HOME > Chowhound > Spirits >
What's your latest food project?
TELL US

I want to carbonate VODKA

p
Pajama Cat May 11, 2010 11:19 AM

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?

  1. yarm May 11, 2010 11:45 AM

    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
      p
      Pajama Cat May 11, 2010 11:52 AM

      (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
        thew May 12, 2010 05:13 PM

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

        1. re: thew
          yarm May 13, 2010 08:31 AM

          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
            yarm May 18, 2010 12:04 PM

            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. s
      Steve_K May 12, 2010 03:51 PM

      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. Veggo May 12, 2010 04:41 PM

        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
          shaogo May 12, 2010 04:44 PM

          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
            Veggo May 12, 2010 05:11 PM

            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
              t
              tmso May 19, 2010 02:44 AM

              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. alanbarnes May 12, 2010 06:12 PM

            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
              JMF Jan 14, 2014 02:35 AM

              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.

              1. re: JMF
                e
                ElderlyWonder Jan 14, 2014 06:14 AM

                EXACTLY!

                1. re: ElderlyWonder
                  JMF Jan 14, 2014 11:15 AM

                  What d you mean, "EXACTLY"?

            2. MC Slim JB May 21, 2010 05:54 AM

              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.

              http://mcslimjb.blogspot.com/

              1. e
                ElderlyWonder Jan 13, 2014 05:52 PM

                I can't believe all the people who are taken in by SodaStream and all expensive cons like SodaStream.

                You pay a fortune for those CO2 cartridges and then they strongly caution you about carbonating anyhing but water. What else are they going to say when they also want to take you in with their overrated and overpriced flavors?

                I make CO2 using sugar and baker's yeast. One cup of white sugar and 2 teaspoons of baker's yeast makes enough CO2 to last for weeks and you can carbonate just about anything. I love Champagne, but even the cheapest Champagne is fairly expensive. I also like Rhine Wine and have often thought how much it might taste like Champagne if it only had bubbles. EUREKA! I have successfully carbonated Rhine Wine and damned if it couldn’t pass for some kind of Champagne. I use a
                product called The MY POP OLD FASHIONED SODA SHOPPE at www.mypopsoda.com. Check it out.

                With all the good stuff on the Internet it amazes me that people will not bother to research the product they want to buy and they wouldrather fall for any product that looks nice and shiny and professional . . . and boy, do they ever charge you for that.

                Check out MY POP. CO2 for pennies.

                15 Replies
                1. re: ElderlyWonder
                  f
                  foodieX2 Jan 13, 2014 06:00 PM

                  you realize that this is a 3 year old thread, right?

                  1. re: ElderlyWonder
                    JMF Jan 14, 2014 02:25 AM

                    Actually people who want to carbonate things belong in three camps. Those who want ease of convenoience and have the money for a Soda Stream. Those who can and will do some research and set up inexpensive artificial carbonation systems using small tanks and beer carbonation/kegging equipment. And those either uying or building larger systems for commercial use in bars and restaurants.

                    Using natural carbonation and yeast is time consuming, messy, and has very poor consistency. Most home brewers nowadays and for the past decade or more, artificially carbonate and use kegs over bottles as well.

                    1. re: JMF
                      EvergreenDan Jan 14, 2014 03:45 AM

                      Any advise or links to share for the second option (small tanks)?

                      I'm interested primarily in making plain seltzer water, but the ability to carbonate small servings of drinks (2-4 drinks) would be awesome. I've hesitated to use the sodastream for drinks in part due to concerns over mold growth in the dip tube.

                      1. re: EvergreenDan
                        EvergreenDan Jan 14, 2014 04:14 PM

                        Thank you all for the excellent info. There's quite a bit on Jeffrey Morgenthaler's post, especially if you read the comments. I've got lots of info and options now.

                        1. re: EvergreenDan
                          JMF Jan 14, 2014 11:15 AM

                          Dan, Jeffrey Morgenthaler just did a post on his blog about it. Also there has been a bunch of info about it the past year or so. I'll post links here as I run across them.

                          Take a look at Jeff's post and the discussion. I also think there was a discussion on here about it recently.

                          http://www.jeffreymorgenthaler.com/20...

                          1. re: JMF
                            q
                            quazi Jan 14, 2014 07:45 PM

                            It is a fairly interesting read. Since I saw it earlier this month this is now on my list of projects to do. If you go through the comments there are also a few other good links to people who have tried and documented similar efforts

                          2. re: EvergreenDan
                            davis_sq_pro Jan 14, 2014 11:28 AM

                            I've been carbonating stuff using Cornelius kegs since the late '90s. They're incredibly useful things to have around. For the past couple of years I have been keeping a 5 gallon keg filled with seltzer water in a small fridge, although I've been intending to start messing around with adding salts to make club soda.

                            You'll want to buy a 5lb aluminum CO2 tank, which you can get any number of places on the web. You'll also need a regulator, some tubing, and one or two 5 gallon kegs. (You can choose between pin lock and ball lock for the interconnects -- I've had better luck with the pins.)

                            Instead of buying everything separately I'd recommend going for a starter kit, like this one:

                            http://www.cornykeg.com/catalog.asp?prodid=668632&showprevnext=1

                            (I've never purchased anything from this company and can't speak to the quality or service you'll receive. There are many such kits available online. There is also a homebrew shop near you, on Mass Ave, but I am not a fan. )

                            Once you get the equipment you can fill up your CO2 tank at any welding gas place (I go to one in Malden). Each refill will last for many kegs worth of carbonation. (I'd estimate maybe 15-20. I only refill mine once every few years.)

                            If you want to carbonate smaller batches I'd recommend trying something like this:

                            https://www.midwestsupplies.com/the-c...

                            This is a cap that fits on a 2 liter soda bottle and accepts a keg interconnect (ball lock, unfortunately). I used to have one, which I've now misplaced, so it's been a while -- but it worked quite well. You put the liquid in the bottle, put on the cap, open the gas, and shake until you reach your desired level of carbonation. It's not the most exact science in the world but it's an inexpensive and flexible way to get going.

                            (Sorry, I'm not JMF, but I have my own credentials in this particular area ;-))

                            1. re: davis_sq_pro
                              Veggo Jan 14, 2014 11:52 AM

                              Interesting.... you can't fill up an oxygen tank meant for human inhalation at a welding supply place, but you can for CO2.

                              1. re: Veggo
                                davis_sq_pro Jan 14, 2014 12:04 PM

                                Well I personally don't inhale the CO2. YMMV.

                                1. re: davis_sq_pro
                                  Veggo Jan 14, 2014 12:23 PM

                                  I didn't mean to pick the flea shit out of the pepper, I just thought it was interesting. It all goes to the same place -your bloodstream. I have long been sceptical as to why medical grade gasses cost 10 times as much as essentially identical industrial grade gasses.

                                  1. re: Veggo
                                    JMF Jan 14, 2014 04:00 PM

                                    I've been told that industrial gas can and does have added lubricants which can be toxic or contraindicated.

                              2. re: davis_sq_pro
                                JMF Jan 14, 2014 11:53 AM

                                You can get the carbonater a bit cheaper on Amazon.
                                http://www.amazon.com/LiquidBread-The...

                            2. re: JMF
                              EWSflash Jan 31, 2014 04:42 PM

                              I use the old Soda King, and the little CO2 chargers that go with it. I'm not a big fan of sodas, but like fizzy water and it works fine for us- somewhere bvetween the Soda Stream and the homemade version with sugar and yeast and so forth

                          3. re: ElderlyWonder
                            EvergreenDan Jan 13, 2014 06:08 PM

                            I visited the site. Designed the same year Pong came out?

                            1. re: EvergreenDan
                              e
                              ElderlyWonder Jan 13, 2014 06:22 PM

                              I think I'm missing something. To which site do you refer?

                          Show Hidden Posts