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I've made Tom Kha soda syrup:

simple syrup + coconut cream + lime leaves + lemongrass + galangal + a bit of lime juice to help preserve

When I add a couple spoons of it to soda water and ice, it curdles. I know this is because the soda water is too acidic (it's just tap water that I carbonated — no basic additives). What can I do to alleviate this without changing the flavour too much?

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Does it curdle, or just not mix evenly? Not only shold acid not cause coconut cream to curdle, but carbonated tap water shouldn't be acidic. I would try thinning the syrup in a small amount uncarbonated water and then blend it into the carbonated water (maybe caronated to a higher amount to account for the extra water). –  Emily Anne Dec 13 '12 at 5:26
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@EmilyAnne: Carbonation makes water more acidic; the CO2 directly contributes to free hydrogen atoms. –  Josh Caswell Dec 13 '12 at 8:13
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I really wish people do leave a comment while down-voting. It helps everyone to know what's wrong with the answer. I am curious to know and learn :) –  bonCodigo Dec 15 '12 at 15:57
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If the water is to acidic, add baking soda to the tap water, you need to use very little, 0.5 - 2 grams per liter, to do this you need scale that can weight such small entities, or just add very little, much less than a tea spoon and test. –  Stefan Jan 9 '13 at 13:18
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1 Answer 1

If it's acidity that's causing the separation, a pinch of baking soda should do it. In fact (trivia alert!), the first "soda" was naturally carbonated spring water, which usually contained alkaline sodium compounds, including sodium bicarbonate, a.k.a. baking soda. Many brands of carbonated water today, especially those marketed as "club soda" in the US or "soda water" in the UK, have baking soda added to mimic the flavor of that natural spring water.

Having said that, if coconut cream curdles with acid, and you've already added lime juice to your coconut cream, there's nothing you can do to un-curdle it. However, coconut cream has very little protein, which is what causes dairy milk to curdle in acid. Most of the discussion I can find online about coconut milk and cream curdling refers to heat as the main cause.

Could your problem simply be that the high-fat coconut milk, like many fatty products, doesn't mix easily with water? Try blending it thoroughly with a small amount of water, and then blend that with the larger amount of carbonated water, and see what happens.

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