Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Judging by some of the popular press, the go-to gift this Christmas was a SodaStream, a device that lets you carbonate water to make your own soda pop and "fizzy" drinks.  I put one on my wish list, and Santa complied.  I'm happy to say, I think it has found a home in our sustainable lifestyle!

The device is easy to use.  You fill a BPA-free plastic bottle with cold water and screw it onto the front, then depress a button to deliver carbon dioxide into the water.  The only part you replace regularly is the CO2 canister, and you are supposed to be able to exchange an empty for a discount on a full one.  (I have yet to try this, but we have a local store that participates.)  The water can be as fizzy as you like, and I've achieved a satisfying level of carbonation.

The SodaStream is designed to work with custom flavors, which I don't really care for.  The SodaStream flavorings include sucralose, which I choose not to consume.  However, I have achieved a lot of success with making carbonated fruit juice (at a 50/50 ratio of juice to carbonated water) and with using my own soda mix.

Soda Mix
1 c. water
1 c. sugar
1 T. Homebrew Soda Pop Mix

Heat the sugar and water to make simple syrup, then add the flavoring and mix well.  Store in the fridge until you want a glass of soda pop.  You will use a tablespoon or two of this mix to 12 oz. of carbonated water, depending on your desired sweetness.

Mixing your own soda pop this way allows you to control your flavor and sugar content, which we find nice. We are big fans of a soda brand called "GUS," which stands for "Grown Up Soda."  GUS is a bit less sweet and more "dry" than conventional soda pop, and therefore it has fewer calories.  With a little experimentation, we have learned how much of the homemade soda mix above we need to put in our glass in order to achieve just the flavor we want.  We find we have more success if we mix each glass individually rather than trying to mix a half a gallon of soda pop in a Mason jar and store it in the fridge.

Obviously, the SodaStream brings a lot of advantages.  Overall, it should be cheaper to enjoy soda pop and, especially, sparkling fruit juice.  There is no cross-country transportation of vast quantities of water in bottles, so less waste, less transportation cost, and less environmental impact.  Best of all, you have the control you want over your sparkling beverages.

The Analysis

Fast:  The whole process takes a bit more time than popping open a can, but it becomes second nature to carbonate the water and be ready to mix whenever you want a beverage.

Cheap:  There will likely be a bit of savings in the soda pop, but the real savings is going to come with the sparkling fruit juice, which is very expensive at Trader Joe's.

Good:  The fad of the year is a success in this house!
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