How to Use an iSi Soda Siphon to Carbonate Housemade Sodas

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Okay, so the title might make this seem super elementary, but I’ve got to say that after traveling the world and watching bartenders – especially those in cocktail competitions – dispense a foamy soda that quickly turns flat, I thought I would post a quick video showing you how to solve that problem.

It’s a really simple hack but one that makes a ton of difference, so if you’ve ever experienced any frustration with your housemade soda from an iSi Soda Siphon, watch this video. I hope it helps!

24 Replies to “How to Use an iSi Soda Siphon to Carbonate Housemade Sodas”

  • Kal says:

    Hi Jeffrey.
    I know I’m really late to comment this for now. But I have important question about this soda siphon. If I want to use this thing, so the result it will be call Soda or Seltzer? Cos I don’t understand about this, some source said you can call soda if there is add by bicarbonate. Help me to answer it, thank you sk much!

    • Technically club soda is supposed to have minerals added (very old time thing to use bicarbonate) but these days soda, seltzer, and carbonated water are all considered to be the same thing. Personally I don’t worry about it.

  • Davide says:

    Hi Jeffrey,
    I just bought a soda siphon to start making bottled cocktails at home (I’m using you carbonated americano video from small screen network as a reference).
    My question is: what is the best way to clean your soda siphon? How do you proceed usually?
    I use one at work for carbonating water and I clean it easily, but I’m thinking it’ll need better cleaning after putting in sugary-sticky liquids.

    Thank you

    P.S. I also have cartridges that are not from the iSi brand and I’ve read in the manual that you should use only their cartridges, is this a real concern or is it just for marketing purposes?

    • I’d recommend using some warm water and sanitizer solution that you should be able to find easily on Amazon (I just use the stuff we have at the bar)

      Also I don’t know how crucial it is that you use their brand but on the other hand their products are guaranteed to be food grade. Not all CO₂ cartridges are.

  • James says:

    I only want to make carbonated water, with the Isi Classic soda syphon. I find that no matter how cold or shaken, the dispensed carbonated water goes flat in 3 seconds even with injecting two CO2 cartridges. Is there a way to get the dispensed water to hold its carbonation, so the water has rising bubbles for at least a few minutes once in the glass?

    • I can tell you right now that you’re not using water that’s cold enough, nor are you shaking hard enough. There’s no other reason why your water isn’t carbonated, unless you’re accidentally using nitrogen cartridges. Sorry!

  • Derek Parker says:

    Hi Jeffery,
    Great video, thank you. In reading some of the replies, I realize I had the same problems of the soda coming out fizzy and not staying carbonated for long. I will try your correct technique.
    However, one day, after opening a bottle of champagne and having a glass, I decided to pour the rest into an Isi and charged it with one CO2. The champagne, of course, is already carbonated. However, when I dispensed it (the wrong way, however, by not releasing the pressure) it came out super fizzy, but then immediately turned flat. It was perfectly bubbly when I poured it in, but completely flat after put it in the Isi and charged it with CO2! It seems that somehow I removed the natural carbonation, when actually I was trying to preserve it. Can you explain this? Would it have worked if I kept it pressurized and then released the pressure when ready to pour another glass?

    • Hard to diagnose the problem over the internet but two things I can probably assume you’re missing are:

      1. You need to shake the iSi very well in order to dissolve all of the CO₂ in the liquid.
      2. Everything needs to be cold, cold, cold. Most people who have problems like this aren’t getting their liquid cold enough.

      Hope that helps.

  • Derek says:

    Hey Jeffrey,

    I’m hoping you can help clarify one point. I’m scouring the internet but cannot find an answer. The guide on my soda siphon says to “fill to the brim” of the measuring tube. To me that essentially means to fill the entire siphon with liquid. However, another brand in a glass bottle has a clear redline about 70% of the way up, where you are suppose to stop. So…what’s the answer? Do you recommend leaving a few inches of headspace?

  • Snehal says:

    Hey Jeffrey,
    The ISI website says that the siphon is recommended only for water carbonation. Any concerns on using it to carbonate clarified juices or tea? I suppose regular juices might be a concern as the pulp might be difficult to clean? Also if a single cartridge is used for less that one liter liquid (500 ml or less), does it mean more carbonation?

    • No real issues that I’ve encountered. The primary reason for their recommendation of water only, I would imagine, is that dispensing the liquid using the siphon in the way it was intended will give you all foam. But this technique avoids that.

  • Arto Sevan Oksayan says:


    I just purchased an ice gourmet whip in order to make homemade syrup, I put the water in the fridge and gourmet whip in freezer I charged with two canister but the fizz did not last long, so I am wondering after charging do we need to wait for the co2 to dissolve in water does it need time or is it just instantly works, What can I do to improve the carbonation ?

    • Arto – You need to shake it hard after charging it each time (two canisters is probably not necessary), and if that doesn’t work I would double check to make sure you’re using carbon dioxide, and not nitrogen.

  • Bill Shoemaker says:

    I also have an isi whipping siphon. I’ve done more or less what you’ve suggested (plain water, ice cold, two CO2 cartridges). I get great fizzy water whose carbonation dissipates almost immediately. What do I do?

    Thought: I’ve seen commercial sodas that list glycerin as an ingredient. Is this what helps them hold onto their bubbles?

    • Bill, if the carbonation disappears “almost immediately” then you’re either not shaking it well enough, or you’re accidentally using nitrogen canisters. There’s no other reasonable explanation, and I really don’t recommend adding glycerine to your carbonated water. But yes, it is added to increase viscosity and retain cabonation.

  • Phen says:

    My store-bought ginger ale is not super fizzy, but it keeps its fizz for quite a long time after I pour it out into a cup.

    When I make seltzer water with a siphon and two cartridges, at first it seems way fizzier than typical soda! But it goes flat in a few minutes. It’s just as cold as the gingerale, so I don’t think temperature is the difference. But what is it?

    I have made only seltzer water with this siphon. Nothing else, just water.

    • Yeah it’s because your ginger ale contains sugars and other additional compounds. Those additional components increase the viscosity and the surface tension of the ginger ale, making the carbon dioxide able to remain in solution for longer than simply pure water and carbon dioxide.

  • Anthony Simpson says:


    Can you not dispense from the syphon after depressurising the gas? Or will not go up the tube?

  • Spamalot says:

    Hey Jeff, I have an iSi whip rather than an iSi soda siphon, and I’m never able to get the carbonation of my liquids right (including just water). Does the technique of depressurizing the headspace and then removing the lid to pour the soda also work for an iSi whip, or is this a case of me having the wrong tool for the job? Thanks!

  • Hey Jeffrey,
    this works nicely if you’re building a 200ml lemonade. Since those bullets are more than 50 cents over here in the EU it’s an expensive lemonade – that needs a shitload of single-use metal – though.
    And using this hack but only dispensing 30-60ml in fizzes/daisies: the liquid will go flat quickly. How do you keep that carbonation in the liter of soda to use over the course of a day or three, please?
    Hoping to learn the final piece of the puzzle in this,

    Robert from Berlin

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