My girls absolutely adore having sparkling apple cider on special occasions. So when we re-read Little Red Riding Hood and read that Red is sent to deliver cake and wine to her grandmother, I thought sparkling apple cider would be a great kid-friendly version of the story's treats for our picnic.
In single serving wine bottles no less! I could have bought sparkling apple cider, of course, but I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to get a home carbonating kit.
I'm not talking a soda stream device with itty bitty expensive custom CO2 cartridges, I'm talking tanks and dials and levers. I bought a soda carbonating kit with everything I'd need, so there was absolutely no guesswork involved, and it was astoundingly easy. But from what I read, you get much better carbonation from this kind of setup than you do from a Soda Stream or other carbonating machine, mostly because you can't agitate the liquid you're carbonating with the machine, and that makes a big difference. My friend Beth has a kit like the one I bought, so I already knew how well it worked, and how easy it was. Those gauges and tubes might look complicated, but I assure you, it's not.
The canister comes empty, but you can get it filled with CO2 at any sporting goods store that has paintball supplies. I also supplied my own empty soda bottle. Everything else came in the kit.
Fill the bottle with your cold (icy cold! The colder the better!) beverage, leaving about 3 or 4 inches of air. Squeeze the bottle to push the air out, then put on the special blue carbonating lid.
Set the PSI at 45 and attach the tube to the blue carbonating lid. The tube has a special flange on the end that makes it pop right on very easily.
The bottle will immediately expand, filled with the carbon dioxide gas. Shake the bottle vigorously for about 10 seconds. I know! goes against all instincts, but it helps the CO2 dissolve into the liquid. You'll hear gas continuing to go into the bottle as you dissolve the CO2 into the liquid and make space for more gas to enter.
Remove the hose and let the bottle sit for a minute.
And then you're ready to open up the bottle and enjoy!
I mostly wanted to get this carbonating system because I wanted to make my own sparkling mineral water. 15-20 drops of concentrated minerals in a 2 liter bottle of water is just right for us! I can't wait to try making some sparkling homemade lemonade once the lemons on our tree ripen this year. I've heard sparkling iced tea is fun, too. What would you carbonate with a kit like this?