Review | SodaStream Fizz

Our SodaStream Fizz fits right into our home bar setup.

Our SodaStream Fizz fits right into our home bar setup.

I’m not much of a soda drinker (even before going Low-FODMAP removed all high fructose corn syrup from my diet), but Todd’s daily Coke Zero habit would rival any coffee drinker’s. It’s his caffeine of choice and while I would prefer he not drink so much of it, he’s a grown man and it’s his one vice.

At around $6 per case, that’s about a quarter per can and, at his usual rate of 4 cans a day, $1 per day. At least it’s cheaper than a Starbucks addiction, right?

Still, I’d hear about the SodaStream year before last but I wasn’t sure if he’d really use it. Just before Christmas, though, I decided it was worth the gamble and settled on the SodaStream Fizz in black for part of his present this year. Of course I got him a bottle of their Cola Zero syrup, too, just to see how he liked it.

Putting aside the initial investment of the machine, bottles, and a second CO2 tank as a back-up, here’s the way his daily consumption breaks down:

At $4.96 per bottle, each bottle makes 12 liters ($0.41/Liter), and Todd makes 2 a day, so $0.83 a day. The CO2 containers cost 29.99 new, but if you take them to a store that exchanges the used canister, you only pay the difference, about $16.02 at our local Wal-Mart.  Each canister (of the size we buy–they come in different capacities) makes 60L, so $0.27 per fizz and we’re still up to only $1.36 per day. Of course, how many liters you really get out of a canister depends on how fizzy you want your soda. The Fizz has a level indicator that not only tells you when it’s time to change the CO2, but how fizzy you’ve just made your drink: light, medium, and heavy.

Our Fizz with my fresh bottle of Tonic Water

Our Fizz with my fresh bottle of Tonic Water

I think Todd likes his extra-fizzy, so we’re not really saving anything after all.

Where we do save is storage, clutter, and recycling. We have 3 of the 1L bottles that are good for about 3 years, and Todd takes 2 of them to work each day. The third gets used when I want to make something or if he wants some rootbeer or other flavors on the spare evening we’re not drinking water. They take up no more room in the fridge than our water bottles we refill and chill on a regular basis, but we only put out about half the recycling any more. That’s kind of nice in the grand scheme of things.

Other things we like about SodaStream is that there’s no cord to plug it into the wall so it can go anywhere, and there really are plenty of flavor options available–and none of them contain the dreaded high-fructose corn syrup, which means I can have a soda whenever I feel the urge. That’s a nice change of pace.

What I don’t like about the SodaStream is that the syrups do use a bunch of other sugar substitutes that I’m not sure are all that better, nutritionally speaking, than HFCS, but at least they don’t trigger an IBS episode. I’m a smart girl, though, and I figured I might be able to make my own syrups with regular ingredients and sugar–after all, that’s what they used to do at the old fashioned soda fountains, right? And I’ve got a copy of Fix the Pumps with plenty of recipes inside.

Turns out, though, I didn’t quite have to go that far: SodaStream must have been hearing a lot of the above because I’ve noticed they’ve come out with a “sparkling natural” line in limited flavors that does use regular ol’ sugar and other recognizable ingredients. Now I can have ginger ale again with very little hassle! The downside (and this is SUCH a good example of why the food industry uses sugar substitutes and how it is NOT cheaper to eat healthier) is that the bottles of Sparkling Natural hold 25.4 fl oz (compared to the 16.9 fl oz of the other syrups), cost twice as much, but only make half as many liters of soda. This is, quite literally, the price we pay for real food, even in soda form.

The syrup display at our local Wal-Mart.

The syrup display at our local Wal-Mart.

But the ginger ale is tasty, and I plan to pick up some of their Orange Pineapple Sparkling Natural syrup since the sample flavor pack that came with the Fizz included the most awesome Orange soda we’ve tasted. I’ve also tried out there Tonic mix and while I’m not crazy about the sugar-substitute aftertaste, I plan to pick up some .5L bottles for those times when I need a bit of fizz for a cocktail but don’t want to waste (or drink) an entire liter before it goes flat.

Even if Todd opts to go back to canned soda (of course, the way prices keep going up, that may not prove a savings for much longer), the convenience factor and just the fun of the variety make me not regret this purchase at all. And, hey, if you just like your water fizzy instead of still, this is a great way to get it and they even have a pretty glass carafe for just this sort of thing.


I received no free product in exchange for this review, I’m just a happy customer/gift-giver. The links in this post, though, they’re all Amazon affiliate links. If you should choose to purchase anything by clicking on one of those links or anything else having followed the link and clicked around a bit, I’ll earn a small referral fee (I think it’s around 4%) that will go towards my monthly hosting fees.

You Spin Me Right, Round & Upside Down


Right Side Up Martini
The same restaurant that served Todd that fabulous Lemon Drop Martini had another item on the menu that I wished I’d ordered instead of the all-alcohol pomegranate martini I nursed for the night. But we didn’t order it, so I have no idea what it tastes like, but it sounded so good I jotted down the description with a plan to try it out back home.

Of course, that was three years ago and I’ve yet to experiment with this cocktail: until now.

First, it had vanilla vodka–something we’d only recently encountered at the time and our favorite form of the otherwise flavorless spirit now. Butterscotch schnapps and pineapple juice rounded out the main ingredients, with a splash of cola to finish it off.

Here’s how we put it together:

The Right Side Up

2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 1/4 oz Vanilla Vodka
1/2 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
1/4 oz Cola

Combine all ingredients in a shaker over ice and turn it right round like a record, baby. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass and garnish with a bruléed bit of pineapple, if you happen to have one around.

I expected it to be syrupy. It isn’t. In fact, it’s a nice, calm little cocktail–definitely sweet, make no mistake–that’s evenly balanced between the alcohols and the juice. The cola gave me pause, at first, but it gives the drink that caramelized flavor without which it’s namesake dessert wouldn’t be the same.


Kirsch Me, I’m German


Kirsch (or kirschwasser) is one of those liqueurs that, if you you have it, you probably have it because you’ve made a Black Forest Cake (aka Kirschtorte) at some point in the not too distant past. This dry cherry brandy is strong! Definitely not something I would ever sip without it being heavily diluted with something very sweet.

But what to do with the bottle on my bar? I dug around through a couple of reliable cocktail books and found a few recipes for drinks that also called for other non-standard ingredients (like Chartreuse and Benedictine–not things I had on hand). Besides, I was looking for something along the comfort-food line and couldn’t stop thinking about that cake!

Black Forest Cake, in case you’ve never had the pleasure, is chocolate cake (I tend to make a genoise and then moisten it with a kirsch syrup), layered and topped with fresh whipped cream and cherries. A lot of bakeries tend to use maraschino cherries but I prefer the sour cherries, spiked with a bit of the kirsch for good measure. Then the sides are usually coated in chocolate shavings. It is a rich, decadent dessert and the last time I made one was for a good friend who’d spent many years serving in Germany; he was very appreciative.

So… cake vs. cocktail. Where shall the two meet? Also on my mind this week was the recent discovery of how lovely a Vanilla Cola was achieved with the addition of vanilla vodka. Since I cannot have caffeine, commercial vanilla cola is not an option as they don’t make a caffeine-free version (at least that’s not loaded with aspartame). Same goes for cherry cola… do you see where I’m going here?

CHF Black Forest Cola

1 oz Vanilla Vodka
1 oz Butterscotch Schnapps
.5 oz Chocolate Liqueur
.5 oz Kirschwasser
6 oz Cola**

Combine the alcohols in an ice-filled shaker, shake it like it’s sliding down the Matterhorn*, and strain it into a tall glass 3/4 full of ice. Top with the soda and then give it a little swirl with a swizzle stick. Garnish with a cherry, if you like.

*yes, I know, the Matterhorn is actually part of the Swiss Alps but the name is German!

**I’m being very brand neutral here, but I prefer caffeine-free Coca Cola classic.

Now, a few things I found out while I was working on this recipe. Kirsch, as I already knew, is strong but Irish Cream smooths it out like you wouldn’t believe (at least at a 1:3 ratio). Notice that there’s no Irish Cream in the final recipe? Yeah, add cola to the list of things Irish Cream does not play well with (the list that includes Strawberry pucker and lime juice)–it started off with a foamy head like you get with a root beer float  which was fine (if necessitating the additional of a straw) but then the rest of the drink decided to behave like biscotti left in tea for too long. It tasted good but the texture was incredibly unappealing (though now I’m in the mood to make a batch of biscotti).

That’s when the butterscotch schnapps came in. Since I was wanting to suggest the tastes of a Black Forest Cake in the drink, the Irish Cream was my go-to for the whipped cream. As a ringer, the butterscotch served the smoothing purposes while also suggesting a bit of warm, baked cakey goodness that definitely made the drink more palatable.

If you search you may find other so-called Black Forest cocktails. But be wary, my friends, if it has not a stitch of cherry (much less Kirsch) inside. Cranberries and raspberries (and the latter’s liqueur) may be tasty and tart, but it does not a Kirschtorte–or Kirsch cocktail–make.