Before global shipping became easy, soda fountains made their own soda and mineral waters, with the carbonation being the main attraction.
Here are a few things I learned from the book:
- Club Soda is a trademarked brand. Seltzer water was a brand but is now generic.
- Carbonation's sensation on the tongue is a chemical sensation rather than a mechanical one. O'Neil likens it to eating peppers, which release endorphins in response to the mild noxious action on the tongue, so the end result is a pleasurable experience.
- Bubble formation in carbonated water is affected by CO2 pressure (more pressure gives larger bubbles), temperature (colder allows more CO2 to go into solution), and nucleation points (stuff in the water and imperfections in the serving glass).
- Common minerals found in mineral waters are calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. But most minerals waters have a relatively low sodium chloride (table salt) level, compared with sodium carbonate/bicarbonate (baking soda).
- One should add mineral salts to plain water then carbonate it, as they don't dissolve well in already-carbonated water.
- Sometimes it is hard to get all the salts to dissolve. O'Neil provides a chart of the order in which they should be added for best dissolution.
There are also recipes for 12 soda waters in the book, which are useful as comparisons more than recipes as they're scaled for batches of 19 to 50 liters.
There's a lot more in the book (and you really should buy it for the soda stuff- it's fascinating) but those were a few take-aways for my experiments.
Now it's back to the lab for me...
The Water Project on Alcademics is research into water in spirits and in cocktails, from the streams that feed distilleries to the soda water that dilutes your highball. The research for the project is supported by Bowmore Islay Single Malt Scotch Whisky. For all posts in the project, visit the project index page.