Tonic Water

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tomandlu
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Tonic Water

Postby tomandlu » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:09 pm UTC

Should I keep an open tonic in the fridge or at room temperature? Instinct and my fumbling science says the former, but my taste buds say the latter (and doesn't warm water, all else being equal, carry less oxygen usually?)

Still, there's that weird thing with warm things freezing colder than cold things (or has that been debunked?), so I guess anything's possible.
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby gmalivuk » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:18 pm UTC

Are you talking about tonic water or unflavored carbonated water?

Not that the answer to your question would be different, but from the title I was expecting to see something about quinine in the post.
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby cphite » Mon Feb 22, 2016 6:22 pm UTC

tomandlu wrote:Should I keep an open tonic in the fridge or at room temperature? Instinct and my fumbling science says the former, but my taste buds say the latter (and doesn't warm water, all else being equal, carry less oxygen usually?)

Still, there's that weird thing with warm things freezing colder than cold things (or has that been debunked?), so I guess anything's possible.


Scientifically I have no idea.

Practically, if you think it tastes better when left at room temperature, leave it at room temperature. The whole point (I am assuming here) is to drink the tonic water and to enjoy doing so... if doing it that way makes it taste better to you, then there's your answer.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby p1t1o » Tue Feb 23, 2016 9:13 am UTC

Coincidentally I was just reading about the "hot water freezes faster" thing. It is a real phenomenon, but its just not as a-may-zing as is generally thought - basically there are *some* circumstances of container size, geometry, water temperature, enviroment temperature (humidity, water hardness etc...) when hot water might start forming ice or frost faster, but it is by no means a hard-and-fast rule.

If you want carbonated drinks of any kind to stay fizzy, colder is better - gases are more soluble at lower temperatures, generally. Also, colder tastes better/is more refreshing :)

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby jewish_scientist » Tue Feb 23, 2016 5:17 pm UTC

It is called the Mpemba effect. I really like it for 4 reasons.

1: It has a nice story behind it.
2: It reminds us not to dismiss amateurs.
3: It reminds us not to dismiss counter-intuitive claims.
4: It reminds us that some of the greatest unsolved problems are also the simplest.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Soupspoon » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:26 pm UTC

Minor necro?

jewish_scientist wrote:It is called the Mpemba effect. I really like it for 4 reasons.

1: It has a nice story behind it.
2: It reminds us not to dismiss amateurs.
3: It reminds us not to dismiss counter-intuitive claims.
4: It reminds us that some of the greatest unsolved problems are also the simplest.


Nothing about the Evaporation explanation, as given in that article, seems to stray anywhere into the fact that evaporated vapour takes away energy from the remaining liquid body of water (as well as the mass, which is mentioned) and, together with the 'hot top' effect from the Convection explanation, thus might well depress the net energy more quickly than with a more stable 'cold' water sample that is otherwise identical. (See Evaporative Cooling, for an extreme/artificial example of depleting a sample of its hottest bits.)

Certainly I'd consider that in an open system, or one in which both samples share the air, as heat transfer from the vapour produced from the hot liquid pot would more slow the cooling effect in the lower-temperature pot than it would the hot one. In enclosed and isolated systems, you'd have to fall back upon liquid+much vapour having a higher effective surface area than liquid+minimal vapour.

But none of what I've said so far directly explains how a faster cooling from a higher temperature can overtake the slower cooling of a nearer-to-freezing sample that is otherwise identical, so I'd also add in the other effects given (especially the 'hot top' part, and difference in the initial gases-in-solution conditions2) as significant in assisting the 'momentum'1 of the energy loss that eventually leads towards freezing, or just moves the goalposts.


What would be interesting is to somehow look at the point(s) where previously-hot-water and previously-cool-water samples reach the point at which the lower-temperature layers/eddies punch past the 3.98°C point at which the trend in density reverses, thus now starting to trend back upwards in the water-column (the ascending-because-cooling liquid exhibiting lower temperatures fighting against the descending-because-cooling liquid exhibiting the still higher temperatures). Perhaps (as with the Convection explanation) the already more vigorously moving liquid can re-stratify more easily than the cooler, which initially is too stable to break through the 'inversion layer' stage, meaning that the notoriously low heat-conduction ability of water slows things. Continuous liquid stirring (or even pumping from top to bottom or bottom to top) should be employed, perhaps, to rule out/quantify these effects.

(But does all of that necessarily apply to Mpemba's original observation with milk? That's a more complex 'liquid' than water, even ignoring the added sugar.)

But that's probably all addressed merely a link or two away from the above article... I'd be very surprised if these points weren't all fully addressed somewhere.


1 NB: not actual momentum. Figurative.
2 Pre-boiled water, some of which is then pre-cooled as the 'cold water start' (but capped whilst left to stand too long before being matched against the 'maintained hot', so as not to naturally reabsorb too much gas again) would be the obvious way to go here.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Minerva » Tue Jun 07, 2016 11:57 pm UTC

As well as the direct effect of temperature on taste, or beverage "experience" overall, the temperature is also likely to affect the rate of CO2 loss from a carbonated beverage, and the "going flat" of the beverage is presumably one of the biggest factors that diminishes the taste.
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby SAI Peregrinus » Wed Jul 20, 2016 2:29 am UTC

The best way to decrease CO2 loss is to increase the partial pressure of the CO2 in the atmosphere the carbonated beverage is in. Pouring it into a smaller container and securely sealing the top on is an easy way to do this. Squeezing the (plastic) bottle so that there's a much smaller air space before putting the lid on also helps, though only if a small proportion of the contents have been used.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:49 am UTC

SAI Peregrinus wrote:The best way to decrease CO2 loss is to increase the partial pressure of the CO2 in the atmosphere the carbonated beverage is in. Pouring it into a smaller container and securely sealing the top on is an easy way to do this. Squeezing the (plastic) bottle so that there's a much smaller air space before putting the lid on also helps, though only if a small proportion of the contents have been used.


I suspect that might be counter-productive. It looks good in theory, and would work if the squeezed container became rigid. However, it seems likely that the squeezed container will want to revert to its original shape, which I think would lower the air-pressure inside the container, thus encouraging CO2 loss.

Going back to the original question, I did wonder if colder tonic encouraged larger, fewer bubbles of CO2, which might possibly be perceived as less fizzy. Still, very hard to test objectively, given that you have to somehow ignore the difference the temperature makes to the drinking experience.

Anyway, I'm trying to cut down on my alcohol intake, so I've switched to a light beer at 18:00, away from a G&T*, so it's all a bit moot.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Angua » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:01 am UTC

Just jumping in with the fact that you can only taste bubbles if your body can turn the CO2 into acid. You don't actually taste the bubbles!
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:05 am UTC

Angua wrote:Just jumping in with the fact that you can only taste bubbles if your body can turn the CO2 into acid. You don't actually taste the bubbles!
Some medications have this as a side-effect.


Ah! Which might imply that warmer tonic does taste more fizzy, since smaller bubbles = greater surface area for reaction?
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Angua » Wed Sep 07, 2016 11:12 am UTC

tomandlu wrote:
Angua wrote:Just jumping in with the fact that you can only taste bubbles if your body can turn the CO2 into acid. You don't actually taste the bubbles!
Some medications have this as a side-effect.


Ah! Which might imply that warmer tonic does taste more fizzy, since smaller bubbles = greater surface area for reaction?

Thinking about it, it is a reversible reaction, and I don't know if the 'taste' of bubbles isn't the other way around which means you turn the acid into the bubbles which you then 'taste'.

I guess if the acid is more dissolved in the warmer water that would work too.

Basically, I know these facts for sure, there is an enzyme who's function is to change CO2 to carbonic acid and vice versa. Without a functioning enzyme, drinks taste flat.

There's probably something out there exploring the implications for taste further, but currently am getting a bit papered out to look for it :P
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby tomandlu » Wed Sep 07, 2016 12:33 pm UTC

Angua wrote:<snip>


For topic/username synergy, you should drop the 'n'.
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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Eebster the Great » Wed Sep 07, 2016 10:13 pm UTC

Well, basically everything tastes stronger when warm, so I would expect carbonic acid to follow that pattern whether or not it is actually produced in greater quantities in warm tonic water.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby nash1429 » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:14 pm UTC

The solubility of CO2 in water is higher at higher temperatures. This means that CO2 leaves your beverage faster when it is colder, making it bubblier.

However, that does not necessarily mean that storing your tonic water at room temperature will slow the loss of CO2 because you would also have a higher partial pressure of CO2, which is correlated to evaporation rate. I might mess around with some kinetics calculations if I can find the time, this is actually a fairly interesting problem.

(I sometimes do something similar at work: calculating vapor emission rates from chemical tanks. It's fairly complicated, and thermodynamics won't help you no matter how much you want it to. I think the tonic water calculation might be easier because there is a lot more data in the literature for CO2 and H2O than for whatever exotic hydrocarbons I might be dealing with.)

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby Soupspoon » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:32 pm UTC

nash1429 wrote:The solubility of CO2 in water is higher at higher temperatures.

Is it? I always thought it was lower (for gases in solution, higher for solids)...

Maybe I'm thinking of something else, though...

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby pogrmman » Tue Sep 13, 2016 12:07 am UTC

The solubility of CO2 (and most other gases) decreases with temperature.

See this.

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Re: Tonic Water

Postby nash1429 » Tue Sep 13, 2016 1:00 am UTC

pogrmman wrote:The solubility of CO2 (and most other gases) decreases with temperature.

See this.


Yep, I'm an idiot. My gen chem prof once said something about carbonated beverages to the effect that colder=bubblier which I am probably misremembering and which I never really thought critically about. (Interesting how the brain works: if this had been a discussion about the evaporation of BTEX from crude oil, I would not have made the same mistake.)

To be charitable to my old prof, she was probably saying that colder beverages would have a higher saturation point, and so have more CO2. I'm not sure if that translates to more bubbliness, though.


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