The Dry Ice Method is the absolute easiest way to make super fizzy carbonated drinks. The hardest part of this method is actually getting your hands on some dry ice (not literally! Dry ice burns skin!). They don’t sell dry ice at your average supermarket or at the hobby store, so where can you buy some?
There are a few commercial retailers that sell dry ice: Walmart, Safeway, and Costco. Make sure that you go buy your dry ice as soon to the time that you’ll be using it as you can. You won’t be able to buy dry ice, let it sit overnight, then make your soda the next day. Dry ice is over -100 degrees F and will ‘melt’ very quickly. By ‘melt’ I mean to say that dry ice doesn’t actually turn into a liquid. It goes straight from a solid to a gas (carbon dioxide). This is what makes dry ice such a good, cheap fog machine, as well as a good soda making tool.
Before we go any further, take a minute to read over these safety precautions. Dry ice can be dangerous.
- Never touch dry ice with bare skin. Since the ice is so cold, it will actually burn your skin. Make sure to use gloves, oven mitts, and/or kitchen tongs.
- Never leave children unattended with dry ice. For the same reason, as stated above, an adult should always be present when there are children and dry ice in the same room. You don’t want one of them to think that a dry ice cube is a normal ice cube and pop it in his/her mouth. That would result in a trip to the emergency room.
- Always use dry ice in a ventilated room. Dry ice evaporates quickly into carbon dioxide, which is a harmful chemical for us to breathe in large quantities. Make sure your windows are open and/or you have your oven fan running whenever you do a project using dry ice.
Now that you know what safety precautions to take when experimenting with dry ice, let’s talk about how to make homemade soda with the Dry Ice Method.
How To Make a Healthy, Colorful Fruit Soda with Dry Ice
The first recipe I’m going to explain is one of my favorites. Sugary, artificial sodas taste great, there’s no doubt about that. But sometimes I find myself wanting to drink something bubbly, but without all that sweetness. If you ever feel the same, knowing how to make a simple fruit soda can be the perfect way to take the edge off of that craving.
You Will Need…
- Dry ice
- A fruit of your choice (I wouldn’t recommend bananas)
- A thin fruit juice of your choice (store bought or homemade). Something like lemonade or watermelon juice would work best with this. As long as the water content is high, it should work. Thick juices will not work well.
- A container with a lid
- Sugar (optional)
Step 1 – Make you sugar syrup. If you choose to use a store bought juice, you probably will not feel the need to add more sugar to it. If that’s the case, feel free to skip to step 3. If you’re making your own fruit juice, you can add a sugar syrup to it to give it a sweet soda-like flavor. To make this sugar syrup, all you have to do is pour some plain white sugar into a pot/pan and let it sit over a low flame to melt.
The amount of sugar you melt depends on how much soda you will be making. If you are trying to make 1 serving of soda, I recommend using just a few teaspoons of sugar. If you’re making the soda for a party, using about 1-1½ cups of sugar should be enough.
While the sugar is melting over the flame, make sure you stir it continuously. If you don’t, it will stick to the bottom of the pot/pan and burn. Once the sugar is a thick liquid, take it off the heat.
Step 2 – Combine your ingredients. Put your chopped up fruit into a container with a lid. Then, pour your juice in. If you want to sweeten the flavor, now is the time to add in the sugar syrup. Make sure you taste the drink after every additional ingredient you put in! You can add sweetness easily, but taking away sweetness is very hard, if not impossible.
You can also add in a few drops of an essential oil, or an artificial flavoring if you want. However, if you are already adding in fruit and fruit juice, I don’t think this is necessary. It’s up to you.
Step 3 – Put in your dry ice. You can be the judge of how much dry ice to put into your juice. For a single serving, a few small chunks should be good. Usually, about a pound of dry ice can carbonate 1-2 gallons of a liquid.
Drop the dry ice into the container and put the lid on. Keeping the lid shut will help to keep in the carbonation. You can use a gatorade cooler or something similar. You will have to keep your eye on the container so it doesn’t burst. Once the dry ice starts evaporating, the container will start to expand. If it expands enough, it will crack and make a big mess. To keep this from happening, open the top of the container to let out some of the carbonation every time the container feels strained. You can also just keep the lid halfway or part-way on.
Step 4 – Let the dry ice fully evaporate. While the dry ice evaporates, stir it around every few minutes so that it doesn’t stick to the container and freeze certain sections of the liquid.
Once every single bit of dry ice is completely gone, your soda is done!
Step 5 – Puree your fruit. In a blender or food processor (or by hand if you don’t have either), chop your fruit up into small pieces. You’re not turning this fruit into juice, so don’t blend it too much. They should be small enough that you can drink them without any health hazards, but large enough so you can bite down on them while you drink your soda. This will really give your soda a natural, healthy texture and flavor.
Step 6 – Combine. Place your chopped up fruit into the cups that you’re going to serve your soda in. Fill them up with however much fruit you want. Then, pour the carbonated drink over the fruit.
Step 7 – Enjoy! You can enjoy this soda right away, and you don’t have to bother with cooling it in the fridge first, because the dry ice will have already done that for you.
And that’s how you make a delicious, fruity soda. If a fruit soda isn’t really up your alley and you would prefer something a little more similar to a regular store-bought cola or root beer, just replace the fruit ingredients with ingredients of your choice.
How to Make Homemade Root Beer with Dry Ice
If you’re more into root beer than fruit sodas, here’s a simple recipe for making homemade root beer using the Dry Ice Method. This soda may be a little more difficult than the fruit soda because you will be using root beer extract rather than regular, familiar fruits. But, if you aren’t wary of feeling more like a scientist than a chef, this is the recipe for you.
You Will Need…
- White sugar
- Root Beer extract (also called root beer concentrate)
- Brown/black food coloring (optional)
- Dry ice
- A container with a lid
Step 1 – Fill your container with water. For this recipe, I recommend using a large container like a gatorade cooler, and making a big batch of root beer — it makes it so that the measurements can be more free.
Step 2 – Pour in your sugar. You can be the judge of how sweet you want your root beer to be. One of the best things about making your own soda is that you can control how much sweetness and flavoring you add.
Feel free to taste your mixture as you add in and dissolve the sugar until it tastes just right. On average, a little less than 1 lb of sugar goes with every 1-1½ gallon of water.
Step 3 – Add in the root beer extract. Don’t be scared to add your extract in liberally. Taste as you go, but you will most likely want to add in about 4 oz.
Step 4 – Put in the food coloring (optional). Without food coloring, your root beer will be clear. If you’re someone who would rather have traditional looking root beer, put in a few drops of coloring to give it that store-bought look.
Step 4 – Put in the dry ice. For such a large batch, you will need a few pounds of dry ice to carbonate it all. Start with about 4 lbs of dry ice, then taste after the chunks have completely dissolved. If you want it more fizzy, add in another lb or so.
Make sure that when the ice is dissolving, you keep the lid of the container on only partly! This way, you are leaving some space for the excess CO2 to escape the container so that the container doesn’t explode.
Step 5 – Enjoy!
And that’s how you make soda with dry ice. I hope one of these recipes works for you, and if not, making sodas with dry ice leaves a lot of space to get creative and explore your options. Maybe instead of creating a soda with root beer extract you can use vanilla extract, banana extract, cherry extract, mint extract, etc. or even mix a few together and see what flavors you can make.
Get creative with your soda making, but remember to be careful when using dry ice.