We try to eat fresh food, local and in-season. I avoid most processed foods, but I have one vice – soda. I'm not addicted to the caffeine, I get that from my beloved tea. No, it's the fizzy carbonation that I crave. Although I have preferred soda brands, when a craving hit anything fizzy hits the spot. Yet, store bought soda contains so many chemicals and not-very-good for you ingredients I really wanted to phase it out.
The answer came when I learned to make simple, carbonated soda from fresh ingredients. This soda still contains quite a bit of sugar so I still drink it in moderation, but it contains no chemicals and no caffeine. The base recipe is for ginger ale, but you can change it up in a myriad of ways. It really lends itself well to experimentation!
Start with a clean 2 liter bottle. Fill the bottle halfway with plain cold water. Pour 1 cup of sugar and ¼ teaspoon of dry yeast into the bottle. Grate 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger and put in the bottle along with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. I use a funnel to make all this easier.
Cap and shake the bottle until the sugar dissolves. Then, finish filling it up, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. Cap it tightly and stick it in a warm 70 to 75 degree room for 48 hours. The yeast feeds on the sugar, forming the carbon dioxide bubbles that lead to carbonation. At the end of 48 hours the bottle will feel hard. You need to refrigerate it immediately or the bottle can explode.
Once it's cold, pour yourself a glass. You can filter it through a sieve if you don't want ginger chunks in your drink. It is very fizzy, so open the bottle over a sink. You can add a variety of unsweetened fruit juices or crushed berries to the soda before you cap it to carbonate if you want to try other flavors. As an alternative, mix the soda with fruit juice before serving it to change the flavor.