It’s no secret – Americans love their bubbles. We rank number one in total soft drink consumption globally, and are birthplace to the classic refreshments Dr. Pepper, Coca-Cola and 7-Up. Adding carbonated water to sugar syrups and cocktails is not novel. People have been enjoying gin and tonic in varying degrees since the seventeenth century and drinking soda pop since the late eighteen hundreds. The addition of mass-produced soft drinks to our beverage arsenal changed American drinking culture exponentially. Ordering a Jack and Coke became commonplace, while ordering single malt scotch with an ice cube on the side became offbeat.
But, there has been a resurrection of classic cocktails in American culture in the last ten years. This translates to an Old Fashioned sans soda water or muddled cherry, and measured Martinis arriving stirred not shaken - served by career bartenders, whose aquisition of knowledge and good product translates into spirit-driven cocktails showcasing the art of drink.
In our au courant attitude towards reviving everything vintage, the soda siphon has surfaced back on the market. In the cocktail world, there is a growing interest in serving fully carbonated libations, rather than adding an already carbonated soda to the other ingredients for effervescence. Bartenders are using systems like the iSi Twist n’ Sparkle and the Perlini to craft house-made tonic, ginger beer or to infuse carbonation into fully prepared cocktails.
Douglas Derrick, bar manager at Nostrana Restaurant in Portland, Oregon, uses both systems to achieve his distinctive taste and texture profiles. According to Douglas, the upside to using a Perlini is essentially having a pressurized individual cocktail shaker, perfect for carbonating small batch classic cocktails like the Corpse Reviver #2, the French 75 or anything topped with Prosecco. He uses the iSi Twist n’ Sparkle, for his house-made tonic water. The size of the carbonation produced by the iSi can be much smaller than the Perlini, creating a long-lasting effervescence - perfect for drinks like the gin and tonic.
If you cocktail lovers, bartenders or small-batch soda makers want to invest in some equipment, carbonated beverages can easily be achieved. The iSi Twist n' Sparkle will run you under thirty dollars, but don’t forget it yields large batches, approximately 32 ounces. This is great for making homemade soda, tonic, or large batches of cocktails if you’re having people over. The Perlini is a pressurized, one-way valve cocktail shaker. It's a little more expensive, but if you’re interested in making one cocktail at a time – that’s your ticket.
Here are a few recipes to get you started.
Recipe by Douglas Derrick
1.5 ounces Meyer’s Dark rum
2 ounces chai tea soda (recipe below)
.75 ounces fresh lime juice
.5 ounces 2 to 1 simple syrup
Combine all ingredients into a Perlini and add ice. Carbonate, strain and serve in a Collins glass over ice.
If you're carbonating this cocktail in the iSi Twist n' Sparkle, multiply the recipe by five, and carbonate according to the iSi instructions.
Chai Tea Soda
1 tablespoon Chai Syrup
3 ounces soda water
Recipe by Jeffrey Morgenthaler
Jeff is bar manager of the Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. His drink contribution is not a fully carbonated beverage—instead, it uses the iSi Twist n’ Sparkle to carbonate house-made ginger beer. We highly reccommend a visit to his popular blog for a complete review on brewing ginger beer and home-bottling fully carbonated cocktails.
1.5 ounces Smith and Cross Rum
.75 ounces grapefruit juice
.75 ounces B.G. Reynolds Orgeat
.5 ounces fresh lime juice
2 dashes Angastora bitters
1 ounce ginger beer (recipe below)
Combine all ingredients into shaker. Add ice. Shake and strain into a glass. Top with ginger beer.
1 ounce fresh ginger juice
2 ounces fresh lemon juice
3 ounces simple syrup
10 ounces cold water
Combine all ingredients in iSi Twist n’ Sparkle. Add Co2 cartige and twist.
A Mexican Cutie
Recipe by Elizabeth McElligott
This drink pays homage to the classic margarita without the orange curacao. It’s easy, slightly fruit forward and delicious.
2 ounces Tequila
1 ounce Rothman & Winter Orchard Pear Liqueur
.75 ounces fresh lime juice
.5 ounces agave nectar
Combine all ingredients into a Perlini and add ice. Carbonate, shake then strain and serve into a tall glass, with a salted rim over ice.
If you are carbonating this cocktail with the iSi Twist n' Sparkle, multiply the recipe by six and carbonate according to the iSi instructions.
Elizabeth McElligott is a naturopathic physician living in Portland, Oregon. As a New York City native, she was exposed to a wide array of international cuisine, her favorite being eggplant parmesan on a hoagie role. Her passion for food, nutrition and open spaces prompted her pilgrimage to the west coast. She loves drinking French press every morning and enjoying a cocktail every evening.