I love sparkling water, and I was accustomed to buying a bottle or two (or three) from the office vending machine and enjoying a glass of San Pellegrino at home in the evening. But once I started working from home I had to face the terrible side effects of my addiction: high grocery bills, heavy shopping bags, and a recycling bin filled to overflowing with large glass or plastic bottles.
That last bit, especially, started to weigh on me. How much energy went into making that bottle? What's the carbon footprint of a case of water that's been transported from Italy all the way to the California? I'm guessing it's big.
So I added a seltzer bottle to my list of gift suggestions during the holidays, and my mother happily sent me a silver Kayser Soda Siphon plus a case of soda chargers. The whole thing arrived in a box big enough for only two traditional bottles of sparkling water, and yet it's been feeding my fizzy water addiction for weeks.
It took me a few tries to get the hang of carbonating my own water, something that could have been prevented had better instructions shipped with the bottle, but overall the process is easy. Just fill the bottle with refrigerator-cold water--room temperature water doesn't fizz as well or taste as good--and firmly attach the top. Then screw the gas canister into place, listening for the sound of bubbling. Give the bottle a shake, remove the gas canister, and enjoy your freshly sparkled water.
Each gas cartridge fizzes one quart of water, which may not seem like much but is a little bit more than you get in the standard (750ml) bottle of San Pellegrino. Financially, it's a win: priced between 50 cents and 70 cents per cartridge, the gas canisters cost a bit less, per milliliter, than the least expensive sparkling water at my local discount store. (The savings is greater when compared with imported water, such as San Pellegrino or Perrier.) And after the gas cartridge is spent I am left only with a recyclable chunk of metal about the size of two AA batteries.
But what of the taste? It depends on the water you start with, and I will confess to purchasing a large filter pitcher to keep in my refrigerator because the chilled tap water tasted a bit off. But I was pleasantly surprised by the small carbonation bubbles of the Soda Siphon, which fall somewhere between Badoit and San Pellegrino; they're more subtle than the giant bubbles found in the lower-cost waters I'd grown accustomed to drinking. I'm also pleased that the seltzer bottle's tightly fitted top holds carbonation better than any screw cap.
Overall, I'm thrilled to be relieved of weight both literal (oh, the many bottles I regularly schlepped up the stairs to my apartment) and figurative (the guilt of such wasteful consumption). And I love feeling like Lauren Bacall as I offer guests an old-fashioned scotch and soda.