Ok, yesterday I wrote a post giving you a list of supplies to get you started on the journey of making your own homemade soda. Today, I will provide you step by step instructions on making your first batch.
First, get all of your ingredients ready. Get your bottle of extract, your sugar, yeast, and water.
Then, make sure you have all of your other supplies readily available. It is of the utmost importance that your bottles and stock pot are both sterile, so clean them thoroughly in hot water and soap-might even be a good idea to give them a quick bath in a sink full of bleach water solution and a good rinse.
Fill your stock pot with a gallon of water, and set the temperature to medium heat. Since you'll be working with an extract today, you won't need to get the water much hotter then what you'd run your bath water at, so you can gauge by your finger. Once the water is warm enough(around 100 degrees), pour in 2 cups of sugar until it is dissolved.
Take your empty measuring cup, dip it into the pot and get out about 2 oz. of the mix. Measure out 1/8 tsp. of yeast and drop it in the measuring cup. Stir it in and let sit uncovered.
Once you have done that, add 1 tbsp and 1 tsp of the extract and stir in to mix the flavor in.
Now, take the yeast water from the measuring cup and pour back into the rest of the mix. Stir in well to make sure the yeast is in the whole mix and not just sitting at the top.
Using your ladle and funnel bottle your brew. If you've chosen to use 2 liter bottles and have steady hands, you may be able to place the funnel in the bottle and slowly pour the brew into the bottle directly from the pot-which will make the process go a lot quicker. If you're using glass bottles(which I recommend), it should take you about 20-30 minutes to bottle and cap.
Find a place where you can set the bottles out of sunlight and undisturbed for the next few days. If you've chosen 2 liter bottles, you can check the carbonation by squeezing the bottle. Once it's rock hard you should put it in the refrigerator to help slow the fermentation process down.
If you have bottled in glass, check the bottles after 48 hours and then again about every 24 hours after that. IF you crack open one bottle and have a good amount of carbonation, place the remaining bottles in the refrigerator to allow to cool. Fair warning, if the bottle is particularly warm or very carbonated, it will explode out of the bottle(as has happened to me) so I would recommend opening over the sink.
Ideally, you want to store the bottles at or around 70 degrees. If you store them somewhere too cold, your yeast will not flourish. If you store it somewhere warmer, check the bottles earlier, as the yeast will work exponentially quicker the hotter it is.
Once in the refrigerator, you're going to want to let them set for a few days to get the best flavor possible. With the glass bottles I've experienced my best flavor after a week, but it should taste good 3 days afterwards. You'll be in for a pleasant surprise, however, as your bottles will get progressively more delicious as the days go on. Bottled soda will keep for about a month(possibly longer), but it's very unlikely they will last that long.
I'm not sure how long it will keep in the 2 liter bottles, but I would recommend drinking it first 2 days after refrigeration and within a week after that. Your carbonation will stay better in homemade soda then a store bought soda because of the chemical reactions involved, but the repeated exposure to oxygen will make it spoil more quickly then individual, one use bottles that you open once and consume in once sitting.