carbonated beverage

carbonated beverage

carbonated beverage, an effervescent drink that releases carbon dioxide under conditions of normal atmospheric pressure. Carbonation may occur naturally in spring water that has absorbed carbon dioxide at high pressures underground. It can also be a byproduct of fermentation, such as beer and some wines (see champagne). Many curative properties have been attributed to effervescent waters (e.g., aiding digestion and calming nerves), but few have been scientifically tested. The term seltzer once referred to the effervescent mineral water obtained from the natural springs near the village of Niederseltsers in SW Germany. Today, however, seltzer is simply well-filtered tap water with artificially added carbonation. Club soda is also artificially carbonated but contains other additives as well, including sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate, sodium citrate, and sometimes light flavoring. Artificial carbonation was first introduced in 1767 by an Englishman, Joseph Priestley, and was commercialized in 1807 by Benjamin Silliman, a Yale Univ. chemistry professor, who bottled and sold seltzer water. After 1830, sweetened and flavored (lemon-lime, grape, orange) carbonated drinks became popular. In 1838, Eugene Roussel added a "soda counter" to his Philadelphia shop; by 1891, New York City had more soda fountains than bars. In 1886, John S. Pemberton, an Atlanta druggist seeking a headache and hangover remedy, added kola nut extract to coca extract and produced Coca-Cola. A pharmacist named Hires invented root beer in 1893. Today, heavily sweetened, carbonated drinks, or sodas, are among the most popular beverages in the world. In the last two decades, the introduction of diet drinks containing artificial sweeteners has increased sales of carbonated beverages. Annual Coca-Cola sales alone total more than a billion dollars, and sodas account for one-fourth of the annual sugar consumption in the United States.
A frozen carbonated beverage (FCB) is a mixture of flavored sugar syrup, carbon dioxide, and water that is frozen by a custom machine creating a drink comprised of a fine slush of suspended ice crystals, with very little liquid. Some common FCBs are the Slurpee, the ICEE, and the Froster.


The FCB machine was invented by Omar Knedlik, then the owner of a Dairy Queen franchise. In the late 1950s, his restaurant lacked a soda fountain. Instead, he stored soda in his freezer. His customers loved the slushy drinks, so Knedlik tried to capture them with a machine. By the mid 1960s, about 300 machines had been manufactured. In 1965 7-Eleven licensed the machine, and began selling the Slurpee.

How an FCB machine works

The back-end of an FCB machine is very similar to a regular soda fountain. Concentrated flavor syrups are mixed with filtered water, then carbonated. This mixture is then injected into a cylinder surrounded by freezer coils. The mixture freezes to the wall of the cylinder, then is scraped off by a rotating dasher, which also keeps the mixture uniformly mixed. FCB machines will often freeze to a temperature well below the freezing point of water, but a mixture of pressure (up to 40psi), sugar, and the constant stirring prevent the mass from freezing solid.

Differences between FCBs and FUBs

Frozen Uncarbonated Beverage machines are distinctive from FCB machines in that they lack a pressure chamber, and do not require a carbon dioxide connection. Many modern FUB machines use a spiral-shaped plastic dasher to scrape crystals off a freezing cylinder, often integrated into a clear hopper. Modern FUB machines can make a fine-textured product, but their product is often much 'wetter' than a true FCB. On the other hand, FUB machines are much simpler and less expensive, and so they are more common. An FUB machine can be purchased for well under $2000, and rented for less than $100/day. FCB machines often must have a dedicated service staff.

See also

Retail Brands of FCBs

Non-FCB Slush Drinks

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