If there is one beverage that people can’t seem to get enough of, that is soda. We can’t really pinpoint why we love the fizzy drink so much, especially when we know it’s loaded with sugar! Maybe it’s the carbonation that we love, or the many different flavors available. Whatever it is, 1 in 3 Americans will drink soda and other sugary drinks each day.
What can you do to get your fix for fuzzy drinks without all that sugar? A soda maker! Now you might think that a soda maker is just some gimmicky think that would be targeted for kids, but it’s actually not. It’s a very adult product that can help you get that little bit of bubbly goodness that you may be looking for.
These little appliances are great for carbonating water if you’re a fan of sparkling water, but it can so give you a chance to experiment with homemade soda syrups and even kick up the wow factor of your favorite cocktails.
In this article, we are going to delve into the world of soda makers, how they work, what you can do with them, and talk about popular Sodastream flavors if you don’t feel like experimenting with making your own.
How Does A Soda Maker Work?
Soda makers work by putting carbon dioxide into water or other liquids to create that fizziness (carbonation) that we all know and love about soda. Now, you may wonder how does carbonation work.
Basically, carbonation is the result of CO2 being forced into the liquid at high pressures—sometimes up to 1,200 pounds per square inch. That hissing sound you hear when you open your bottle is millions of CO2 molecules breaking through the liquid.
If you look at a bottle of soda that is unopened, you’ll notice that it has very little, if any, bubbles in it. This is because the pressure inside that bottle is able to keep the carbon dioxide contained within the liquid. However, once you crack that seal, you’re releasing that pressure and the gas bubbles are allowed to rush to the top of the liquid and break free.
When you shake the bottle of soda prior to opening it, you’re giving the CO2 more energy, and when the seal is broken, those bubbles are going to skyrocket toward the top.
A soda maker will work the same way.
Soda Maker Or Soda Siphon?
When you’re looking at soda makers, you may notice that there are devices that look like something used to make whipped cream, and then there is a machine with a bottle. They are both a sparkling water machine, but they are slightly different/
A soda siphon is a machine that is going to be attached to the top of a water bottle and you can carbonate the water. There is a CO2 cartridge inside the siphon that’ll give your water that CO2 goodness.
There are numerous advantages to using a soda siphon:
- Easy to store
- Easy to use
- Fewer chances of breaking
Unfortunately, they will require more time to carbonate your water, and it will be more tedious if you’re an avid sparkling water drinker. Also with a soda siphon, there is less control over the amount of carbonation is injected into the water.
That means you could be wasting a lot of CO2 and go through the cartridges much quicker than you’re comfortable with, meaning it’ll become quite costly in the long run, even if you do buy the cartridges in bulk.
With the machine, it is an actual appliance that will produce soda. These appliances usually use a carbonator that is filled with CO2. That is put inside the sparkling water maker to create that fizz in the water that is in the bottle that is compatible with the maker.
Some advantages of using a soda maker rather than a siphon include:
- Cost per liter of soda made is less than with a siphon
- Easier and faster to use
- Some have features that allows you to control the amount of carbonation
With that in mind, the soda maker is not going to be as portable as a siphon, so you’re going to be restricted to one place. They are going to take up more space in your kitchen, and they can have issues further down the line. The soda maker is going to be better for those who drink a lot of soda and need a quick and affordable bit of sparkling water when the mood strikes.
How To Make Carbonated Water
If you’re sold on the idea of DIY soda and sparkling water, then a carbonated water maker may be the appliance for you. However, you might be wondering how to make sparkling water with one of these makers. It’s really simple!
- Purchase the water carbonator you like and a couple of soda flavors if you want to make soda.
- Depending on the size of your machine, pour some water into a plastic bottle. Most soda makers come with a bottle that will fit the device. Also, you are going to want to make sure your water is cold because the carbonation works better that way.
- Screw the container into the machine.
- Press the “Carbonate” button that is usually located at the top of your machine. You’re going to press that button several times until the amount of carbonation is at the correct level or to your liking. You are going to want to wait a few seconds before each press of the button.
- Press the release button on the top of the unit to release the seal on the bottle.
- When you unscrew the bottle from the machine, this is going to help create that fizziness of sparkling water.
Now you can drink sparkling water. However, if you want to make soda, continue with these following steps:
- Tilt the bottle to a 15 degree angle and slowly pour some of the soda syrup into the bottle as specified on the packaging.
- Twist the cap onto the bottle and give the bottle a quick shake. If your soda isn’t carbonated enough for your liking, just put the bottle of water back in the machine and press the button a few more times.
If you know early on that you’d rather have soda than sparkling water, you can add the soda mix to the water prior to carbonation so that you don’t have to re-carbonate it.
What Kind Of Flavors Can I Make?
Maybe you aren’t interested in drinking just plain sparkling water and you want some kind of flavor. That’s the beauty of using a soda maker, you can use any kind of flavoring you’d like.
One brand, SodaStream, makes many flavored syrups that will turn your sparkling water into a flavorful beverage. There are nine categories of flavors that are sold:
- Clear Syrups. Clear syrups will give your carbonated water a light flavor. Some of these flavors include green mango apple, clear passion mango, clear cranberry raspberry and clear kiwi pear. If you enjoy sparkling water with a hint of flavor, these are for you.
- Cola Syrups. If you’re a fan of cola but you don’t like all the sugar in the drink, you’ll like the syrup. The syrups are available in regular cola, diet, sugar free, and caffeine free. All of these flavors have less sugar than your favorite brands. With that said, they are going to taste more like an off brand cola, but you’ll get used to it in no time.
- Fruit Syrups. If you love fruity beverages, there are plenty to choose from. Some flavors include classic lemon-lime, orange, and cherry, but they also include other flavors like grapefruit and pomegranate.
- Functional Syrups. These syrups are formulated to rehydrate you and give you more energy so you can complete your workout.
- Sparkling Tea. These syrups are a mix between your favorite tea with a vibrant fruity flavor. Some examples of these include iced tea peach, green tea mixed berry, and green tea pomegranate peach.
- My Water. These are a little like the clear syrups, but the variety pack comes with berry, orange, and lemon-lime flavors. These will give you just a hint of flavor.
- Sparkling Natural Syrup. These syrup flavors are made from 100% natural ingredients, which are a great option for those who are health conscious. Flavors in this category include black currant pear, orange pineapple, and pink grapefruit.
- Kraft Syrups. If you love Kool-Aid, Crystal Light, or Country Time Lemonade, you can turn them into a soda with these flavorings.
- Limited Edition Syrups. As the name would suggest, these flavors are only around for a limited time. Some examples of past flavors include pineapple grapefruit, orange peach passionfruit, and honeydew melon.
Now just because you have a soda maker, that doesn’t mean you’re restricted to using one brand of syrup. You can use a variety of flavors. One of the most cost effective ways of creating your own soda is by using snow cone syrup. There’s a bunch of flavors available and when you buy in bulk, it’s pretty cheap.
You also have the option of finding liquid flavorings (cherry and lemon are the most common) in most grocery stores. While they aren’t going to be as flavorful as the soda syrups, they are still an option.
What if you don’t want to spend money on a syrup and you’d like to experiment making your own? You can! There are several ways you can create your own flavors depending on what flavor you want and how much time you have—heck, sometimes you can just use real fruit juice like fresh squeezed citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits.
Best SodaStream Flavors
What are you to do when you’re tired of drinking the same old cola flavors, it’s understandable that you may want to branch out and try new things. But, with so many syrup options available, where do you even start?
Here is a list of the top SodaStream flavors that you may want to consider trying.
- Pink Grapefruit. This flavor is like a mimosa without the champagne. It’s a light pink grapefruit flavor that is perfect for any time of the day.
- Energy. If you like Red Bull, you’re going to enjoy the flavor of this syrup—just be prepared for a bit more… Snap.
- Diet Dr. Pete. This flavor is going to be a lot like Dr. Pepper. Some people feel that this is too bitter, but they just add a bit of sugar and it’s right up their alley.
- Tonic. If you don’t want to open a new bottle of tonic for a cocktail, you can make your own with this handy syrup.
- Gourmet Lime Basil. Sometimes we all need something fun and exotic to sip on. With this syrup, you can sit back and imagine you’re on a tropical island, especially if you add a splash of rum.
- Orange Mango. While orange is a staple flavor, orange mango is a tropical twist to a classic.
- Skinny Girl Mango Berry. This syrup is naturally flavored and is lightly sweetened with natural sugar, making it a healthy option if you want to have more than one glass.
- Welch’s Concord Grape. Take everything you love about Welch’s Concord Grape juice and put it in a soda form. That’s what you get with this syrup.
What Else Can I Carbonate Beside Water?
Many people are under the impression that they can only carbonate water when they use the soda maker. That isn’t the case at all! In fact, you can carbonate many different liquids. It may take a bit longer to get the same amount of carbonation, but mark our words, it is possible!
Here are some great options you can play around with.
Fruit juices will carbonate much easier than water. However, if you want to carbonate orange juice, there are two things you’ll want to keep in mind:
- The more pulp there is in your OJ, the more difficult and messy it will be to carbonate it
- OJ is going to carbonate easier than water and it’ll create more fizz
When you’re taking the freshly carbonated orange juice from your soda maker, there is going to be quite a bit of built up pressure, so take it slow and be extremely careful when you release the pressure. If you take it off too quickly, you’re going to be showed in orange juice.
Coffee may sound a little strange, but back in the 1990s, Pepsi came out with Pepsi Kona, which was a coffee flavored cola. Also, you can also find coffee flavored beverages in stores all over. However, none of the stuff that you buy in the stores is actually pure carbonated coffee—it’s just a carbonated drink with coffee added to it.
To make your own carbonated coffee, add some cold coffee (fill it about half way) to the bottle of the machine. Slowly start carbonating the coffee with the soda maker. Once the coffee is carbonated to your liking, you are going to want to slowly remove the bottle from the machine. It’s going to be quite fizzy so be slow.
Now, some people are fans of carbonated coffee and some aren’t. The carbonation is going to change the pH level, which is going to alter the flavor a bit. While the first few sips are going to be a unique experience, once the carbonation begins to subside, the overall flavor will start to sour.
Tea is quite good when it’s carbonated and it isn’t going to be as fizzy as coffee or juice. You’re going to carbonate the tea just like the other liquids. Fill the bottle about half way with tea and go about carbonating. The nice thing about tea is that you can add some kind of sweetener like honey or agave nectar. You can also add other flavoring like lemon juice too for a little extra something.
A fun way to make your cocktails a little extra special is by carbonating them. It gives you a unique mouth feel that you don’t normally get with hard liquor.
To make a carbonated cocktail, you will want to make the drink like you would normally. Shake it and chill it with a bit of ice. Strain the drink into the soda maker bottle and then slowly carbonate it.
We do want to point out that some liquors are going to carbonate different than others, so you may have to experiment with the amount of carbonation you add, and also how fizzy they become once you remove it from the maker. A good rule of thumb is to always expect a lot of pressure when you’re removing it from the maker.
If you do want to make a carbonated cocktail, here’s how you can expect the liquor can carbonate:
- Gin – Gin will carbonate pretty easily, but the flavor isn’t anything to write home about. This is one liquor where you are going to want to drink it as a cocktail than straight.
- Rum – This doesn’t carbonate well at all. The flavor is going to be dull and too heavy to hold the carbonation.
- Tequila – This is another one that isn’t going to carbonate well.
- Whiskey – When whiskey is carbonated, it is light and refreshing. So yes, this is a great liquor to carbonate.
- Vodka – Vodka carbonates pretty well, especially if you carbonate it lightly. It’ll be easier on the palate.
If you’re a wine lover, you can turn your favorite wine into a sparkling wine. It’s just going to take a little bit of trial and error, and patience. White wine is going to work better than red wine because it isn’t as viscous and it has a lower sugar content. If you have a fizz overflow, it’ll be much cleaner too!
If you want to experiment with unique beverages to turn into soda, we say go for it. Some things are going to carbonate more than other, and some are going to become fizzier quicker than others. If you’re going to experiment, you’re going to want to be careful and be prepared to wear whatever your carbonating!
Soda Maker Wrap Up
When it comes to keeping hydrated, soda just isn’t going to be the best option. If anything, your mother was right about one thing: It’s loaded with sugar, empty calories, and it’ll rot your teeth. However, if you have to have your soda fix, you can still get it by carbonating water and adding flavoring to it.
A soda maker can be that perfect small appliance for those who love the carbonation from soda but they don’t want to negative impact soda can have on your health. Not only can a soda maker be a healthier option, it can open you up to a whole new world of flavors!
Half of the syrup flavors that are available today are not available in your typical soda form. If they are, they are going to be pretty expensive and only available in multi-packs. With the soda syrups, you can try new things.
Then again, if you don’t want to go with a pre-made syrup, you can make your own or carbonate other liquids! For those who love carbonated beverages, the soda maker, or a soda siphon (whichever you prefer) can be exactly what you’re looking for! FFor that reason we have compiled a detailed buying guide, so go and check it out and find the right soda maker for you!