Ingredients50ml kola nut extract8l water3 cups (approximate) Demarara sugar1 cup (approximate) honeyChampagne 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 commercial 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.