Recipe - Heart of Darkness Beverage
I like my soda cold, flat, and
strong. Once I tried just buying the soda syrups (which the
fast food restaurants use in their soda dispensers, which mix them
with soda water) but that proved too much for my constitution to
withstand. I've tried various ways of getting the ideal
beverage, and one that worked fairly well was a freezing method.
When impure water freezes, the
impurities tend to leave the parts of the water which get frozen
first. When these "impurities" are soda ingredients (ie, the
coloring, flavoring, sugar or aspartame, etc), a half-frozen bottle
of soda consists of relatively pure ice towards the sides of the
bottle, and a concentrated mass of soda ingredients towards the
center. The freezing process also "de-fizzes" the beverage
and makes it colder (both bonuses for me). There's a trick to
keep it from exploding while freezing, however.
Here's how you do it:
* Obtain one 2L bottle of your favorite soft drink (I have used Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, and Dr. Pepper to good effect).
* Pour 16 oz of beverage out of the bottle into a cup.  This is a necessary part of keeping the bottle from exploding, but you can also mix this cup with ice and sip on it while you are waiting for the bottle to freeze.
* With the cap removed, squeeze the bottle until the beverage rises to near the bottle opening, then while it is there, put the bottle cap back on tightly enough to make it air-tight.
* Shake the bottle until it has returned to its un-squeezed shape.
* Repeat the squeeze and shake steps two more times.
* With the cap removed, squeeze the bottle one more time, until the beverage rises half way to the bottle opening, then while it is there, put the bottle cap back on loosely enough that squeezing it hard would allow air to escape. Do not shake it!
* Place the bottle upright in your freezer.
* Depending on how cold your freezer is, it might take a while for the bottle to freeze, but you do not want it to freeze too much, or completely! So do not forget about it. Check it once an hour (but do not touch it when you check it) until a noticeable amount of the beverage is frozen. Then check it every ten or fifteen minutes until half to two-thirds of the bottle is frozen.
* Remove the bottle from the freezer and immediately "crack" the ice block, either by whacking the bottle against the corner of a counter or by poking a knife (not a nice one; there's a danger of bending) down onto the ice and whacking it on the butt-end with something heavy.
* Drain the pitch-black liquid substance from the heart of the ice block into a cup, being careful to not let ice chunks fall out of the bottle into your cup. This substance is the Heart of Darkness.
* Throw away the ice-filled bottle; the ice therein is mostly water, with some soda residue in it. It tastes horrible.
* Makes anywhere from 24 to 16 oz of Heart of Darkness. HoD is highly concentrated caffeine and sugar, so sip it carefully, at least at first. You might be surprised at how your body and mind react to it.
Note that if you do let the
soda freeze entirely, you're pretty much screwed. You can't just
set it out and wait for the center to thaw, because the edges (which are
mostly water) will melt first and dilute the mixture. You will have
to wait for the entire bottle to melt entirely, which takes a long time,
and start the freezing process over.
Note that if you don't want
to use an entire 2L bottle to make HoD (or if, like me,
there is never enough room in your freezer to set a 2L bottle upright),
you can also use a plastic cup (not glass -- it will break),
filled about 2/3 of the way (any more than that and you risk it flowing
over or cracking when it freezes), and poke it occasionally with a knife
to see how far the freezing process has gone.