How to make soda pop

Soft Drinks are usually carbonated

Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

I can't stand the taste of water. especially flat water with no bubbles. Years ago, I used to drink a lot of Coca-Cola. I had what you might call brand name loyalty. I could take the taste test, and I could tell you blind-folded which was the Pepsi and which was the Coke. But for some reason, one day, the Coca-Cola company decided to change their formula, and they came out with something called New Coke which tasted very much like Pepsi. There was a furor among the rank and file drinkers of Coca-Cola, and they rose up in protest! Soon New Coke was replaced on the store shelves by Coke Classic, which was supposed to be a restoration of the status quo ante. But unbeknownst to the multitudes, Coke Classic wasn't the old Coke. It was very similar, with one significant difference: Coke Classic had substituted high fructose corn syrup for sugar.

After this treacherous betrayal, I was stunned. I no longer found in my heart the same feelings of gratitude and loyalty toward the Coca-Cola company. I didn't like them, anymore. I didn't think they cared about me or any of their other loyal supporters. But... I wasn't quite ready to switch to Pepsi. And I wasn't ready to give up cola altogether. So despite the feelings of deep mistrust and bitter resentment that I had toward the Coca-Cola company, it was years before I stopped drinking Coke.

Alternatives to Cola

For a while I searched for, and believed I had found, an alternative to colas that I could actually enjoy. In the 1980s a drink by the name of Rondo began to make its appearance on the shelves of the grocery aisles. It was tart and lightly carbonated, and it was promoted by commercials in which athletes were guzzling it, not sipping. I believed at the time that is was manufactured by the Coca-Cola company. Patty Inglish, who has done some research on this subject at my request, has determined that it wasn't.

In any event, for as long as Rondo was available in the grocery stores, I drank only Rondo. Then one day, it wasn't there anymore. It had vanished!  And it suddenly began to dawn on me: my preferences in soft drinks don't matter. I had supported this product with my loyal purchases, and as far as the free market was concerned, my expenditures on soda did not amount to a hill of beans.

In the democracy that we call the free market, my vote didn't count.

Typical Rondo Commercial

Why my vote doesn't count

So why didn't my vote count? Did other people like to have nasty ingredients substituted into their favorite soft drinks? Was I the only person who noticed that high fructose corn syrup is nasty stuff? In a free market, doesn't the best product always win?

Now, if you ask a liberal this question, they will tell you that this is all the fault of the food industry. High fructose corn syrup is cheaper than sugar, and they, the big bad companies, don't care about the consumer. They only care about profit.

This answer never made sense to me, because how can you make a profit by selling a bad, substandard product? Why doesn't the competition just beat them out with a product made with real sugar? After all, it's communism that makes chocolate go bad!!!

So I used my Hubpages account to ask this question: "Many people attribute the rise in use of HFCS to commercial greed and the errors of the free market. Show us they are wrong!"

I got two answers, one from Chuck and the other from Ledefensetech.

Way back when, long, long ago, Hubpages had a category called "Requests", and requests were answered by complete hubs. Since then "Requests" have been changed to "Answers" and people can answer with a comment length remark. Sneakorrocksolid made this remark: "What? Is there money in it? I,m pretty sure if you sat down with a piece of paper and a pencil you could show the government has some part in everything. Unfortunately its usually people who find a way to beat the system and exploit it."

Sneakorrocksolid assumes "the system" was set up to achieve a specific purpose, but that "bad people" find ways to get around it and achieve their ignoble ends. This is a point of view that assumes that the blame is naturally to be placed on the manufacturers and retailers, but never on anybody else. It wasn't the answer I was looking for.

The sorts of answers I was looking for were those provided by Chuck and Ledefensetech, and they ran like this: high fructose corn syrup would not be cheaper than sugar if not for government subsidies and tariffs. So it's the government's fault!

Ledefenstech even drew a very nice little diagram illustrating supply and demand. But I still was not satisfied. Here's what bothered me: okay, in this case, HFCS is less expensive than sugar for artificial reasons created by the government. But, there could have been a different situation in which the price of sugar might have gone up naturally. Maybe a natural blight on sugar cane and beets. It could happen. Would people always choose the cheaper product over the one that is higher quality? How come they buy Perrier Water when there's tap water or Ozarka? Something does not compute.

Ledefensetech answered that some demands are very elastic, and when that is the case, people will accept a substitution rather than a price hike. But were people even given a chance? If someone wanted to buy a soda made with sugar at my local Wal*Mart, they couldn't find any. I've looked!

Why don't grocery store owners put pricey sodas made with sugar on one side of the aisle and cheaper versions made with HFCS on the other? Why not let the buyer choose?

And if there is no good soda to buy, why don't people just stop buying? After all, it's not a basic food staple. It's not as if we'll die if we don't get soda pop in our diet!

So here's where my answer comes in. We, the buyers, are responsible for the situation. We have an interest to protect, but we're not protecting it. Perhaps PGrundy would call this "blaming the victim". I just don't think it's all the food industry's fault. And I don't think it's all the government's fault. Nobody poured it down our throats and made us drink. The consumer has played a major part in all this. And that includes me!

They would not make it, unless somebody was willing to buy it. Your vote doesn't count, if you don't bother to vote. In the marketplace, we vote with our pocket book.

A Random Map of Wal*Mart

Image Credit: http://www.mycoldwater.com
Image Credit: http://www.mycoldwater.com

The Aisles of Wal*Mart: Or Finding the Polling Place

In the new millenium, I stopped buying soda. I make my own. That's how I vote against HFCS. You can vote, too.

So, how do I make soda pop? Well, I could carbonate my own water and squeeze my own fruit juices. Some people do that, and I've provided links and products that might help you make your own soda pop that way, if you are so inclined. Or you could do it the way I do it: take club soda and mix it with commercially available fruit juices.

Of course, it took me years to learn that I could do it that way. The first obstacle in my path: finding the club soda. For years, I was convinced that my local Wal*Mart did not carry any club soda. I spent hours in the water aisle, looking for it. They had mineral water, distilled water, flavored water, baby water (used for mixing formula), and every imaginable form of water, but no club soda! Then one day, years later, I found it! They were hiding it in the licquor aisle!

The next problem is the juice. For a while, my juice of choice was 100% pure cranberry juice, and it was readily available, in the refrigerated aisle, right next to the orange juice. Then, one day the cranberry juice disappeared. I looked everywhere, but it was gone! So I substituted the pomegranate/blueberry combination that took up the spot that the cranberry juice once occupied. For a while, that was good enough, but quite recently, the pomegranate/blueberry juice has disappeared, too. What replaced it was not a pure fruit juice, but something made with a lot of water and sweetened with high fructose corn syrup. That will not do! The whole purpose of my making own soda was to avoid the HFCS!

After about a week of searching, I found that 100% pure pomegranate juice was hidden away in one of the inner aisles, next to the baking goods. It was vacuum packed in a cheap plastic container and not refrigerated. It was also much cheaper than what I used to buy, because it was not produced by a big name manufacturer. Right next to it was the 100% pure cranberry juice that I thought had disappeared for good!

The biggest obstacle to casting your vote on soda pop is finding the polling place. Don't be shy. If you can't find what you are looking for at Wal*Mart, ask. Just don't say: "Where are you hiding the pure fruit juice and the soda water?" That sounds hostile. Rephrase the query like this: "I'm lost. Could you please help me find the pure fruit juice and the soda water? I'd be ever so grateful."

If you are really paranoid, you could pick separate salesmen to ask about each product, so they don't piece together what it is that you are trying to make!

In this life, there is always a choice. If you find that the powers that be present you with a list of alternatives, and none of them seem right for you, don't be afraid to mark: "None of the above."

This goes for buying a home, finding a job and even shopping at the grocery store. You are never limited to the obvious choices. You could always just say "no."

We all contribute to the kind of world in which we end up living. Don't play the victim. You have a choice. Exercise it!


(c) 2009 Aya Katz

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Comments 49 comments

Scott.Life 6 years ago

I had almost forgotten the great Coke debacle of the late eighties, I really can't stand Modern Sodas I switched to diet a few years back and now when i do go back they taste way to sweet to me, so I rarely drink anything, but water, tea, and coffee today.

What a great article and some good research and understanding.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

Some of my favorite sodas from my childhood that I enjoyed are Strawberry and Pineapple Crush and Mandarin Orange Slice which they no longer make unfortunately.

I like how you found your ideal soda, Aya and no wonder if it's possible to perhaps bottle your own in a cost-effective fashion and sell it on the open market...I sometimes see these small bottling companies doing so locally and their prices are just too high for the locals to afford.

Thanks for sharing this one.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Scott.Life, thanks! I myself have never been tempted by diet sodas, except for the one time when I was six and I didn't know what the word "diet" meant. Nasty tasting stuff! Glad you found beverages that work for you. For me, plain water just doesn't do it, even though it might be the healthiest choice of all.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Dohn121, thanks! My daughter likes Orange Crush, but unfortunately they sweeten with HFCS nowadays, otherwise I'd have no objection. I've never tried Mandarin Orange Slice. Sounds as if it would taste good, and I know my daughter would like it. She likes everything orange.

I doubt that I am a good enough businesswoman to market my own brand of soda, but I actually suggested that idea to the small proprietorship grocery store people in our little town. They would have a better chance of pulling it off!


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 6 years ago from New York State

Does Wal-Mart have no computers or gps devices to direct the costumers to the location of a product?


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 6 years ago from New York State

You could add club soda to a blender and put slices of whatever fruit of vegetable you wish.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, thanks for your input. If Wal*Mart executives had wished to, there could have been a map of the store available online for each location. However, many believe that the reason they do not provide this information is that they want to manipulate customers into making certain spur of the moment choices. Hence the website I linked with the software for making your own map.

The blender idea is good. Lots of people make their own fruit or vegetable juices that way. I would add the club soda after blending, though.


Ef El Light profile image

Ef El Light 6 years ago from New York State

Russell Roberts of Econtalk recently interviewed a former employee of Wal-Mart who said the department managers could arrange their sections as they saw fit.

http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2009/06/platt_on_...

Blending might reduce the carbonation but the machine will not blend the food without the liquid.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

F.L. Light, even if it is the department managers of each store who make the decisions how to stock the shelves, each store could post an online map, and they could even include bulletins about new changes. It does not seem to be their policy to share this information with shoppers.

If blending requires adding a liquid, then uncarbonated water could be added. Afterwards, you can decide what ratio of club soda to the blended juice you prefer.


TheMoneyGuy profile image

TheMoneyGuy 6 years ago from Pyote, TX

Aya,

Coke sold in Mexico is still made with sugar the old way and taste very good. You can usually find in the local Tienda o Mercado.

I have spent most of my life in Southern California or in Southwest Texas, so finding real Mexican coke has never been that tough.

In my Town of Andrews, TX the local grocery store has a section with Mexican products to include Coke. Now I do have to pay 99 cents a bottle, but it is good and it is in a real bottle which makes in taste even better since it doesn't have that nasty plastic bottle taste.

Just thought I would share.

TMG


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

TMG, thanks for sharing. Friends did once bring me Coke from Mexico sweetened with real sugar. It was great! But that was ages ago. The local grocer in my town who has relatives in Texas said she might be able to get me Dr. Pepper sweetened with real sugar, but that plan fell through when the store where her relatives shopped stopped carrying the product.


justmesuzanne profile image

justmesuzanne 6 years ago from Texas

I don't drink soda pop at all, but I do like to mix a can of pure frozen grape, cranberry or apple juice with a bottle of seltzer water occasionally. It makes a great, natural soda.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

JustmeSuzanne, that's very close to what I do. I even used frozen cranberry concentrate for a while to mix with soda water, but it got harder and harder to find it, especially in its pure, unsweetened form.


Febfifth profile image

Febfifth 6 years ago from LAS VEGAS

Wow! Awesome article! I'm going out to find some club soda and 100% fruit juice as we speak!

Thanks for a great Hub Aya!

Febfifth


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Febfifth, thanks! Glad I inspired you to go forth and make your own soda pop!


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 6 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

Some comments. You missed my favorite brand of equipment for making my own club soda:

http://www.sodaclub.com/

Some tips about store bought club soda: The soda that your Walmart has always sold for mixers is somewhat expensive. It comes only in one liter bottles and can be said to be rare for the same reason as T negative blood.

Ordinary grocery stores tend to sell cheaper generic club

soda in two liter bottles. Check out the Town and Country

across the street from Walmart. It's kind of a grungy place in all other respects, but has its own brand of two liter

club soda. When I last visited, the price was up to 70-odd

cents a bottle, which is substantially more than it had been

a few years ago but is still better priced than Walmart's

alternative.

It is surprising how unmainstream sparkling water is in the

U.S. This is slowly changing: there are brands like La Croix

which are gradually making headway. In Europe, sin gas and

con gas are alternatives on equal footing.

By the way, if you want your soda fancy, you could consider

mineral water as an alternative. The Moose Cafe makes its

own sodas - they call them "Italian Sodas" from San Pelligrino.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for the link to "the soda club". I thought there was a carbonating machine in my Amazon capsule, but it seems to have disappeared.

I did just recently discover the two liter bottle of club soda at Town & Country. I haven't yet decided to switch definitively, because I drink a lot less water than most, and by the time I finish the two liter bottle, it has lost most of its fizz. (I only drink at meals, and it always surprises me when I see people drinking throughout the day!)

I used to order the Italian sodas at Moose Cafe, but I wasn't entirely happy with them. My problem was not with the water; it was that it wasn't real juice. They had these syrupy bottles of fruit flavoring. Anyway, the Moose Cafe is no more. It closed down a month or so ago. I will miss them.

Many restaurants in the area have closed recently.


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 6 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

I always ordered my Italian sodas "with no flavor whatsoever".

The proprietors and I would laugh, because this was a roundabout way of ordering mineral water, which was not on the menu. (But I just meant to say you could put fruit juice

in mineral water and it probably wouldn't be so bad. Maybe good even.)

I am shocked that the Moose cafe is gone. Do you know what happened? Dagon said last summer, that when he is 16, after he has spent a year in China eating rice at the age of 15, he would like to live at the Moose cafe.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, I was shocked that they closed, too. I had been neglecting them, because they were not open after Bow's bedtime, and I haven't had an intern in a while. So they were completely closed and shut down before I noticed that anything had happened.

I've been asking people I know what happened, but so far nobody knows. Poor Dagon, his dreams for how he will spend his time when he's sixteen have been dashed! Let's hope China is still there for him to explore when he's fifteen.


nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

What a great idea. "organic pop". Love it!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Thanks, Nicomp!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 6 years ago from United States

I gave up all sodas just a few years ago, not only because of the HFCS issue but because I was a complete caffeine addict and drinking more than 8 sodas a day. Then there was the sodium in some sodas. There was a time when I was a Tab-a-holic and when Coca-cola abandoned that line of soda I ran around in a desperate search.

Then I talked to a physician who was telling me that drinking soda was like constantly peeing out the calcium you took in each day -- not a good thing. Didn't convince me but gave me some food for thought.

Finally, we were on a month long vacation in Italy and I couldn't get the brands of sodas I wanted easily and once the caffiene withdrawal was done, I was done.

Today I drink only water (not flavored)and some fruit juices. I've come to appreciate water and enjoy it. Still I miss a soda now and then, but now they taste disgustingly sweet.

I'm intrigued with your solution search -- might have to try to make my own.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, thanks for dropping by! If you actually enjoy water, then that might be the best thing for you. I know people who do like water, including my own daughter, and some have even complimented me on the wonderful taste of my tap water, which comes from our very own well and seems to contain some minerals. For me, though, water tastes bad -- possibly a problem that has to do with allergies.

To make sure that my drinking of fruit juice with soda water does not become just another way of snacking, I only drink at meal time, and then I know I do it primarily for the water, and not the fructose!


Jerilee Wei profile image

Jerilee Wei 6 years ago from United States

Makes sense to me, it took me nearly a year to like water, which I failed to mention. Old habits die hard I was thinking. Not all water appeals to me either. I am going to try the fruit juice with soda water though. Lately I've been drinking a brand of 100% juice smoothie under the brand Naked, especially the Orange Mango Motion that is a little on the heavy side and might taste even better with soda water.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Jerilee, let me know how you like it!


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 6 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

Just so you know, Mexican coca cola is available from Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Mexican-Coke-Coca-Cola-Bottl...

With the shipping, it is prohibitively expensive, and even storebought, it runs 5 to 6 times the price of the HFCS variety by volume.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for the added information. It's amazing what you can get if you are willing to pay any price. I think I will stick with my homemade soda, for the time being, all things considered!


prasetio30 profile image

prasetio30 6 years ago from malang-indonesia

nice information. In my country there is a drink like you, it said "Happy soda" just add milk and syrup it become delicious drink.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Prasetio, thanks for your comment. Happy soda sounds like a good name for a soft drink. What sort of syrup do you use? What is it made from?


OMGmoment 6 years ago

wow....where im from if a friend asks you you wana a soda.....its always a coke. Mabey people from massachusetts are just taught to drink coke!!!!!!!!!!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

OMGmoment, would they be shocked if the soda turned out to be something other than a Coke? You could try an experiment. Invite someone out for a soda, and then only offer fruit flavored fizzy drinks. See what they say.

I experienced the opposite linguistic phenomenon in Texas. There, someone would ask you out for a Coke, and then offer nothing but Pepsi products!


OMGmoment 6 years ago

very creative....i like it a lot. So your from TX? TX is preety far away from MA!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

OMGmoment, I'm not originally from Texas, but I spent many years there. Texas is a whole other country!


OMGmoment 6 years ago

what do you mean it is a whole nutha country? Are you saying people from New England dont have a taste in soda?


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

OMGmoment, no, not at all! That's just a slogan the State of Texas has. (I think it's because the Republic of Texas was once a sovereign nation in its own right.) However, it has nothing whatever to do with soda pop or taste!


OMGmoment 6 years ago

ohh..okay....thanks..good hub!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

OMGmoment, thanks!


nhkatz profile image

nhkatz 6 years ago from Bloomington, Indiana

Aya,

Do you have any opinions about this:

http://www.pepsithrowbackhub.com/


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Nets, thanks for the link. There is beginning to be a backlash against HFCS, and hence this move by Pepsi, which as I understand it is just temporary, to bring out Pepsi Throwback. I never liked Pepsi even when it used real sugar, so I'm not going to be one of their customers.


fizz lover 6 years ago

Try water kefir grains for a fruit fizz. Use your own sugar plus cheaper.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Fizz Lover, thanks for the suggestion. I like kefir, although we don't have it at Wal*Mart where I live. Maybe when I visit my mother, I will ask her to buy me some kefir and mix it with soda.


TaraMoyer profile image

TaraMoyer 5 years ago from West Coast

Nice Hub! Having many people in my family that use to work in the soda business...it's cool to see other Hubbers take interest in this niche!


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 5 years ago from The Ozarks Author

TaraMoyer, thanks! Do you have any soda making tips to share? Are members of your family still in that business? Since I wrote this hub, our local Wal*Mart totally rearranged their floor plan, and in the process they eliminated many pure fruit juices, replacing them with sweetened fruit juice or mixed fruit juices. It's getting harder and harder to make my own soda, and it looks as if squeezing my own fruit juices may be next on the agenda.

The store's probably finding that people are able to spend about the same on their groceries as they could before, only now the money is worth less in the marketplace, because more money was printed, but instead of lowering the quantities of foods bought, they are intent on lowering the quality of foods sold at the same price, thereby maintaining the same volume of sales. I'm not sure why this is seen as more profitable. You would think they could make the same amount of money by selling a little less of a more expensive product.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I thought about buying the soda stream thing, but I am on the fence about it. I calculated the cost of bubbly water or soda water, and it seems it is cheaper to buy the bottled soda water than to pay for the cartridges to refill the soda stream. My bottle recycling place is next to Wal-Mart, so I can just take empty bottles there and get my discount when I shop there on occasion.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

I buy bottle soda water at Wal*Mart myself. But I don't think the bottles are redeemable here. It would be good to be able to make one's own soda water from scratch, but not if it requires buying cartridge refills.


SweetiePie profile image

SweetiePie 4 years ago from Southern California, USA

I was thinking about the soda stream, and I am thinking about the soda stream, but not with the twenty dollar cartridge refills. I just bought a bottle of soda water yesterday, and that will last me for awhile. I would probably make way too much with the soda stream anyway, until the novetly wore off.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 4 years ago from The Ozarks Author

I am all for self reliance and making our own, but if cartridge refills are involved, that is really not self reliance. So I agree with what you are saying, Sweetiepie.


Corey 3 years ago

My Pop Old Fashioned Soda Shoppe makes all natural soda at home.


Aya Katz profile image

Aya Katz 3 years ago from The Ozarks Author

Corey, are you saying your father has an old fashioned soda shop? Or is this some kind of commercial product?

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