Category Archives: Soda

Recipes for soft drinks, suitable to be made and drunk with kids and only taking a few days.

Simple, easy sharbat (drinking sherbet)

Drinking Sherbet

  • Servings: 30 glasses
  • Difficulty: ridiculously simple
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* 2 cups icing sugar
* 1 tsp citric acid
* 1 tsp tartaric acid
* 2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
* 2 tsp flavourings (optional)
Multicoloured sherbet

It even comes out in pretty colours depending on the flavour

Sometimes (and I’m well aware that this is probably blasphemy) you just don’t want an alcoholic drink. Even the fermented soft drinks have a little alcohol and, frankly, are a bit of a faff if what you want is a glass of something fizzy, refreshing and fruity right about now. Having to brew it all, wait a few days for everything to ferment, refrigerate and then drink it within the next few weeks might just be more than you can be bothered with on a boiling hot day.

I know that occasionally I just want something I can throw in a glass and drink, and since it’s socially unacceptable (apparently) to drink alcohol before eleven in the morning this seems to be the solution. Sharbat (also sherbet, sorbot, and various other corruptions) is basically the old familiar powder that comes in tubes with liquorice, looking like sticks of dynamite. It also works very well stirred into a glass of water to give it a little fizz and flavour. Along with all this it’s very easy to make, will keep forever if kept dry, and is cheap. If you’re not thirsty you can even just eat the powder.

So to the whole making bit. Very simple. Get a big bowl. Put all the ingredients in. Stir together thoroughly. Sieve if you want it to look a little more powdery, but that’s not essential. Store somewhere dry. When you’re ready to use some just drop a couple of spoonfuls into a glass of water, stir, and glug.


Posted by on April 24, 2014 in Recipe, Soda


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Simple Kvas Recipe

  • Servings: 5 litres
  • Difficulty: Easy
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* 1/2 kg rye bread
* water to 1 gallon
* bread or brewer’s yeast
* 1 small cup sugar
* 1 fistful raisins or other fruit (anything can be used to flavour, but raisins are traditional apparently)

By User Grant on ru.wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

By User Grant on ru.wikipedia [GFDL ( or CC-BY-SA-3.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

Kvas is a popular Eastern European drink with a very long history, along the same length of time as beer or cider. Despite this, and its interesting flavour, it’s not particularly well-known outside of Eastern Europe. It is, however, very easy to make and something I recommend trying at least once.

First let the bread go at least a little stale. Then toast it, and toast it well. A little bit of burning isn’t a problem. If you feel like it you can make neat little croutons, but that’s a preference rather than being important in its own right. While that’s happening have a gallon of water on the boil, and once boiling stir the bread and raisins into it. Leave the mixture of bread and water covered overnight to soak (at least eight hours, but longer won’t hurt the resulting flavour at all). Strain the mixture, adding the sugar and yeast and bottle as you would any other soda (i.e. plastic bottles unless you’re confident enough in your timing to want to risk glass, in which case fill one plastic bottle to test fermentation progress).

Once that’s done you just leave the bottles until they’re hard, and chuck ’em in the fridge. Easy.

If you feel like experimenting then you can also add mint, strawberries, slices of apple, raisins or just about anything else you feel like.

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Posted by on February 20, 2014 in Recipe, Soda


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Homemade Appleade

The cloudiness and sediment is due to the use of ale yeast.

The cloudiness and sediment is due to the use of ale yeast.

1l apple juice
1/2l water
1 cup sugar
brewer’s yeast
Overall this was much, much sweeter than the cola, almost as sweet as commercial products like appletise. I would recommend that anyone making their own soda avoid brewer’s yeast like the plague (particularly when 99p can get you enough champagne yeast to brew a crystal clear five gallons of soda). The brewer’s yeast, unfortunately, left an unpleasant looking sediment, as well as taking a much longer time to ferment.
There was a very strong apple taste to it, and the three experimental bottles were quickly imbibed by my assistant (pictured). Followed by the request to make some more. Since it’s so simple to make, and good apple juice can be had cheaply I’m happy to do so.
Appealing Apple Soda labelDefinitely an experiment to be repeated, with a larger batch. We’ll be looking to make a couple of gallons once the champagne yeast turns up. I would definitely recommend this to anyone with kids who’re over-fond of fizzy fruit juices – although it might be best to wait to hear the results of the second batch. Getting some more of the sugar fermented away would help this stuff.
As with all sodas it’s important to monitor the progress of fermentation. Fill at least one plastic bottle (I use plastic beer bottles personally, though I have some glass ones that will be used at some point) and put everything in the fridge once it feels solid, with only a tiny bit of give. Make sure the bottles are sealed airtight after putting the mix in, either with a bottlecapper or just reusing screwtop plastic bottles as well, since otherwise the pressure will be lost.

Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Experimental, Recipe, Soda


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Homebrewed Cola

One of fifteen bottles, fresh from the fridge.

One of fifteen bottles, fresh from the fridge.

50ml kola nut extract
8l water
3 cups (approximate) Demarara sugar
1 cup (approximate) honey
Champagne yeast
This was the first, experimental attempt at making a soda – just to see if it could be done (without making a hand grenade instead). Really it was an almost disturbingly simple process. Get the bottles sterilized, and leave them sterilizing while the rest goes on. 50 ml of cola nut extract was mixed with 8 litres of water, 3 small cups of sugar and one cup of honey (cups are approximate rather than accurate measures). Make a quick starter with the yeast, warm water and a teaspoon of sugar and dump it into the mix.
Allow everything to cool to room temperature, pop it in the bottles and seal them airtight (I use a capper for this, but you could just reuse normal soda bottles). I recommend against glass bottles (especially those not designed to hold pressurized drinks) until you’ve done a batch or two. Even then it’s worth putting some into a plastic bottle to use as a measure for the others. Once the plastic bottle feels solid, but still has a little flex to it throw them all in the fridge.
I’ll be honest, I think these were actually a little over-fermented. There was very little sweetness to them at all, although they were exceedingly fizzy (open outside type fizzy, and open quickly to avoid the spray effect). There was definitely a cola flavour, and a very distinctive one, but absolutely none of the caramel sweetness you get in most Convincingly Fizzy Cola labelcommercial varieties. After a couple I got used to them, and they seemed a hit with others as well (though a bit of an acquired taste). I’d highly recommend doing this to anyone as a good start on the way to homebrewing, as it is simple, relatively safe (really, they won’t explode if you remember to check on them and put them in the fridge when they get firm), and gives very quick results. These actually fermented in only 36 hours.
Since the fermentation is so quick they’ve also got a very low alcohol content (generally estimated to be less than 1%) and so it’s a good project to get into with kids as well.

Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Experimental, Recipe, Soda


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