SodaStream machines are popular for a reason. Not only do they cut down on costs of buying sodas or carbonated water from the grocery store, they can also be a lot of fun if you're willing to break the rules.
SodaStreams come with a warning that they should be used explicitly for adding some bubbly to your water. However, it's long been known that, with a bit of patience, you can carbonate practically any liquid.
There are many SodaStream models and in some cases, you might have built your own beverage carbonation rig -- because of this, your mileage may vary. Consider these ideas guidelines, not rigid recipes.
One of the first things I tried to carbonate at home is orange juice. There are two things to know about adding bubbles to your OJ:
- More pulp in the orange juice will make carbonating more difficult and much more messy.
- Orange juice carbonates more easily than water, which produces more fizz.
When removing the carbonated orange juice from the machine, expect quite a bit of pressure. You'll want to take it slow and release the pressure as carefully as possible. If you don't, you will be in for quite a mess.
Carbonated orange juice isn't something I would drink every morning, but it's definitely worth trying for the experience. It's just like a more frothy orange juice than what you're used to, with a hint of throat burn from the carbonation.
Carbonated coffee sounds weird, but it has actually existed both in the early 2000s as Coca-Cola Blāk, the a coffee-flavored Coke. You can also find Coffee Soda at World Market, and people have been adding espresso or coffee to various types of soda for years.
None of that, however, is pure carbonated coffee. It's coffee added to pre-carbonated drinks.
To try your own carbonated coffee, fill the SodaStream bottle roughly halfway with cold brew coffee or hot brewed coffee that has been chilled. If the coffee isn't cold, it won't carbonate well.
Slowly begin carbonating with the SodaStream, and once fully carbonated, remove the bottle from the machine. Like the orange juice, it will be very bubbly (far more so than filtered water), so take it slow.
I should note that while I love coffee, I don't love it carbonated. The pH level after carbonation changes the flavor quite a bit. The first few sips are always interesting, but as the carbon dioxide is released from the coffee, the flavor begins to turn sour.
Tea is actually quite enjoyable when carbonated and doesn't fizz nearly as much as coffee or orange juice.
Once again, fill the SodaStream bottle a little over halfway with chilled tea (the colder, the better), and slowly charge the tea. Once done, slowly remove the bottle from the machine.
You may want to add some flavoring or sweetener to the tea after you've carbonated it, but it usually tastes great as-is. It gives it a desirable texture plain iced tea is typically missing.
You can also add some carbonation to your favorite cocktails. My personal favorite is a fizzy whiskey sour.
Make the cocktail as you normally would and shake it with ice to chill it further. Strain the cocktail into the SodaStream bottle and slowly charge it. Some liquors carbonate differently from others, so you will have to experiment with how much they should be carbonated and how volatile whey will be when removing them from the SodaStream.
As a general rule of thumb, it's smart to expect a lot of pressure and messy fizz when removing anything but carbonated water. The whiskey sour creates a lot of fizz, but definitely adds an interesting twist on an age old (and admittedly boring) cocktail.
If you want to make sparkling wine with your SodaStream, you're in luck. Julie at SodaSherpa explains that while others have failed, sparkling wine -- or DIY champagne -- is possible. It just takes a little trial and error and some know-how.
Julie explains that white wine works better than red, due to a lower viscosity and lower sugar content. (Not to mention, it's much easier to clean up if you have a fizzy blowout.) She also says the model of SodaStream matters. "You're better off with a model that uses plastic bottles instead of glass. It's also a good idea to use a model that allows you to customize the carbonation level. That way you can work up to the optimal amount of carbonation," says Julie.
She also recommends trying it in the bathtub (or outside, if possible) the first time and taking your time. And it's best to clean the machine right away after carbonating anything other than water.
If you want to carbonate plain liquors, some of them work better than others. To get the definitive answer, Jeremy Glass of Thrillist put five different kinds of liquor to the test.
Here's what Glass found:
- Gin carbonates easily, but falls flat on taste. Glass suggests mixing this one in a cocktail instead of drinking it straight.
- Rum, on the other hand, doesn't carbonate well. It tastes dull and is too heavy to hold the carbonation well.
- Tequila doesn't carbonate well either.
- Whiskey carbonated the best out of all the liquors tested. Glass called it "refreshing, light and tasty."
- Vodka seems to carbonate well. "I concocted a lightly-carbonated beverage that was as simple to make as it was easy on the palate," says Glass.
Go crazy and ... be safe
Theoretically, you can carbonate just about any liquid. Just keep in mind that some things do carbonate better than others, and some will fizz faster than you can screw the bottle back into the SodaStream.
If you plan on experimenting, prepare to get sprayed by your SodaStream at least a few times, and expect to clean up a huge mess if everything goes south.
It's also wise to clean out the SodaStream, as some liquids that you carbonate can leave behind a stinky, gunky residue if left unattended for hours or days after carbonating.