I made this tonic syrup recipe. However, as mentioned also in the recipe, the bubbles tend to leave early when I pour sparkling water on it. I don't think using a differend brand would help - the production process is probably similar.

Why do the bubbles leave? It does not happen with elderberry flower syrup. Would using a soda stream help? How do I keep the bubbles in my tonic?

2 Answers 2


It'll be because the tonic syrup contains nucleation sites, which are in this case tiny particles from the stuff in the syrup that cause the dissolved gas to come out of solution rapidly. The more nucleation sites, the quicker this will happen. Disturbances in the liquid can also act as nucleation sites - which is why your carbonated drinks foam up when poured, and why stirring/shaking the liquid results in extra bubbles for a short time.

Edited to add: to get rid of the nucleation sites you could try filtering the syrup (I note that this is part of the recipe). This can be as simple as several layers of paper-towels arranged into the shape of a cup and sat inside a funnel, or you could use more expensive pre-made filters(e.g. coffee filters) or scientific grade filter papers/cartridges. If I were you I would use several layers at one time of whatever filter you choose, this will help filter out as much as possible of the detritus, but will slow your filtration rate - be patient.

WARNING: DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME; SIGNIFICANT RISK OF BURNS. If you have no nucleation sites you can retain gasses in liquid quite well. As evidenced by all those people who have heated water in a microwave and then added sugar or something similar (coffee, cocoa) and had it rapidly (and sometimes explosively) boil over. Also known by all those people who have dumped sugar into their soda/pop/fizzy/carbonated drink and seen the massive efflux of bubbles.

  • Yes, I used 4 layers of tea filter. Maybe I need something better. Thanks for the answer!
    – G. B.
    Oct 27, 2020 at 8:49

I don't know the exact chemical/physical reason - but it definitely happens, with any carbonated liquid.

Presumably it's an increase in the surface area of 'places bubbles can form' which tends to be why a fizzy drink produces bubbles at the edges, against the glass it's in, around a wedge of lime, etc.
Try dropping a teaspoon of sugar in a glass of coke, or the fun one when I was a kid; stir it with a really well-chewed [real, wood] liquorice stick. Make sure you have a towel to hand. The coke will go almost totally flat inside 30 seconds.
If 'daddy owns the vineyard' then observe the same reaction pouring champagne into a dry glass.

The trick for Sodastream is to squeeze a couple more pushes of gas into the bottle first. It's not truly successful, because a home device like a Sodastream has a lower pressure limit than the commercial bottling plants do.
If you try this with a Sodastream bottle, by adding the syrup to make an actual 'bottle of tonic' be really careful pouring the syrup into the bottle; a bit at a time… again, you're either careful enough or you need a towel.

Note; you cannot re-fizz Sodastream once you have added anything other than water to the bottle. You may get away with it a few times, but eventually you will foul the mechanism.

If you're working from store-bought soda water, there's nothing you can do really.

  • I’ve never understood the value proposition of a SodaStream. With a cheap regulator and a couple of bits of hardware you can easily pressurize a soda bottle filled with water or tonic or whatever and leave it to carbonate for a few days. What’s the point of the ‘instant’ carbonation if it limits what you can do with it so severely?
    – Sneftel
    Oct 26, 2020 at 21:30
  • @Sneftel I have a soda stream and it works perfectly fine. I store the syrup and carbonated water separately and mix when I want to drink it (or just store the syrup and carbonate water on demand). I've never had it bubble catastrophically when mixing it with syrup either, but I generally pour the water over the syrup instead of vice versa.
    – Kat
    Oct 26, 2020 at 23:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.