A soft drink is a non-alcoholic beverage that contains water, carbon dioxide, acidulates, flavouring, artificial colours and chemical preservatives. It also contains a sweetener which is possibly sugar or another form of it, high-fructose corn syrup or any fruit juice. It might also contain caffeine which is a nervous stimulant and universally consumed psychoactive drug. In soft drinks, the word “soft” is used in contrast with “hard” intoxicating drinks. Soft drinks may contain slight amounts of alcohol. The drink is considered non-alcoholic only if the alcohol content is less than half a per cent of the total quantity, which is followed in many countries. Smoothies, mulled apple juice, homemade cordial, lassi, pomegranate mojito mocktail, non-alcoholic tropical fizz are some of the common non-alcoholic drinks. Soda substitutes like tea (iced or hot), freshly squeezed lemonade, kombucha, maple water and coconut water can make our day.
The manufacturing process of soft drinks involves various types of complicated steps that requires plenty of liquid and air compressing techniques. It starts with clarifying water, filtering, sterilising and de-chlorinating the water. This is because the quality of water is very important in making soft drinks. This is followed by mixing of the ingredients like sugar and flavour. Fruit-based syrups added to the beverage should be pasteurised. The water and syrup must be combined cautiously. Now comes the significant step, which is carbonating the beverage. To prevent aeration of the mixture, the pressure in the vessels is increased by adding carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide may be combined with water at an earlier stage, although it is normally added to the final product.
The solubility of carbon dioxide in water increases as the temperature of the liquid decreases, so the temperature of the liquid must be watchfully controlled. This can be done with the help of water chillers. Water chillers are appliances that extract heat from water or liquid used and transfer to the refrigerant. The refrigerant is then transferred to a place where the excess unwanted heat is sent into the atmosphere. To cool down a five-gallon batch, a water chiller uses about thirty gallons of water. This is an efficient way to cool the water to about forty-five degree Fahrenheit which is the ideal temperature to make soft drinks. Temperatures lower than this increases the solubility of carbon dioxide in the liquid and vice-versa. By increasing the pressure of carbon dioxide, the solubility of it in liquid increases by a noticeable factor. Once the soft drink is prepared to water chillers are useful in storing and maintaining them at lower temperatures for as long as we want.
A few years ago, there were more than four hundred types of carbonated drinks. To meet the increasing public demand, different flavours and sweeteners were produced continuously. New technologies were applied to lessen the use of preservatives in soft drinks. Health-related issues started arising like usage of excess sugar, which led to obesity. Also, soda contains acids like sulphuric acid and carbonic acid. These acids increase the acidity in the mouth, which can result in tooth decay. The worst part is when these acids combine with excess sugar which can cause serious damage to the body. Instead, soda substitutes (mentioned above) can get consumed. Surprisingly carbonated drinks without the addition of sugar and preservatives can improve digestion by increasing swallowing ability and decreasing constipation related problems. It does not affect dental health as well as bone health. Following such methods can create a positive impact on the people of today.