Quick snippet of the article below:
- Use quality ingredients when making carbonated drinks
- Accurately measure CO2 and other ingredients for a balanced flavor
- Invest in high-quality equipment for reliable results
- Experiment with different levels of carbonation to get the desired taste, texture, and mouthfeel
- Use cold, high-quality water for the best results
- Leverage MetaBrand’s services for custom beverage formulation, development, and production.
Nothing beats a cold, fizzy drink on a hot summer day. The irresistible bubbles and refreshing flavor are the perfect way to cool down when you’re feeling overheated. But how are drinks carbonated?
Carbonation involves adding carbon dioxide to a beverage like sodas, sparkling water, or sparkling wine, creating tiny bubbles of gas that give those drinks their signature fizziness. There is an art to carbonating drinks and getting the perfect amount of bubbles and flavor.
You don’t have to be a master barista or brewmaster, though, to make delicious fizzy refreshments at home. Understanding the basics of how to carbonate drinks and following a few best practices will have you making bubbly, delicious drinks in no time.
Beverage formulation and manufacturing experts from MetaBrand detail the five best practices we follow when we carbonate drinks.
What Are Carbonated Drinks?
Let’s talk about what qualifies as a carbonated drink before we jump into learning how to make them. Carbonation occurs when carbon dioxide (CO2) dissolves in water, creating carbonic acid. This is the same process that creates sparkling water or club soda, and it’s how most sodas get their signature fizziness.
Carbonation is also used in the production of beer, cider, and other fermented beverages. During fermentation, the yeast consumes the sugars, releasing CO2 trapped in the drink.
The main ingredients of carbonated drinks are water, sugar (or alternative sweetener), CO2, acidifier, color, and flavoring. All these ingredients are carefully balanced for optimum flavor and texture and will vary depending on the beverage you’re creating. Common carbonated drinks include:
- Soft drinks: Sodas, colas, root beer, lemon-lime
- Enhanced waters: Flavored and sparkling waters
- Fermented beverages: Beer, wine, kombucha, cider, mead
- Cocktails: Margaritas, champagne cocktails, fizzes
- Fruit juice drinks: Sparkling juices, sparkling lemonades
The inert, non-toxic nature of carbon dioxide makes it ideal for carbonating drinks. It’s also a relatively affordable and widely available substance found in nature.
Carbonated water makes up about 94% of the beverage and adds a refreshing, zesty flavor. Flavors, natural or artificial, enhance the mouthfeel and balance the acidity, while acidifiers like citric acid adjust the pH and give drinks a pleasant tartness.
Factors to Consider When Carbonating Drinks
Carbonating drinks is a balancing act that requires precision, patience, and practice. You must understand the relationships between carbonation, flavor, and texture to create the perfect fizzy beverage. Here are a few factors to consider:
Type of Drink
What type of drink are you carbonating? Do you want a light, crisp drink or a sweeter, bubbly beverage? Different drinks require different carbonation levels, so you must adjust the amount of CO2 depending on the type of drink.
Light and crisp beverages like sparkling water require less carbonation than sweeter sodas or beer, which need more CO2 to balance the sweetness.
The quantity of CO2 dissolved into the beverage will determine how bubbly and fizzy the drink is. It will also impact its flavor profile, mouthfeel, and palatability. Use less CO2 for a subtle sparkle, and for a more robust, effervescent beverage, the more, the merrier.
You can serve a carbonated drink cold, over ice, or at room temperature. Carbon dioxide dissolves more easily in cold water, so carbonating drinks at a lower temperature will give you a more flavorful and fizzy beverage. High temperatures will cause the CO2 to escape more quickly, leaving you with a flat beverage.
Method of Carbonating
There are two primary ways to carbonate drinks – forced and bottled carbonation.
- Forced carbonation is a technique that involves pumping pressurized CO2 gas through a porous stone submerged in the beverage solution. CO2 comes out as tiny bubbles that diffuse into the liquid, creating a fizzy drink. This process is faster, more efficient, and great for the large-scale production of carbonated drinks.
- Bottled carbonation uses a plastic or glass bottle to add CO2. This is done by adding sugar and yeast to the beverage and sealing it in an airtight container.
As the yeast metabolizes the sugars, it emits carbon dioxide, which is trapped in the bottle and dissolves into the drink. Bottled carbonation is delicious and natural but labor-intensive and takes time.
The method you choose to carbonate drinks will depend on the type of drink, the quantity you want to make, and your budget.
Creating the perfect, delectable, and fizzy drink requires skill, precision, knowledge, and practice. Put the above tips into action, and you’ll be on your way to creating bubbly refreshments that are sure to be a hit.
Best Practices for Carbonating Drinks
Carbonation is a delicate process with numerous variables that can affect the flavor and overall quality of the drink. It can be tricky if you are getting started, but with our best practices, you’ll be able to create a perfectly fizzy and flavorful beverage.
1. Use Quality Ingredients
The foundation of any great drink is the quality of its ingredients. Buy only the freshest, purest, and best-tasting items to avoid compromising the taste and texture of your creations.
Source your juices, syrups, aromatics, and other ingredients from reputable suppliers. Get recommendations from friends, family, and foodies.
2. Get the CO2 Measurements Right
Precise measurements are critical in creating a balanced and delightful drink. A slight variation in the amount of CO2 or sugar can affect your drink’s taste, texture, and overall mouthfeel.
Use precise measurements and calibrate your equipment for accurate results. Measuring spoons and scales are invaluable tools for getting accurate measurements.
3. Buy High-Quality Carbonation Equipment
You need specialized equipment like CO2 tanks and regulators, a carbonation stone, and other items to make your drinks. Investing in good equipment goes a long way toward creating great-tasting drinks.
Buy durable, high-quality equipment from trusted suppliers and perform regular maintenance to ensure durability, reliability, and excellent performance.
4. Experiment with Different Carbonation Levels
Different types of drinks require different levels of carbonation. You can experiment with different carbonation levels to achieve the desired flavor, taste, and carbonation level.
Start with a lower level of carbonation and gradually increase it until you find the ideal level. Taste test your drinks at various stages to determine the perfect level of fizziness.
5. Use Cold, High-Quality Water
Water makes up a significant portion of carbonated drinks, so it’s essential to use only cold, high-quality water for carbonating. CO2 dissolves easily in cold water, and the quality of the water affects the flavor of your drinks.
Use filtered, distilled, or bottled spring water for the best results. Avoid tap water, as it contains contaminants and impurities that can affect the flavor of your drink.
This list of our best practices isn’t exhaustive, but it gives you a good start on how to carbonate drinks. Now you’re familiar with some of the right materials, tools, and techniques, and you’ll soon be able to whip up fizzy drinks like a pro!
Beverage experts can provide guidance and assistance to ensure that your drinks are the perfect blend of flavor, carbonation, and fizziness.
Partner with MetaBrand for Bubbly and Fizzy Refreshments
MetaBrand is a global leader in the beverage industry, specializing in the formulation, development, and production of carbonated and non-carbonated beverages.
Our experienced beverage experts have years of experience creating delectable and complex beverages with unique flavor profiles, carbonation levels, and textures.
We also offer custom packaging solutions to ensure that your drinks look as terrific as they taste. You can leverage our service to assess your carbonated drink’s viability and formulate a winning product.
Don’t hesitate to contact us today for all your beverage needs.