Club soda, that slightly salty water that tastes more like water than soda, is becoming one of the more popular ways to get added benefits from your hydration. Cheaper than natural mineral water, less bitter than tonic water, and often used interchangeably with seltzer, club soda is increasingly popular.
How to Make Club Soda with SodaStream
First, let’s talk about what you need.
- 1 SodaStream
- At least 1 SodaStream bottle you can keep club soda in (you probably won’t use it all right away)
- Baking soda
- A pinch of salt (we use pink salt, but regular table salt or alternatives will work)
- Tap or filtered water
- A CO2 canister
- (optional) fruit to flavor your fresh club soda
Pretty simple, right?
The process is a little different than using a soda mix, however.
Why is Club Soda Different?
Usually, when you make soda at home, you mix carbonated water with a commercial soda mix or a homemade soda syrup. But you shouldn’t pre-carbonate the water for club soda.
That’s because the sodium bicarbonate, the baking soda you’re adding to the water, will react with the carbonation on the way in. If the water is already carbonated, you’ll see a huge fizzy reaction and lose a lot of your carbonated water. What’s left will probably only be mildly fizzy, if at all.
The Baking soda drives all the carbonation away. So, if you want carbonated club soda, you need to mix the ingredients first.
Will Homemade Club Soda Taste Like Store-Bought?
One of the first questions you’re probably asking yourself is if homemade club soda will taste like store-bought. It’s a good question. The answer is, probably not. You can make it taste similar to store-bought club soda.
There are a couple of reasons for this. For one thing, the taste and feel of club soda varies quite a bit by brand. Some are saltier than others, while some club soda tastes more like natural mineral water.
This all depends on what the different brands are adding to their club soda.
Usually, club soda isn’t flavored or sweetened, so you don’t need to worry about doing that at home. It can be drunk as plain water, used as a drink mixer, or even turned into sparkling lemonade, so most brands leave it plain and flavor seltzer instead.
But they do change the flavor based on mineral content. Usually added as salts, club soda may contain magnesium, calcium, and several others.
Unless you have access to a chemistry lab, these other minerals aren’t easy to find. Plus, while they change the flavor of the soda, they are present in incredibly small concentrations.
For our recipe, included a little later, we’re using a pinch of salt, and no more than a teaspoon of baking soda, and the result is a strongly flavored club soda. To mimic the flavor of store-bought club soda, even if you could get your hands on the exact ingredients, would require tiny measurements at home.
You get a minute mineral benefit from natural pink salt, and we enjoy the flavor slightly more using pink salt than table salt. But you should still think of homemade club soda as being a different brand of club soda. Like other brands, yours will taste slightly different than the competition.
Does Homemade Club Soda Have the Same Health Benefits?
Treating Altitude Sickness
One of the most common uses of club soda and all carbonated waters is treating altitude sickness. Altitude sickness is usually a combination of the lack of oxygen in the air, which alters cellular function and can even affect your metabolism, with dehydration.
Carbonated water works to treat both problems. It can help settle your stomach, one of the first systems upset by altitude sickness. It also can help your body process the water faster, which helps you receive the benefits of hydration, including oxygen, more quickly.
Since club soda contains salts, you’re also maintaining your body’s electrolytes.
For this purpose, homemade club soda is just as beneficial as store-bought.
Increasing Sodium Intake
While most people need to watch how much salt they eat, not increase it, some people need to push sodium and salty foods. While the amount of salt contained in club soda is pretty minimal, it can be a good way to increase your regular sodium intake.
You should always consult a doctor before trying to increase your sodium intake. While salt is important for many body processes, too much is a serious problem and can raise your risk of many serious health conditions.
That’s when you’re pushing salt, the more you can spread it out across many sources, the less each of them will taste of salt.
In this case, homemade club soda may be more beneficial than store-bought. Most store-bought brands attempt to avoid tasting salty. However, if salt is important for your health, you can increase the amount of salt in your club soda recipe to match both your tastes and requirements.
Boosting Trace Mineral Content
This is a controversial possible health benefit of club soda. Vitamins and minerals are important for your overall health, but you need them in minuscule amounts. Usually, a balanced diet provides plenty of all of these nutrients.
But, some people feel that having multiple, slightly different, sources of vitamins and minerals is important for proper absorption. That’s because different forms of these nutrients are more or less bio-available.
It’s like the difference between animal and plant protein. Animal protein is highly bio-available, so you need less of it to meet nutrient requirements. Some plants have more protein than meat in an equal serving size, but it’s harder for your body to access. That means you need to eat more protein-rich plants to get the same benefit.
Vitamins and minerals work the same way. Plus, you often need several key nutrients available at the same time to properly process them.
Unfortunately, this is one area where homemade club soda isn’t as good as store-bought. Since homemade club soda is usually much simpler than a store-bought variety, you aren’t going to receive the same micro-nutrients.
However, since the total benefit is less than 1% of your dietary requirements of those nutrients, we don’t think this is a big downside.
Reducing Beverage Calories
The last health benefit we’re going to talk about is calorie reduction. Club soda is a popular replacement for sugary carbonated beverages for a couple of reasons. The main reason club soda works as a sugary soda replacement better than plain water is the carbonation.
That makes sense. After all, some people love the silky smoothness of chocolate mousse as much as they enjoy the taste. But others are repulsed by the texture and don’t understand its appeal.
Club soda can re-create the feel of sugary pop, without the calories or the sugar.
Homemade club soda is just as good as store-bought in this regard. It may have some slight advantages, since you can determine the level of carbonation, and can tweak the recipe for a better flavor, all based on your preferences.
My Club Soda Recipe
If you’d prefer to use a smaller container, that’s fine. For .5-liter cut every ingredient in half.
We also recommend playing around a little with your club soda recipe. While these proportions work for us, you may find a different ratio of ingredients to water works better for you.
That’s because baking, which we’ll discuss more in a moment, is notoriously picky about ingredient ratios. Add too much salt or baking soda, and you’re likely to get wildly different results.
- 1 liter of filtered tap water or distilled water
- 1 teaspoon of baking soda (some people use up to 2 teaspoons of baking soda for more flavor)
- A pinch of salt (we only use a couple of rotations of our salt grinder, but you can use more)
That’s it! That’s all you need for basic club soda.
How to Make It
Gather your ingredients. We also recommend checking your CO2 canister at this stage. There’s nothing worse than going to make your favorite carbonated beverage and finding out you don’t have enough CO2 to get the job done.
We’ll talk about how to make sure your SodaStream is set up in a moment.
Mix the baking soda and salt into the water, preferably in the SodaStream bottle. You can mix in a different container, but there’s no reason to.
We use a small funnel to make it easier to pour the baking soda and salt without spilling.
Make sure all the ingredients are dissolved into the water before you get started. Baking soda left in the bottom may react with the carbonation later, while you’re carbonating the water or even when you go to serve.
A few seconds of vigorous shaking should get the job done.
Lock the bottle in your Soda Stream carbonator and add carbon according to the instructions on the machine.
Some SodaStream machines tell you how carbonated your beverage has become. If you’re planning on using your club soda for drinking or mixing into other beverages, you can carbonate as much as you want. But we recommend going no further than the mid-point of carbonation if you’re going to use the club soda for baking.
Just like the other ingredients in your club soda, excess carbonation is likely to change your baking results.
How to Work Your New SodaStream
Fortunately, SodaStream is easy to use. While they come in a few different models, all are designed to work similarly.
We recommend going with a full-size version if you want to be able to mix drinks before you need them. But the smaller models will work if you only need to be able to make soda and other carbonated drinks on demand.
All SodaStream models come with an instruction packet, so it’s best to read that before you use it. But we’ll also provide a short guide here to help you familiarize yourself with the process.
There are four basic parts to most SodaStream units. The appliance itself, a removable back or top, a SodaStream CO2 cannister, and SodaStream bottles.
It needs to be set up on a stable, flat, surface. We don’t recommend using them on portable tray tables or even tea carts, although it can be safe with the smaller models.
Most units have a removable back for the CO2 canister, so we’ll use that language from here one. However, some models have a top-loading system. The process is similar, regardless of the model you own.
When you replace your SodaStream CO2 cannister, you should always look for replacements with the SodaStream logo on the side. While other CO2 canisters are available, they aren’t designed to work with your SodaStream, and you’ll get variable results using them.
The back of your SodaStream should pop off easily. If you’re having trouble, check your instructions to make sure you’re putting pressure on the right part of the panel.
From there, there’s a holder and nozzle for the CO2 canister. You’ll need to screw the cannister on to the nozzle with most, but not all, models of SodaStream. Make sure, when you do, that it’s a tight connection. Too loose, and you’ll risk CO2 leaking out. Air pressure can also potentially loosen the connection further and disconnect your cannister entirely.
Once the canister is fully installed, pop the back panel into place again.
Around the front, you’ll need to similarly install the SodaStream bottle.
From there, simply press the carbonation button for about 1 second at a time, leaving 1 second between presses, until your beverage is carbonated to your liking.
Viola! Carbonated water you can use to make your own soda! Or, if you’ve already mixed the ingredients for club soda, you’re done!
Ways to Use Club Soda
Low-Cal Summer Lemonade
Fresh lemonade is one of the joys of summer. It’s refreshing, bright, and a great way to perk up in the afternoon or at a family party.
I used to make homemade lemonade as a way of greeting guests when hosting and making sure kids feel welcome. Fresh lemonade, not made from powder, acts as a good replacement for adult beverages.
But, if you’ve ever made fresh lemonade, you know just how much sugar goes into making the drink!
So, if you don’t mind a less sweet alternative, this low calorie ‘lemonade’ is a great option when it’s just you at home.
All you need to do is slice the lemon and add it to your club soda in a pitcher. Don’t worry about peeling it, the peel adds a lot of flavor.
After about 2 hours you’ll have a lemony-flavored drink. We like to leave ours overnight before drinking to let the flavor get stronger. The water will be sweeter than the club soda, and less sour than the lemon, since the natural sugars in the lemon balance the sour flavor when diluted.
The carbonation helps add another dimension to this sparkling lemon drink, which helps replace some of the sweetness and keep it as satisfying as fresh lemonade.
But there’s a special place in our heart for adding blueberries. The lemon and blueberry flavors complement each other well.
Plus, the acid of the lemon will encourage more of the blueberry flavor to spread through the water, while the sugar of the blueberry draws more juice from the lemons. You get more flavor from both, without adding more than a few calories to your drink.
Other Fruit Drinks
Of course, lemonade isn’t the only low-cal fruit drink you can make with your homemade club soda. Almost any fruit (or even vegetable) that tastes good in water will taste good in club soda.
Hardy pears and even melons can lend their flavor to your club soda. Floral herbs, like lavender, jasmine, and rose, all work – but their flavors are an acquired taste for many.
Baking with Homemade Club Soda
How Does It Work?
In most breads, yeast or eggs or other leavening agents add some lift to the flour and moisture, which creates the texture. When you add carbonated water to this process, you create more bubbles.
Yeast doesn’t create bubbles on its own in most doughs.
It can create bubbles in more delicate mixtures, however, like cake batter.
But carbonated water does add more bubbles to doughs. That means the yeast and other leavening agents in your dough have more bubbles to expand, creating the more open texture you see in soda bread, focaccia, and other baked goods.
This can make a big impact on how much yeast you need. Carbonated water can help rescue breads when you don’t have quite enough leavener. Or, club soda can be part of the plan, creating a different texture.
In general, breads that use club soda and other carbonated waters in their mix need less time proving, though that isn’t universally true.
Some Club Soda Baking Ideas
There are many ways to use club soda, from creating a variation on your favorite bread, making soda biscuits, to mastering home baking classics like pie crusts, waffles, and pizza dough.
Add a little club soda to your pie crusts for a lighter, flakier, texture. It can be used on its own, or in combination with the vodka crust method if you’re looking for an especially light crust.
In pizza, it loosens and adds texture to the crust. The results are crisper and lighter but still have structural integrity. It also makes it easier to avoid a soggy middle.
Like making ethnic foods?
We’d caution you, don’t just go replacing club soda for water in all your favorite recipes. Experiment substituting some but not all of the liquid content with club soda, and increase the amount gradually until you have a taste and texture you enjoy.