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Have you ever wondered how to make a perfect forest berry soda? How much syrup do you need to add to get the right balance of sweetness and flavor? Well, I have created a handy google-sheets calculation that will show you exactly how to do it.
Making soft drinks is all about ratio. You can’t just sweeten them by taste, because it won’t come out right. You need to follow a standard formula that ensures consistency and quality. The general rule is to aim for a 10:1 ratio of water to sugar, which means 10% of the liquid (by weight) should be sugar. However, this can vary depending on the type of flavor you are using. For example, you might want to use less sugar for sweet aromas like berries with vanilla (about 9%), or more sugar for spicy (e.g. ginger!), smoky or bitter aromas. Think of tonic water, which is one of the most sugary drinks out there - we are talking about up to 13% sugar content.
But how do you measure the sugar content of your syrup? It’s not as simple as adding water and sugar together, because sugar and water don’t add up proportionally. For instance, 1 liter (or kilogram) of water and 1 kilograms of sugar will result in 2 kilograms of syrup, but only 1.65 liters of volume.
And what if you are using fresh ingredients that already contain water? How do you account for that? Well, the best way is to measure everything carefully and use a scale.
But even when you measure, you might not know how much liquid you need to make your soda. That’s why I have made this nifty spreadsheet that will do the math for you. Just enter the ingredients and the desired amount of soda, and it will tell you how much syrup and water to use.
With this calculation, you can easily make your own syrup, even if you have to add some water to dissolve the sugar from your maceration. Let me show you how it works:
First, you need to macerate some berries with sugar. You can use a 1:1 ratio of berries and sugar (for example, 600g of each) and macerate them either in the fridge for a few days or in a sous vide machine at around 60ºC for a few hours. Then, you need to strain your maceration and collect the syrup. If there is any undissolved sugar left in the pulp, you can add a little water to dissolve it, but not too much.
Next, you need to measure how many milliliters of syrup you have and enter the result into the yellow box.
Then, you need to decide how sweet you want your soda to be. This depends on d the flavor of your syrup. A good starting point is 10% (100g per liter) of sugar content, but you can adjust it as you like. I have chosen 11% (110g per liter) for this example.
Now, the table will calculate how many liters of soda you can make with your syrup, and how much syrup you need to use per liter to get the right sweetness.
You can also scale it down to a glass size (200ml), but I recommend making larger batches for better consistency.
To make your soda, always add the syrup first and then the water (either still or sparkling). Don’t do it the other way around.
And don’t forget to add some citric acid to get to the right experience of the product. I suggest using 2% of the sugar amount as citric acid. You can also use sodium citrate, but that’s another topic for another day…
I hope you find this helpful and enjoy making your own soda! Please let me know in the comments if this content is useful and if you want to see more of it on this site.
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