How To: Make your own soda

Make your own soda

Concoct soda at home—over time, you'll save a bundle by not using the store-bought stuff. Plus, it's fizzy fun!

You Will Need

* 1/8 tsp. brewer's or bread yeast
* 1/2 c. lukewarm water
* 1 gal. water
* 2 1/4 c. sugar
* 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon of soda extract in the flavor of your choice
* A 1-gallon non-aluminum container with a lid
* A funnel
* Two clean 2-liter plastic soda bottles
* Distilled water (optional)
* Champagne yeast (optional)
* Sugar substitute (optional)

Step 1: Choose your flavor
Decide what kind of soda to make. Choose from cola, root beer, ginger ale, and lemon-lime, among other flavors.

Step 2: Dissolve the yeast
Dissolve the yeast in a cup of warm water. Measure the yeast precisely: Too little will interfere with carbonation, too much will leave a yeasty taste. Let it soak for five minutes.
Tip: Use champagne yeast if you can—it leads to the best carbonation. Find it in specialty food stores and online. Otherwise, brewer's or bread yeast will do.

Step 3: Mix the ingredients
Pour the sugar, soda extract, and dissolved yeast into the gallon container, add enough water to fill it, close the lid, and shake until the sugar dissolves completely. You can find soda extract in home-brew and winemaking shops or online.
Tip: For diet soda, use five tablespoons of white sugar and two cups of sugar substitute.

Step 4: Pour into bottles
Using a funnel, divide the mixture into each of the soda bottles. Screw on the caps tightly.

Step 5: Let them sit
Store the bottles in a dark place at room temperature for 4 to 6 days. Give the bottles a little squeeze every day. If one feels too firm, open the cap to let out a little carbonation; then reseal.

Step 6: Refrigerate and enjoy!
Refrigerate the bottles when they are as firm as store-bought plastic bottles of soda. Drink it within four weeks.

The average American drinks 56 gallons of soda every year

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