What would be the english equivalent of bubbly and refreshing to describe something like a soft drink? What other words could be used to describe aspects of a soft drink, like the fizz and pop?
Not sure how literal you are trying to be, but if you want to say that this is a sparkling drink as opposed to a flat drink, 有气 or 有气泡 is what I've heard.
On the other hand, foods and drinks can be described as 爽快 (Shuǎngkuài), meaning refreshing, puts you in good spirits, etc. 爽 can also be used to describe a good feeling or state, i.e. 我感觉很爽 after a good meal or experience.
To say soft drink is refreshing, there are some common words like
- 提神 (spirit-lifting)
- 醒脑 (mind-awakening)
- 消除疲劳 (fatigue-removal)
喝点柠檬茶提提神吧。How about some lemon tea? It's refreshing.
碳酸饮料的醒脑效果来自咖啡因。Sodas are refreshing because they contain caffeine.
Some other words that also mean refreshing but have a strong implication on the taste:
- 清新 (fresh and pure) this word implies a 'fresh' flavor like lemon or mint.
- 清凉 (fresh and cool) this word implies the drink is cold and has 'fresh' flavor.
These words are best suitable for drinks like: lemon water, ice tea, cold beer;
Not best fit but okay to use for drinks like: Coke or stout;
Not suitable for drinks like coffee or Gatorade. (Unlike 提神 and 醒脑, which are totally suitable for describing coffee.)
To say a drink is sparkling, people say
- 饮料有气(泡) (the drink contains air bubbles)
- 苏打饮料 (soda drink)
- 碳酸饮料 (carbonic acid drink).
碳酸饮料 is a common term in Chinese, not 'nerdy chemist language'.
To describe the popping or fizz sound, there are some onomatopoeia words like
- 砰/嘭 (loud pop)
- 噼/啪 (mild pop/crack noise)
- 嘶 (hiss/fizz)
可乐的气泡噼噼啪啪作响。The bubbles in the coke are making cracking noise.
他拧开瓶盖，汽水发出嘶嘶的声音。He opened the bottle and the soda started to fizz.
In spoken language, you can use any imitative voice, not limited to those have onomatopoeia characters.
Normally I'd look on a list of Chinese onomatopoeias, but soft drink sounds aren't listed.
The second option is to look at dictionaries for Chinese translations of English onomatopoeias, which leads to adequate answers (for example you can search Google for "XXX in Chinese"):
fizz = 嘶, 嘶嘶
"Pop" is problematic though; first it also means "popular music", and second the translation is 砰, which is more of a loud pop, bordering on a bang - the sound a balloon popping would make. In this case I'd avoid looking for a Chinese pop, as you can't really hear popping sounds from soft drinks anyway - fizz is adequate.