Last year I joined the ranks of seltzer lovers who make their favorite carbonated beverage at home. One thing I noticed is that my instruction manual says using cold water makes fizzier seltzer.
Partly because I prefer room-temperature drinks, partly out of laziness, and part out of skepticism, I was reluctant to heed this advice. But, after hearing this tip mentioned yet again, I decided it was time to put it to the test, and see if cold water really does produce fizzier seltzer.
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The Original Tip
The manual of my soda maker, as well as others on the market, all recommend using cold water to make seltzer. However, none of them actually explain why this is — only that it makes better-quality soda water.
The Testing Method
I started by filling two bottles with filtered water, and refrigerated them until chilled to 38 degrees. Then, I filled two more bottles with room-temperature (70 degrees), filtered water.
One by one, I attached each bottle to the soda maker, injecting an equal amount of carbon dioxide into each, then capping each bottle after it was carbonated.
I poured the cold and room temperature seltzers into glasses, and my visiting family members and I tasted each batch.
There was a clear distinction between the two groups of seltzers, and it was more than temperature that set them apart. While the room-temperature seltzer was fizzy and perfectly drinkable, the carbonation was definitely more subtle compared to the group made using cold water. The seltzer made with cold water was much fizzier, and the bubbles felt larger and more alive.
Verdict: This is a mind-blowing tip.
Thinking about this scientifically, it actually shouldn't be quite so surprising. It all comes down to chemistry — temperature has an impact on carbonation. Liquids at lower temperatures absorb more gas. So, seltzer made with cold water absorbs more of the carbon dioxide that's injected from the soda maker.
While it takes more time, there's certainly value in chilling your water before making seltzer.
Do you have any tips for making seltzer at home?