A way to carbonate at home?

I regularly drink carbonated water and a few years back, thinking it would be cheaper, I looked into getting a seltzer bottle with carbonation pellets. Unfortunately, it turned out that wasn’t the case. Even after factoring out the cost of the seltzer bottle (which cost around $45 for one that’s liter sized), the carbonation pellets–if you can find a store that sells them–cost around $10 for a pack of 10 that can charge one liter of water each. Thus, at best, it will cost you $1 for one liter of water. I can go to any grocery store and get two liters of club soda or seltzer water for that price or cheaper.

No 50s or 60 coctail party would be complete without one.

These guys have seltzer bottles available. They also have some nifty whipped cream dispenser gizmos too.

I bottle-carbonate my beer too, but as mentioned by others you really do have to watch out on soda or some other high-sugar products. I’ve had a 9% alcohol homebrew beer and an (unknown alcohol, but probably 10%?) mead turn into bottle bombs when my normally cool basement heated up on very hot summer days. Probably the yeast strains I used contributed, but I’ve always read that you should be really, really careful if you’re going to try working with soda and yeast.

Carbonation is a pretty good example of the move to the right in the USA over the last couple of decades. It used to be that you could carbonate in public. Then the moral majority drove the practice behind closed doors, so that otherwise decent folks could only carbonate in the privacy of their own homes. Now that carbonation has been driven so far underground that we now talk in terms of carbon sinks, what used to be common knowledge of the practice has been removed from society’s general knowledge base, with only a few closeted practitioners to be found in arcane corners of the internet.

Nitrous oxide is used as propellant/frothing agent in aerosol cream; it’s fat-soluble and volumizes cream twice as well as air, though the result is unstable and collapses disappointingly in about 20 minutes if you don’t get on and eat it. (CO[sub]2[/sub] isn’t used as it would tend to curdle the cream.) But really it was a pun in search of a set-up and I don’t know that anyone actually does drink fizzy milk - however, should you be inclined to experiment and don’t want the slightly acidic carbonated taste in a milk-based drink…

Why wouldn’t it be? Baking soda’s used for, um, baking, and also with citric acid crystals to make fizzy sherbet - the exact same reaction you’re after. Be warned though, it’s apt to be quite lively when added directly to acidic liquid.

WRT “bombs”, are there no cheap commercial versions of pressure release valves?

I’ve made whipped cream with a CO2 cartridge in place of the nitrous by mistake. It produced carbonated whipped cream which did not curdle.

Fair enough. However, it’s notgeneral policy. Perhaps yours was only exposed briefly?

Have you never seen this?

Am I too old or something, but I remember this system from my childhood.

whipped cream - since forever.

Dude - check this vid out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRgfsa8zOio Not only is it superfast, it’s only 1.5 cents to carbonate a 12-oz bottle - about 9.5 cents to do a whole 2-liter bottle if U wanna.

That’s what I described above. The dude in the video has a bad technique, though. He’d be much, much faster if he squeezed out the air before putting on the cap, then shaking the bottle while the CO2 is connected. It takes me about 15 seconds to make 2 liters of soda water.

A problem with baking soda is that one of the products is NaCl, so you could end up with salty juice.

Dry ice is really bad at carbonating liquid in an open container. You need a cold liquid and high pressure. Dry ice is surprisingly bad at cooling the liquid it’s bubbling in. The low temperature increases the solubility of the gas in the liquid. You need the pressure so that the concentration of dissolved carbon dioxide is much greater than the equilibrium concentration in 1 atm of air (which is low).