Sunday, December 15, 2013

The SodaStream Experiment

the start of the snowstorm
On Friday, there were dire predictions of a big snowstorm, but we were taking it with a grain of salt since so often the TV news likes to whip up a weather frenzy.    I decided it was time to experiment with my new kitchen gadget, the SodaStream Genesis.   The good people of SodaStream sent me one to evaluate last month, and I was curious about them because I couldn't see why they were flying off the shelves at the stores.  Do people really need a soda water maker?  I lived in an old house in Hancock when I was in grad school, and it had a vintage seltzer water bottle in the bar.    In the days before a person could buy club soda in a bottle or can, you'd have to make your own.    Plus, I have always wanted to try my hand at making my own tonic water for vodka and tonics, but have yet to figure out where I can get the cinchona bark to make my own quinine.   But I am getting ahead of myself...

The snowstorm was late - it was supposed to start at 9 pm.  I was nervous to let the teenagers drive to the movies to see the new Hobbit, but since the snow wasn't happening yet, common sense prevailed.   As it happened, my son saw the actual start of the snowstorm when he returned after midnight.   So much for meteorological predictions!   The SodaStream people had sent me tons of syrups to evaluate, and so far, so good.  Their cola tastes surprisingly good, and it's very fizzy.  I decided to make my own syrup for this holiday cocktail (shown above) by using cranberry juice concentrate - the frozen stuff in a can.  It worked out fantastic!

Cranberry Fizz

1 oz. cranberry juice concentrate
1 shot vodka
Club soda (either storebought or home made)
Lime wedge

Add cranberry juice concentrate and vodka to glass, stir.  Add soda and ice, stir.  Garnish with lime wedge.

Making the cocktail this way reduces the calories, and thus the WW points for this cocktail to just 3, which is great for a cocktail. 

So, I had to sit down and "do the math" on whether it's actually worth it to buy a SodaStream.  The cost of my Genesis is around $100.   I thought that I'd have to buy a new SodaStream CO2 cartridge after it was used up (it can make 60 L of soda) but I found out yesterday when I was at Costco it can be refilled at Home Depot for about $5, but SodaStream doesn't recommend that.  Instead, you can exchange it at Target, Home Depot, Kohls, etc. for a recharged cartridge for about $15. 

I prefer to buy my soda in 10 oz. glass bottles, instead of larger plastic bottles.  At my local grocery store, I pay $4.99 for 6 10 oz bottles, but I could make it for over a $1 less with the soda stream, including the cost of the machine.   All in all, the SodaStream is well worth it.  I am looking forward to taking less returnables back to the store, which is a good thing.    The snowstorm actually DID still is happening in fact.  We got a total of 6 inches here....

....and here is the view from the front door....

Glad we are going to have a white Christmas this year!


Anonymous said...

Hi, Cynthia. Looks like we got about the same amount of snow that you did. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the SodaStream Genesis. I wondered if they were really a good investment or not.

Thomas Martin said...

I built carbonation rig for around $100 by finding a used 20lb Co2 tank on craigslist, then a refurbished regulator, and some hose, and fittings, topped off with a carbonator cap that fits any PET bottle. That means, 16oz, 20oz, 1l, 2l, 3l, etc soda bottles available everywhere.

I can keep my soda in a 2l as fizzy as the moment I opened it, or carbonate my own liquid.

Refilling my 20lb tank will cost about $25, and so far I've had this rig for a couple years and haven't emptied the partial fill I bought with the tank. Every 6 years the tank will need to be inspected during a refill. Some shops will just swap you for a current tank, or charge you a few dollars for the inspection.

SodaStream makes insane money off co2. Weigh the empty container, then weigh it again after it's refilled. Keep in mind that co2 is sold by weight, not by pressure. Figure out what 1lb of co2 in a sodastream costs, vs $25 for 20lbs in a standard tank. Of course Sodastream doesn't recommend refilling their tiny tanks. They're getting rich selling tiny tanks!

Building your own rig may not be for everyone, but knowing what you're paying for commodity goods should be known by everyone.