintergreen for example, are used in certain soda recipes to give them their flavor.

An actual recipe for a syrup to make soda is:

  • One fourth of an ounce (about 7.5 milliliters) of wintergreen essential oil.
  • Half an ounce (15 milliliters) of vanilla extract.
  • A little more than 1 quart of simple syrup (1 liter).

All of these would be mixed together to create an actual syrup flavoring that can be placed into carbonated water to create a soda flavor.

Carbonated water is made by the pressure from the Co2 cylinder and the water pump connected to a carbonator. Inside the carbonator the carbon dioxide gas bonds to the water molecules to form soda water.

Carbonated water for making soda can be made easily at home as well by using a soda making machine.

For every 8 ounces of carbonated water, 1 ounce to 1 ounce and a half of the soda syrup would be mixed with the carbonated water. 3 drops of acid phosphate per 8 ounces of carbonated can also be added to the soda afterwards, and mixed in to give it more bite so it doesn’t taste flat.

Also, citric acid is used in some soda beverages to help give the soda more kick. It is the combination of the acid phosphate, citric acid, and the carbonation in soda that gives it its kick.

Essential oil for making soda.

Basically, to make any soda from scratch, these ingredients are used, with the only thing changing being the essential oil to make the flavors. Certain essential oils are used in combination in their correct proportions (around 7.5 milliliters for 1 liter of simple surup) to make the soda syrup for different soda flavors.

Some essential oils are stronger than others, so they may even be mixed with 1 gallon of simple syrup, instead of the 1 liter of simple syrup.

Furthermore, caramel coloring is placed into the soda beverage to give drinks like coke its famous extra dark color.

Caramel coloring in soda

Without this caramel coloring, many of the popular soda beverages of today would appear clear and colorless, resembling sparkling water. They would be difficult to tell apart from other flavors, if it wasn’t for their labels, without actually tasting them.

Caffeine is also used in making certain commercial sodas. Caffeine, along with the added caramel coloring, can make a soda taste really bitter. This is why sugar is added to soda beverages to offset this bitter taste. The bitterness is neutralized by the extra sugars, which is one of the many secrets to the unique flavor of the original Coca-Cola.

If caramel coloring is made by cooking it until it has a deep dark color with bitterness, then combined with the correct amount of sugar, the flavor will some what resemble that of the actual Coca-Cola’s coke, only flat, because of the lack of carbonation.

Homemade caramel coloring made for soda.
Caramel coloring in a cup.

Caramel coloring for soda is made by simply heating granulated sugar (sugar cane white sugar) in a pan/pot, or other cooking equipment at very high temperatures. Over time it turns into a really dark reddish brown syrup. This is then mixed with more water to form the caramel coloring liquid needed to put into soft drinks, to make them darker and more appealing to the eye.

The sweetener most commonly used in most commercially made sodas is high fructose corn syrup. It isn’t called high fructose because it contains a lot of fructose, but it is called this because, it has more fructose than the original corn syrup. It is sweeter than regular corn syrup, which regular corn syrup does a poor job at sweetening.

The starch from corn syrup is extracted from the corn, then broken down with enzymes and acid to create high fructose corn syrup.

The reason why high fructose corn syrup is used in most soft drinks in place of sugar cane sugar, is because of the cost to make it. The high fructose corn syrup is cheaper and abundant, because corn is abundant. Both high fructose corn syrup and fructose from sugar are nearly equal in sweetness.

Of course, regular granulated sugar can be used to make soda. Individuals that have experienced coke made from granulated sugar report that it tastes more refreshing, better, and less dense (from the syrup) than soda made with high fructose corn syrup.

Diet cokes aren’t sweetened with fructose syrup. They are sweetened by using aspartame, which is an artificial sweetener made out of natural amino acids (phenylalanine and aspartic). They have been modified to give a sweet taste.

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