Sometimes, rules are meant to be broken. At least, that’s the attitude home cooks have taken in regard to home carbonators…and we can’t blame them. Some of the crazy concoctions created in SodaStream machines also sound crazy delicious.
If you’ve never heard of a home carbonator, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a magical machine that can turn tap water or another flat liquid into fizzy, bubbly, carbonated bliss. (It’s not quite a kitchen essential, but it’s a pretty nifty gadget.) Lots of people have them, too: In 2012, Americans bought more than 1.2 million home carbonators.
The company says they should only be used to carbonate water, with flavoring added afterward in the form of syrups or stir-ins. But rebels across the country have decided to take matters into their own hands, often with explosive results: bleeding in the name of bubbly booze or mangling a machine for makeshift margaritas. Here are some of the wildest stories we’ve heard… but be warned: don’t try these at home! (And if you do prepare to be a creative cleaner.)
“I Switched the CO2 Refill with a Paintball Tank!”
SodaStream machines might be a smart investment if you drink a lot of seltzer water, but the pricey carbon dioxide refills are one of the downsides. SodaSherpa.com hacked their machine by replacing the CO2 tank with one you would find at a paintball range. The result? Customers can just drive to a sporting goods store or paintball range to refill instead of ordering an expensive mail-in. This hack costs a little bit up front to modify the machine, but it ends up costing half as much for each refill thereafter. We don’t know if we’d dare to go this far just for cheaper bubbles… but we have to admit, it’s genius.
Virgin Mimosas, Anyone?
Taylor Martin of CNET suggests running some orange juice through the SodaStream for a fresher twist on Fanta. What an easy way to add that mimosa kick to your morning without uncorking the champagne! Described as extra frothy and ultra refreshing, carbonated orange juice is also super easy to make, according to Martin, because the OJ carbonates more easily than water, producing more fizz in less time. His only warning? Be careful of pulp: it can get super messy!
It should come as no surprise that most SodaStream users find themselves wondering what would happen if they added flat alcohols to the machine. After all, most mixed drinks use carbonation to mask the strong taste of liquor. According to Thrillist writer Jeremy Glass, whiskey works the best out of the hard alcohols. It yields a light, good-tasting beverage similar to whiskey mixed with carbonated water (though clearly, it retains the alcohol content of the straight booze). Gin and vodka yield similar results, but heavier alcohols like rum and tequila don’t carbonate as well.
Even more popular than hard liquor? White wine. SodaStream mavericks transform their ordinary bottles of white wine into fizzy, fancy “champagne.” Due to their low viscosity and sugar content, white wines bubble up much better than reds. For the sake of your clean kitchen, make sure you write that one down. (Ever wonder how to clean other tough stains, like grease? Find out here.)
“Forget Bubble Tea… I Made Bubbly Tea!”
While carbonating your coffee yields bitter, unappetizing results, fizzy tea is something else. Chantal Martineau from Food Republic included tea in her guide, How to Go Rogue With Your SodaStream Without Losing an Eye. We’re all for keeping our corneas intact, thank you-but a morning cup with some added bubble sounds intriguing. Martineau’s tip to keeping yourself safe? Avoid sugar and proceed with caution. The easiest way to ruin your machine is to add sugary drinks, so sweetening tea with mint will help it pass through smoothly.
While we have to salute the ingenuity of these maverick carbonators, we’ll stick to the shallow end of the swimming pool. Home-fizzed sparkling water makes a perfectly hydrating sipper, after all. (Here are the most and least hyrdating drinks.)
And of course store-bought soda tastes just as good as homemade in our favorite application: the ice cream float.