Thursday, December 30, 2010
Natural Sodas made to Order
I have an on and off love affair with soda pop. (Pop in my corner of the world, country bumpkin that I am) I can go weeks with out it--even months. Then something happens I'm hooked again. Diet Dr. Pepper was always my curse. Love it even though I generally stay away from aspartame. My poor youngest kiddo. This summer, he was taken off all sodas. The only alternative sweetener he could have was stevia, and those pops are pricey, so he did without.
When I was out shopping, I watched the video about the Soda Stream at Bed Bath and Beyond. Armed with a 20% off coupon, I splurged and got one for our "family" gift. We have become like mad scientists playing with it. So far, it is a big success at our house. With the boys all grown, there just aren't enough toys to keep us all entertained like in the old days.
I like that I can makes standard colas, fruit pop, even really close versions of Mountain Dew and Dr. Pepper. It is handy to have all the goods at home and not have to run to the store to fulfill guests' preferences or our own occasional cravings. It is ready to make when we are. Smaller one liter bottles don't have as big a chance at going flat either. The price works out to about 50 cents a liter. Pretty darn good price, and no bottles taking up space in the kitchen.
But that is only part of the story. The real reason I bought it has nothing to do with convenience, the earth friendly bottles, or even the flavors. The reason I got it is so that we can make sparkling waters and stevia sweetened drinks that fit our tastes and particular diets. I never liked plain sparkling water. I need a little flavor and some sweetness. But I never liked the sicky sweet orange sodas either. I am somewhere in between. By making these ourselves, we can easily adapt every single glass we make! The recipes are endless.
So far, I have not bothered making a syrup base. I have simply stirred in some liquid or powdered stevia. Those come in fun flavors, although my vanilla and chocolate don't appeal to me as soda flavors. My favorite mix so far is a teaspoon of orange juice concentrate, a packet of True Orange crystals and some tiny spoonfuls of powdered stevia. This is refreshing and all natural. My kit came with some flavoring essences too. I originally purchased those just for Christian, since artificial sweeteners are a no no on his plan. I am still playing with those, but they seem to me to need a little more flavor. I have read that some people buy LorAnn flavoring oils. That is a possibility. I even found a company that sells soda flavoring syrups sweetened with stevia or xylitol or erythritol. When I have some extra funds, I may order some of those. I saw the flavor of lime cola that interested me. In the mean time, I am going to be happy playing chemist with my flavorings we have here at home already. I am betting nothing much will beat a fresh lime, though. Love that!
I will keep you posted on my experiments...as long as my co2 cannister lasts, that is. The only drawback is that I will have to exchange those at the store when it runs out. But the store is near my house and I always love a chance to see the kitchen gadgets in that huge housewares department!
I am thinking we may have some home made ginger ale for our New Year's Bubbly this year. Doesn't that sound good? Some sliced fresh ginger boiled with some sweetener and water. Then add that to the bubbly. Fancy enough for me! Happy New Year!