Nothing quenches your thirst better than an ice-cold drink on a hot and humid summer’s day. It’s not exactly the healthiest choice but for some reason, ice-cold soda really hits the spot on days like this.
Something about that sweet, carbonated goodness is just so refreshing. This is probably why soda tops most people’s list of things to bring when they have to be outside, such as on road trips and day outs.
Okay so, you take that cold can of soda out from the fridge, put it in your bag, and head on out to your activity for the day. Of course, unless you bring a cooler with you to keep it chilled (on road trips, bringing one makes sense), that soda will eventually get warm.
It probably won’t be as refreshing as it’s not ice-cold anymore, but of course, you’ll still want to drink it. You made all that extra effort of carrying it around with you this entire time, it would seem like such a waste not to.
The question you might ask is, can you still drink it? Does soda go bad if cold then warm?
Does Soda Go Bad If Cold Then Warm?
Cold soda that gets warm will still be safe to drink, as long as the can or bottle remains unopened. If it happens once or twice, it is unlikely to affect the taste and quality of your soda, however, if the cycle happens over a prolonged period of time, it may adversely affect flavor and texture. Warm soda, though not spoiled, will not taste as good as cold soda, and may even taste flat compared to its chilled counterpart.
What is Soda?
Soda is a sweet, fizzy, carbonated drink made with various flavorings. The base of the drink is usually soda water or water that’s basically injected with carbon dioxide to make it carbonated, and then sweetened and flavored with natural or artificial flavors.
Sweeteners vary depending on the type of soda and added flavors can vary too. Soda is non-alcoholic and “soft drinks” (as opposed to “hard”, alcoholic drinks), fall into this category as well.
How is Soda Made?
Soda is made from basically three ingredients: water, sugar, and flavoring. Where carbonation will figure in the manufacturing process depends on the producer, but they are generally done in one of two ways:
1. Flavoring syrup is added to already carbonated water
A simple syrup is first created from sugar and water and treated for any impurities present. Flavorings are added and if necessary, some type of preservative. We call this a “finished syrup”.
To this syrup, carbonated water (that’s also been treated for any impurities), is added. After this, it is then bottled and sealed.
2. A flavored syrup is added to purified water and then carbonated together
In this process, the finished syrup with all its flavorings and preservatives, if any, is diluted with purified and treated water, cooled, carbonated, and then bottled.
In both processes, strict standards of removing impurities from both the water, the sugar, and the other additive flavorings are adhered to. This ensures that your can or bottle of soda is safe to consume.
What is Soda Fizzy?
Soda is fizzy because of carbonation. Carbonation happens when carbon dioxide is dissolved into plain, sweetened, or flavored water and then packed at very high pressures.
If the can or bottle remains unopened, the carbon dioxide molecules remain dissolved in the liquid and exist in a relatively stable state.
Once that can or is bottle opened, the hissing sound signals that pressure has been released, and the trapped carbon dioxide molecules escape into the air. A can or bottle that has been relatively undisturbed will mostly just produce a hissing sound once opened.
An unopened can of soda does not have bubbles inside the container because the carbon dioxide molecules remain dissolved in liquid as long as this stable environment is maintained.
However, if you introduce more energy into the situation (such as by shaking the bottle or can), you create bubbles and increase the pressure in the can, which makes it easier for the carbon dioxide molecules to “join” with other bubbles and thus explode into a fizzing mess once you finally open the can.
To put it in simple terms, you are giving the trapped carbon dioxide molecules an easier ride out of their prison via the bubbles you created by shaking.
And they are only too happy and too excited to get on that’s why they explode into a bubbling mess. Without the bubbles, they would just calmly escape the container once it is opened.
How to Properly Store Soda
An unopened can or bottle of soda can be safely stored out at room temperature, in the pantry, or in the fridge. As long as it is not subjected to extreme temperature changes, it should be good for a long time.
With that said, soda should not be stored in the freezer. Freezing causes water molecules to expand, which creates pressure in the can or bottle and will cause your soda to eventually explode. Aside from wasting soda, this is also potentially unsafe for all the other food in your freezer.
On the other hand, an opened can or bottle of soda is best stored in the fridge. It will retain its quality for about 2-4 days but note that the longer that it sits, the flatter it will taste as carbon dioxide will just keep escaping. And who wants to drink flat soda?
For me personally, it is best to consume that soda right away for peak quality and freshness.
Does Soda Go Bad if It Is Cold and Then It Gets Warm?
Soda that has been chilled and then allowed to get warm will not be bad in the sense that it will be unsafe to drink. As long your can or bottle of soda remains sealed, it will still be safe to drink. Warm soda though, might not taste as good as chilled soda.
Soda kept at lower temperatures retains more of the dissolved carbon dioxide, as the colder a liquid is, the more gas it can hold. This is why cold soda is fizzier than warm soda, and therefore more refreshing.
But why are carbonated drinks so refreshing? The simple scientific explanation is, that carbon dioxide makes the drink acidic and the sensation that’s brought on our tongues triggers certain nerves that send signals to our brain.
This “shock” is essentially a pain center lighting up. This is similar to when we eat spicy food. A little spice in our food can “spice things up” or make it more interesting and alive, but too much can be literally painful. The same, apparently, goes for carbonated drinks.
So no, your can of soda that’s been chilled and then gets warm will not go bad and will not have a discernible difference in taste and texture in that short period of time. However, if it happens over a prolonged period, these temperature changes might disturb the stable environment inside the can.
Warmer temperatures make it easy for carbon dioxide to escape from the liquid, while colder temperatures hold it more in its dissolved state.
So subjecting your soda can to these temperature changes might cause more carbon dioxide to escape as gas more quickly (as it tends to happen in warmer temperatures), resulting in a less fizzy drink. And as we have seen above, less fizzy is not good.
Is Drinking Soda Healthy?
Soda is not usually considered a healthy food, especially commercially manufactured soda as it contains a lot of sugar and may potentially have unhealthy preservatives and additives.
However, if you find a manufacturer that uses more natural ingredients and better sweeteners, or if you make your soda yourself, it has the potential to be a healthier drink compared to commercially produced ones.
How to Know if My Soda Is Bad
Canned or bottled soda, when properly stored, lasts for a really long time, even past their best-by date. How do you know though if it’s not good to consume them anymore?
1. Loss of Carbonation
If your soda has lost its fizz aka carbonation, it’s probably not good to have anymore as it will taste flat. It probably won’t make you sick to consume it but frankly, what’s the point of having soda without the bubbles?
2. Loss of Flavor and Taste
Over time, soda loses its carbonation and fizziness, and this also affects flavor and taste. If your soda has started to taste off and taste awful, it has gone bad.
This is especially a concern for sodas that use artificial sweeteners, as those tend to chemically break down over time and impart an awful taste to canned drinks. It’s best to toss it if the taste is off.
3. Check Best Before Date
Unopened cans of soda can usually last about 6-9 months past their best before date. If that can you found in your pantry is way past this time period, it’s best to toss it.
Conclusion To Does Soda Go Bad if Cold and Then Warm?
Soda that is cold but then gets warm does not go bad in the sense that it is unsafe to drink. As long as you do not allow it to be put through extreme temperatures, it will still be okay.
Warm soda, though, will not taste as good as cold soda. And if you can hold off for a little bit, it might be better to consume it once you can chill it again or have it over a glass of ice.
Frequently Asked Questions to Does Soda Go Bad If Cold Then Warm?
Why Does My Soda Taste Flat?
Your soda might taste flat if it has been opened for a while, and thus has lost its carbonation. Carbon dioxide is dissolved in liquid at high pressures and as long as the can is unopened, the carbonation will hold. But once it is opened, carbon dioxide will quickly be released, and the longer it sits out, the flatter your soda will become.
Can I Leave An Opened Can or Bottle of Soda At Room Temperature?
An opened can or bottle of soda is best stored in the fridge, covered, to preserve its carbonation and freshness as much as possible, although even this won’t do the job for very long. Soda is best consumed chilled, and best consumed right away upon opening.
Can I Freeze Soda?
It is not a good idea to freeze a can or bottle of soda. Because water molecules expand when frozen, it might cause your can or bottle to explode.
Daniel Iseli (Head Chef)
Hi, my name is Daniel and I am passionate about cooking. I have been cooking for the past 20 years and am happy to share my best recipes and cooking-related knowledge with you.