Right. Living in the US, I never thought about this much but what do you do when you can’t get things you want/like? For example, I never would have said I was a root beer “fan” or loved it: I could take it or leave it. But when I got a hankern’ for root beer, I could run down to the store, pick some up, and have it. What happens when you can’t simply run to the store and get it?
This first happened in Serbia. I went online and found root beer flavoring. I asked Cyndi’s parents to pick me up a bottle and send it in the next box. They sent some McCormic Root Beer Flavor. My first effort was to follow the instructions on the package but use Kisla Water (fizzy water in Serbia). Well, the Serbian word Kisla means sour and the water has a slight taste to it. This made the root beer taste funny.
My next effort was to try yeast. I thought I could use a little bit, get CO2 and not much alcohol. Well, by the time the pop was fizzy enough, it also had a fair bit of alcohol in it and was undrinkable. Back to square one. Eventually, I settled on a set-up of two coke bottles connected with aquarium tubing (I had my sister mail me some, I think). I mixed the root beer in one and put vinegar and baking soda in the other. This worked pretty good; however, it took some experimentation to get the amounts right….once I got it wrong and ended up with vinegar in my root beer. Another time, I popped off the connector hose and made a huge mess. Oh, by the way, I put the baking soda in a paper towel…that gave me time to get it in, get the lid on and connect the hoses up (I also let it run a bit to get the air out of the system). Here’s a picture showing the setup.
The root beer is inverted so the gas flows through it when it enters to maximize the surface area exposed to the gas. You need to eliminate as much air as you can before you start. Oh, and while the gas is generating, you need to shake the root beer. The agitation will allow more gas to dissolve…to a point. And the root beer needs to be cold too.
Here in England, I have a Soda Stream. Here’s how I do it: I add about 800ml of water to the bottle and 1/2 cup of sugar. I shake it up and let it get cold. I then add 1 tsp flavoring and fizz it in the soda stream. The result is good stuff and cuts the hankern down right quick.
Image on top from babe_kl via flickr