Homemade espresso soda

25 Feb
If I drink more than a six-pack of soft drinks in a year, that’s a lot. Odd considering that I grew up mixing all kinds of sodas in my family’s fountain service store in East New York.
But when my friend Dante shipped me a really swell beverage carbonator a few weeks back, for the purpose of trying my hand at carbonated cocktails, all I was able to think about was making some soda.
And not just any soda. It had to be this one: Manhattan Special.
Not exactly a household name, I know. But they’ve been making this stuff since 1895. The company that produces it is still family owned, and the manufacturing plant is where it has always been: Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Here’s a story the Times did a while back.
I used to drink a ton of Manhattan Special (we just called it “coffee soda”) when I was a kid, but now only treat myself to a taste occasionally. 
Dante’s very cool gift seemed the right occasion. (Sorry, man, but I don’t do cocktails. I’m a straight-up kinda guy when it comes to my whiskey.)
So, here you’ve got the contraption. It’s called Twist ‘n Sparkle.
It’s a snap to use. All you do is insert a CO2 cartridge into this wand here, then drop the wand into the plastic bottle.
When you screw the wand into the bottle the gas is automatically released from the cartridge. To make my coffee soda I brewed about three and a half cups of espresso in a regular coffee maker and added 6 tablespoons of sugar. The sugar part was a little hard to cope with, as I never use it in my coffee. Oh, and the whole thing needed to be chilled before carbonating.
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I wound up with a drink that really was very close to the original. I think that if I played around with the coffee-to-sugar ratio a bit more I might even get it precisely right.
Or, I could just head on over to Williamsburg and get the real thing. 
Tough call.

9 Responses to “Homemade espresso soda”

  1. Velva February 25, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Now that is a real soda! If you need a lift in the afternoon this would do it.Growing up we went to a NY style soda and grill restaurant…We often ordered lime Rickey's. To this day, I can remember how much I enjoyed those fresh sodas. The older folks liked to order cream sodas.Have a great weekend.Velva

  2. Claudia February 25, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    This is indeed a good old fashioned soda (note yo my Midwestern family: it IS soda and not pop). Your blog has me running all over Brooklyn in my trip to NYC in March.

  3. Mister Meatball February 25, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    C: let me know when you go, I'll give you some spots.

  4. Anonymous February 26, 2012 at 9:28 pm #

    I don't know how you do it, Mr. M, but you really do have a way of making me smile.Thank you.PS: I haven't had a coffee soda in a lot of years but will definitely be getting some this week.

  5. Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti February 27, 2012 at 5:25 pm #

    Manhattan Special is always in my refrigerator as my husband loves it. We can easily find it in local Brooklyn supermarkets. If I ever move out of NYC I will have to get this gadget so we can make our own.

  6. No Filter: The Book April 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I love that stuff. I wish you could find it in Maine.

  7. Wade Dorrell March 23, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

    It just occurred to me today to try something like this. I make soda at home using homebrew kegs and a CO2 tank, and will have to give this a go!

  8. Chris DeBenedetto August 7, 2014 at 10:42 am #

    What type of espresso did you use and what was your espresso to water ratio…I have been trying to replicate this for a while…can't get MS here I CA very easily.

  9. Mister Meatball August 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

    I grind my own espresso beans. Can't say exact water ratio, just what feels right. Sorry.

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