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"Healthy" homemade pop?

I sometimes enjoy carbonated beverages, but can't stand all the sugar that comes in most canned pops.

Does anyone have any innovative ideas for home-made pop? I usually go for good 'ol club soda and Ribena, but any other interesting suggestions are welcome. No artificial sweeteners please and thanks!

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  1. Easiest alt to soda I've found: 1/2 refrig case/already made lemonade/limeade (like TJ's) and 1/2 carbonated mineral water (Pellegrino, Calistoga, etc.) over ice. The lemon or lime carry enough flavor and the mineral water carries enough bite. The big thing is you just have pour it.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ML8000

      I love this... I pick up a case of Pellegrino and the prepared "organic lemonade" at TJ's, then use a splash of lemonade with mostly pellegrino... don't do anywhere near half-half, so it's a lot less sweet than standard soda which I really like... with the added benefit of fewer sugar calories.

    2. Get an old-fashioned seltzer bottle, the type that takes cartridges, and carbonate whatever beverage suits your taste. I'd go to some of the Arabic markets and get the various eastern European fruit syrups they always seem to carry. I've got blackberry, raspberry and black currant in my fridge right now and they'd be great carbonated.

      Alternately, just by seltzer water and add the syrup to taste.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Kevin Andrew Murphy

        I don't know if it is available internationally, but at home I buy Zora's Organic Lemon Concentrate. Only cane sugar and concentrated lemon in a syrup, I add it to carbonated water and whatever juice I have on hand. It is amazing. If I am out of that, straight lemon juice adds so much flavor to any drink.

      2. There is also an organic green tea iced tea and regular iced tea powder that adds a lot of flavor to carb water and lemon syrup

        1. Add sugar-free Torani or Davinci syrups to seltzer

          1. Apple juice or orange juice (any natural juices, actually--grape, blueberry, pomegranate) mixed with the desired amount of soda water or Perrier.
            We used to serve this to our kids when they were younger, to avoid giving them commercial pop.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Yongeman

              We do this, too. It cuts down on juice consumption as well. We all love to drink juice this way.

              Our favorite is "or-cran-fizz."

            2. I tried carbonating North Carolina sweet tea once in a soda siphon, the result was not sweet at all, and tasted wickedly metallic.

              For store bought soda, Guarana Antarctica from Brazil is made with cane sugar and flavored with guarana. Vaguely like a creme soda.

              Does root beer do it for you? There are extracts and recipes out there. Ditto for spruce and birch beers, sarsparilla, sassafras, and mauby.

              Malta is malt soda, sort of like unfermented dark beer.

              Carbonated honey water is a possibility.

              I am a fan of the adriatic fruit syrups mentioned above, especially the sour cherry and berry varieties. Pomegranate molasses would be worth a try as well.

              Frozen fruit pulps, e.g., by Goya would be worth considering, especially passionfruit. Liquados from some of the fruits, like guanabana , are usually made with milk.

              Canned mango pulp from Indian markets is a wonderful thing.

              The article on carbonated beverages in the Encyclpedia of Chemical Technology mentions that it is difficult to carbonate water that has solids in it. So mixing with carbonated water may be the best approach with fruit pulps.

              Don't overlook middle eastern rose and orange blossom waters for aroma.

              In the lemonade range, I'd look at Jamaican wash recipes. Have also heard that boiling the lemons before use and using the water from boiling in the recipe makes a better 'ade.

              Almond or hazelnut flavors would be interested in a soda. Ginkgo nut is kind of similar to hazelnut. You could make a nut potion by steeping in alcohol and boil off the alcohol if it wasn't wanted in the final product. If I were using dried fruits, I'd probably favor a similar approach.

              Frozen fruits might be worth considering.

              There might be a few fruit/nut combinations that would really work. Cranberry or pomegranate with walnut come to mind.

              1. I like just mixing seltzer with orange juice or whatever juice I have on hand. A friend makes a good ginger ale with a ginger-infused simple syrup mixed with seltzer -- you could probably make a simple syrup infused with other flavors, although nothing else is coming to mind.

                1. If you look in the international section of your supermarket you can find a wide variety of tropical juices... passionfruit, pineapple, etc.... (Goya brand) mix with seltzer and for a grown up version add some vodka!!!

                  1. You can get any kind of extract and make soda from it. many extraxts are sold in the bakery section or at gourmet food shops. the instructions for making soda can be found online or even in most cases, on the bottle.

                    If you have a seltzer bottle, you can use that.

                    frankly, a good thing is to buy and sanitize a used corney keg and all the gear...then boil up a bunch of water and agave nectar, folow instructions for making five gallons online or from the bottle of extract, keg it, and carbonate it. We do this. me, I use splenda, but honey or agave would work.

                    A homebrew supply store in your toen or online will have all you need to get started.