It’s right there in the FAQs on the SodaStream website: “Can I carbonate drinks other than water?” The answer doesn’t pull any punches: “No. Only water should be carbonated in the SodaStream home soda maker. You risk damaging your soda maker, not to mention making a big fizzy mess! The money-back guarantee and the warranty are both invalidated if you carbonate any liquid other than water in your soda maker.”
What a conundrum. I LOVE my SodaStream and don’t want to do anything to hurt it. Or myself. But I also have an intense hankering for a fizzy margarita. What to do? First, a little research.
It comes as no surprise that I’m not the first person to fantasize about carbonating booze or something other than water with the SodaStream. In fact, Heston Blumenthal demonstrated last year on his British TV show Heston’s ’80s Feast just how to trick a gaggle of bankers into thinking they’re drinking pricey Champagne by using a SodaStream to carbonate cheap, plonky wine. Of course, he used the old model from the 1980s, not the new sleek one that comes with the stern warning.
Apparently, it’s true that carbonating something other than water can lead to your SodaStream blowing its top. But then, there have also been reports of faulty SodaStreams exploding with just water in the bottle – to painful, though not fatal, results. So, after carefully weighing all these facts and warnings (and waiting until my better half, who loves the SodaStream as dearly as I do, is out of the house), I tentatively mix together a pitcher of spiked lemonade. (Baby steps. Hard lemonade first. Margaritas once I get through this with all my body parts.) I proceed to pour the mixture into the special plastic bottles into which boozy lemonade should never go, and screw it into the device. And pray.
I did not press down on the button the way I do for making seltzer: with gusto and mouthwatering anticipation. I pressed it lightly and gradually, waiting for the ominous buzz. After the first, I gasped. No explosion occurred. I went for a second buzz. Still in possession of all my digits. But this time, the bottle bubbled over, spilling sticky citrus all over the counter. No matter – this has happened with water on occasion. Still, I didn’t tempt a third. Perhaps I deprived myself of a perfectly scintillating sipper. I’m OK with my decision. What I did get was a bright, effervescent and boozy cocktail. It was lovely.
I still have yet to use my my SodaStream to make a fizzy margarita. But I have made a bubbly iced green tea. (I’ve heard from other people who have experimented with rogue SodaStream carbonating that the sugarier the drink, the more likely it is to explode; my iced tea was infused with mint, but unsweetened.) So, while the possibilities may not be endless, they are opening.
My advice to you should you plan to go rogue with your seltzer maker is to proceed with caution. I have heard tales of messy explosions and bloody injuries. But I’ve also heard tell of believable, tasty fake champagne. And I’ve sipped refreshing, sparkling drinks of my own. So, if you want to tread the path of rogue carbonation, you should tread cautiously. I guess the question is: are you feeling lucky?
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