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May 11, 2010 11:19 AM

I want to carbonate VODKA

Just got a Soda Stream as a gift. I don't plan on getting tired of seltzer anytime soon, but would like to 'speriment with vodka. The company says so long as there are no chemicals in the liquid I choose to carbonate, it shouldn't mess with the valves. Anyone have any zperience or advice on getting a bubbly buzz?

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  1. Carbonated vodka has been on the market for several years now, so it's definitely doable although those products haven't gotten much notice other than for their novelty.

    Alcohol is a chemical and a solvent, so the worst that would happen is that your Soda Stream's seals give out quicker (and there could be leachables in the plastics).

    Couldn't hurt to try it once for science's sake

    4 Replies
    1. re: yarm

      (head-smack) Alcohol IS a chemical, isn't it? Any idea how faster this would degrade the seals, and whether leaching is enough of a concern to ditch this idea? I want a yummy drink but no tumors.

      1. re: Pajama Cat

        psst - water is a chemical too..........

        1. re: thew

          True, but the Soda Stream is set up to be safe and long lasting using water.

          It's doubtful that there are that many extractables in the plastic bottle. And it's doubtful that rubber seals would have problems with 40% ABV. I have no clue how a Soda Stream specificially works, but it's probably worth a try for science's sake.

          1. re: yarm

            I got to look at a Soda Stream this weekend and the carbonating tube sticks into the bottle so seals should not be an issue. I am guessing that the plastic is reasonably safe.

            Remember to chill the liquid down first since CO2 (and all gasses) are more soluble in colder liquids than warmer ones.

    2. Would you be consuming this sparkling vodka by itself? If not, surely mixing with carbonated water/mixer would work just as well and avoid leaching anything out of the plastics.

      If you want neat sparkling vodka, chill it as much as you can initially; liquids hold dissolved gas much better at a low temperature.

      1. If there is a question about whether the alcohol component of the vodka, 40% or so, has the capacity to absorb carbon dioxide as readily as the 60% water portion, the answer is yes. Heat pumps have been developed for NASA applications using CO2 and alcohol systems, with an objective of excluding ammonia, acetone, and other traditional volatiles from chemical- mechanical refrigeration systems in critical environments.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Veggo

          Thanks for answering a food-science question I had lurking in the back of my mind about this. Ever notice when one shakes water it holds oxygen bubbles much more so than pure spirits that've been shaken; that's just a non-scientists's observations from behind the bar. It seemed to me that there's not enough surface tension available in booze to capture bubbles the way plain ole water does.

          But right now I'm making sure I have CO2 cartridges and I'm going to start by "fizzing" vanilla vodka -- by way of making some sort of cream soda shot...

          This is going to be quite the fun trip...

          1. re: shaogo

            Fun answer and have fun with it!
            The chemistry of gasseous absorption in liquids is fascinating, way beyond what is visible to the eye. For example, water (and blood) has an incredible capacity to absorb nitrogen. The "bends" condition that afflicts divers who ascend too quickly and can be fatal, and was originally called "caisson disease" , was discovered by accident when the laborers of the Roebling Company, who built the Brooklyn bridge with novel technology of encapsulating workers in underwater chambers as they constructed the footing caissons, mysteriously became ill and some died, because they were silently absorbing nitrogen all day long underwater and pressurized , and the nitrogen practically exploded when they returned to normal atmospheric pressure at the surface, similar to the Co2 burst when a carbonated beverage container is opened.
            Technical and deep divers use a mixture of argon or helium instead of the usual 90% nitrogen in our atmosphere, because neither inert gas is absorbed in water even under pressurized conditions.
            Back on topic, that both the alcohol and the water in vodka can both be "fizzied up" with Co2 is a lucky coincidence of chemistry.

            1. re: shaogo

              You're right about surface tension, but fortunately (or maybe unfortunately) for would-be carbonators of spirits, it's not surface tension that holds CO2 in solution. The lower tension will mean more violent/rapid bubbles, though.

          2. As the proud owner of a force-carbonation setup and a geeky personality, I can state from personal experience that it works just fine. The only possible downside is a slightly metallic "whang" (presumably from the CO2 cannister) which is much more noticeable if you carbonate a beverage, let it go flat, and carbonate again.

            For another fun experiment, carbonate a moderately-priced unoaked chardonnay. Or a dry rose. And don't forget about homemade tonic water...

            3 Replies
            1. re: alanbarnes

              Old thread but since it came up. I have had force carbonation setups since the early 90's when I got into brewing. I've used them to carbonate everything you can imagine. And to put non-carbonated beverages on tap. Easy and inexpensive to set up. Just a CO2 tank with regulator, cornelius or other beverage kegs, hoses, clamps, fittings, etc. Plus there are the carbonation fittings for plastic soda bottles that are cheap and you don't have to use kegs, just 1 and 2 liter soda bottles.

            2. Not carbonating anything but water with it, but I got the Penguin SodaStream, which uses glass carafes instead of plastic: we chose it for that reason.