Fermented Soda

 Fermentation is the process of using microorganisms, such as bacteria or yeast, to convert carbohydrates to alcohol or organic acids under anaerobic conditions. Alcoholic fermentation, is where pyruvate is broken down into carbon dioxide and ethanol. Basically, fermentation happens when you mix sugar with yeast. They fart out CO2 and poop out alcohol. In the case of a soda, we only want the CO2, so we use less sugar and cut of the fermentation before it has time to ferment into alcohol. 

How To Use Fermented Soda

Fermented soda works great to top cocktails. It has more of a tart, yeasty taste as apposed to sodas that have been forced with C02 to create bubbles, it tastes more natural, which can give a drink more of a fresh feel. Try your hands at making a fermented soda and use that to top your Mojitos and Tom Collins and you will see what I mean. I find it works best when paired with garden fresh ingredients, drinks made up with cucumber, floral notes and herbs. It’s a smart way of making these drinks sparkling without the aid of store bought soda. When you ferment a soda , the yeast is turning that sugar into bubbles so you have more control over the levels of sweetness. You don’t have to create a sweet cocktail. Just because you’re topping it with a soda and because you have control over the type of sugar you add. 

You can swap out the caster sugar for honey, the end result will be a soda with the subtle tastes of honey but without the sweetness. It means you could  mix both, a honey flavour and a sugar syrup without adding extra sweetness.  It leads to more complex flavours and a better drinking  experience. 
Your end product can be shaped around the cocktail you have in mind for it. Everything will feel more natural, and it will make for, and excuse the pun, a more easysipping cocktail. But it’s not just cocktails this works great for. It also works great for mocktails. Mocktails don’t have to be a substitute. They can be, as they should be. In a category of there own. Picture it, someone asks for a mocktail and you whip up a honey and rhubarb soda, with fresh mint leaves and vanilla syrup. Now doesn’t that sound better then a mojito without the rum…

Sustainability And Health

We have heard these things alot recently. People are looking for healthy drink options, people want to be able to go out for a cocktail and not feel guilty. Fermented soda is a good step to creating one of these drinks. Far to often, ingredients within the industry of drinks, are being thrown out, because there a few days old. Or they don’t look quite as pretty as they once did. I worked in a bar where punnets of raspberries would be thrown out after 2 days if they didn’t get used, because they were to tart for the cocktail they where in. And they went to soft for the garnish. After awhile I decided that instead of throwing them out, I’d create a raspberry soda. Which I would then use in a clover club like cocktail. It tasted delicious, and saved punnets upon punnets of raspberries from being wasted. Thats what I mean by saying it’s highly sustainable.

Not to mention fermented drinks are rich in probiotic bacteria so by consuming fermented drinks you are adding beneficial bacteria and enzymes to your overall intestinal flora, increasing the health of your gut microbiome and digestive system and enhancing the immune system. If that’s not trendy I don’t know what is.

How To Ferment Soda

The ingredients you need are simply. You only need two things, yeast and sugar. Once you have them. It’s just a case of mixing them together and letting nature do the rest. First make some what of a weak sugar syrup. So boil let’s say,  700ML of water and dissolve 100grams of sugar into that mix. Then add your flavour of choice, let’s say raspberries. Add about 400grams or so of them till it taste like raspberry juice. To get more of a raspberry flavour you could also just blend the raspberries and fine strain the blended raspberry juice till  you have 700ml. If you did that however, you wouldn’t need half as much sugar because of the raspberries natural sugar. Then strain that out into a bottle, let it cool and add the yeast. 

Yeast you can get two ways. Natural or store bought. You can collect it naturally by taking something high in bacteria, like ginger, grate a root of that and add 50ML of water and 1tsp of lemon juice. That’s called a “ginger bug” it’s the perfect environment for yeast to grow. Once the water start bubbling you know you have yeast, that could take a few days. After that you can pour that in with your raspberry mix. The easier way and the way I choose is to buy yeast, you can get brewing or champagne yeast cheaply online, or at any home brewing shop or Wilkinson’s (you can get everything from Wilko) I got for champagne yeast because it works better with fruity flavours.

Pour that yeast on the top of your raspberry mix. Then you just leave the whole thing to ferment. This could take a week or 2. It’s important not to leave it for to long otherwise it’ll ferment into alcohol and then you’ll have a raspberry wine rather then a soda. Which is still good! But not what this is about, this is just about the soda. Taste it every day and once it’s sparkly strain out into a bottle and it’s good to go

Important tip: while it’s fermenting it needs room to breath. To let the c02 out. If it’s a closed lid on the mix, you want to open it every few hours to let some gas escape. If you don’t, it will explode. Which isn’t very plesant.

Helpful Equipment: 

Demi john

Air Lock