Best of the CRAFT Video: DIY Soda

Craft & Design Food & Beverage

In this CRAFT Video, I show you how easy it is to make your own soda at home, and it’s inexpensive, too! I use brewer’s yeast to produce carbon dioxide, and whatever flavors come to the imagination. In the video I used honey, green tea, strawberries, and grated ginger, but you can use any combination of fruits, juices, fresh herbs and sweeteners that you like.

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Ingredients and supplies:

  • 2L or other plastic bottle with cap
  • funnel
  • cheesecloth (optional)
  • food thermometer
  • brewer’s yeast (don’t use bread yeast!) – get online or from your local homebrew store (tell them you’re making soda and they’ll get you the right kind)
  • sweetener (for the yeast to eat, you can use honey, cane sugar, etc., about 6 tablespoons total)
  • water, tea, or juice
  • other flavors of your choice

Sanitation isn’t as much of a concern when making your own soda as it is when making your own beer or wine, but if you can, start with boiled water (good for brewing tea anyway). Boiling fruit juice might change the flavor, so experiment, but don’t worry too much about keeping your batch completely bacteria-free. Combine your flavorings and sweetener, then let the batch cool to 80-85°F before adding the yeast (hot water will kill the yeast).

Add about 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of your brewers yeast, cap, and shake to dissolve. Place the mixture in a quiet place (between 65-85°F) for 24 hours. Yeast produces carbon dioxide as it processes sugar. It also produces alcohol, but since we’ll only be leaving the mixture at active temperatures for about a day, the actual amount of alcohol is minuscule (homemade beers use way more yeast and are let to sit for about 10 days, to give you a reference point). Yes, it’s OK for your kids to drink it, provided you don’t have a religious restriction on fermented things. When produced in a capped container like a soda bottle, the CO2 becomes dissolved in the liquid as pressure builds up.

After a day, feel the bottle; it should be very firm now as the CO2 has pressurized the bottle. Chill it down before opening it; gasses stay dissolved in liquids better at colder temperatures just like solids stay dissolved better at hotter temperatures. If you open it too soon, most or all of the CO2 your yeast friends made will fly right out. Pour over ice and you’ve got an enjoyable, refreshing fizzy treat.

One more recipe idea (pictured above): combine the juice of 3 grapefruits and sugar/honey water to make just under 2L of liquid (boil the water before you mix in the sugars), then drop in a handful each of frozen strawberries and pineapple. Blend and let cool, then strain into the bottle and add the yeast. It’s like a fizzy grapefruit smoothie!

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Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

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