Before making a decent soft drink, you need good water. Many articles have been written about “copying” best selling mineral waters, but I’ve focused down on two: DIY Mineral Water by Martin Lersch at Khymos and the Mineral Water Salts chapter of Darcy S. O’Neil’s (most excellent) Fix the Pumps. The Lersch article includes a spreadsheet into which you can input the mineral data on your tap water (available from your water utility) and requires only 6 easy-to-find ingredients (compounds are highlighted in red below). O’Neil lists many more ingredients (some for the same water), which I’ve broken down into basic groups:
Sodium bromide: Used in pools and hot tubs (not food grade) as part of two-step sterilization. Next to impossible to find food grade. Only used in Hathorn water.
Calcium bicarbonate: Does not exist as a solid compound. Develops from calcium carbonate dissolved in carbonated water. Only used in Badoit water.
Magnesium bicarbonate: Can be extracted from milk of magnesia
Potassium bicarbonate: Laboratory grade available, only used in Badoit.
Sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO3): Baking soda
Calcium carbonate: Over the counter calcium supplements, brewing supply stores.
Magnesium carbonate: Sold as a vitamin supplement, but out of stock every place I checked today.
Sodium carbonate: aka “soda ash” or “washing soda.” Available on Amazon and many grocery stores.
Calcium chloride: Available at brewing supply stores. Not food grade, but most ice-melting salts are CaCl2.
Magnesium chloride: Available as a vitamin supplement from Amazon and other sources.
Potassium chloride: Vitamin supplement, Amazon et el.
Sodium chloride (NaCl): Table salt
Calcium Hydroxide (Ca(OH)2): aka “slaked lime” or CAL. Available from Amazon.
Magnesium Hydroxide (Mg(OH)2): Milk of Magnesia, available at pharmacies.
Aluminum silicate: Used in glass manufacturing, Available but expensive! Only used in Badoit water.
Calcium sulphate (CaSO4): aka Gypsum, available at brewing supply stores, Amazon.
Magnesium sulphate (MgSO4): aka Epsom salts, available at any pharmacy.
Potassium sulphate: 0-0-50 fertilizer. Aquarium suppliers.
Sodium sulphate: Used in manufacturing paper and detergents. Available from Amazon.
Silica: Is this “silica gel?” It’s only used to synthesize Perrier water in the O’Neil formulation. Update 03/09/2011 - available from Amazon. It is just "silica."
Mineral waters that can be synthesized:
Lersch: Acqua Panna, Apollinaris, Borsec, Evian, Farris, Gerolsteiner, Perrier, San Pellegrino, Vichy Saint-Yorre, Vittel.
O’Neil: Apollinaris, Badoit, Bethesda, Carlsbad, Crab Orchard, Hathorn, Hunyadi, Kessel, Perrier, Saratoga, Selters (Seltzer), Vichy.
So, you can make 10 varieties of mineral water using only baking soda, salt, CAL, Milk of Magnesia, Gypsum, and Epsom salts. Eliminate the Badoit, Hathorn, and O’Neil Perrier (because of the near impossibility of finding an ingredient or two) and you can make 9 more as you gradually accumulate the other ingredients. Here’s O’Neils version of Seltzer water, especially for Linda (with hugs):Sodium Bicarbonate 115 g (4oz.)
Sodium Chloride 85g (3 oz.)
Calcium Chloride, dry 15g (1/2 oz.)
Magnesium Chloride 15g (1/2 oz.)
Water, sufficient 40L (10 gal.)
Dissolve the magnesium and calcium salts in 8 oz. (240ml) of water and then add it to the sodium salts dissolved in a pint of water. Mix.
More practically, to approximate for a gallon (using distilled water): 2½ teaspoons baking soda, 1½ teaspoons sea salt, ½ teaspoon calcium chloride (from the homebrew store), and forget the *Magnesium Chloride. Put some in a SodaStream bottle, chill, carbonate (water may be cloudy before carbonation).
* sea salt composition: Chloride (Cl-) 55.03%, Sodium (Na+) 30.59%, Sulfate (SO42-) 7.68%, Magnesium (Mg2+) 3.68%, Calcium (Ca2+) 1.18%, Potassium (K+) 1.11%, Bicarbonate (HCO3-) 0.41%, Bromide (Br-) 0.19%, Borate (BO33-) 0.08%, Strontium (Sr2+) 0.04%, Everything else 0.01%