Coping with the Big-Soda Ban

Kevin Bruce

photos: kevin bruce

Things are always a little more rewarding when they're illegal. From DIY shows to raw dairy. And hell, Mad Dog sure tasted better as a 19 year old than it would at 27. Sometimes the wrong things just feel so right. Thanks to daddy Bloomberg, we can add big sodas to that list of black market goods. Honestly, I haven't had a soda in years, but now that I've lost my right to get really fuckin' buzzed on sugary drinks I kind of want one.

Moments after the legislation passed, I found myself staring into the fridge at my neighborhood bodega, but my totally punx urge to break the rules was immediately and overwhelmingly trumped by my aversion to GMOs, high fructose corn syrup and industrial capitalism. Sure, I could walk a little further and find some hippie dad “real cane sugar” bullshit, but I doubt it'll come in the ounce-age I as an American need.

With a heavy heart I walked back home and sulked my way through the front door. I'll never drink the soda I want in a serving size that pleases me. Life is unfair. Thanks a fuckin' lot, Bloomberg. Stepping into the kitchen to cram something sweet into the hole those bureaucrats left me with, I opened the refrigerator door–

Wait! I have water! I have sugar! I have this empty plastic bottle! And prohibition-be-damned, I have a bunch of fruit that work was going to throw out last night!

I immediately started mixing up some coconut sugar and filtered water in a wide mouth mason jar, then added the fruit, stirred and mashed it all up. I covered it with a kitchen towel to keep out bugs–humans aren't the only ones desperate and repressed by this ban ya know–and to make it look like a cute little ghost halloween decoration. After a couple days, bubbling and fermentation were obvious so I strained out the fruit, poured it into a plastic bottle and capped it.

As yeasts eat the sugars and turn them into lactic acid (or alcohol if fermented longer), they naturally produce carbon dioxide. In an open vessel, the CO2 is set free, but in a capped vessel such as a soda bottle the CO2 is absorbed into the liquid, giving it a delightful fizziness. It's important to use a plastic bottle and keep a close eye on the pressure, as you don't want to over-carbonate and cause an explosion. Depending on the temperature and activity of the yeasts, it could take anywhere from an hour to a day to carbonate. Check the pressure by squeezing the bottle, if it gives in easily, it's not finished yet.

When it feels nicely bloated, put it in the fridge to halt fermentation. Once cold, open 'er up slowly and sip on some homemade soda that simultaneously fucked over the bureaucratic “man” and the industrial food “man” all in the same bottle.

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