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carbonating liquids other than plain water (sodastream)

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i just received a sodastream for christmas and i'm excited to put it to good use. i want to make some flavored water but want the flexibility to avoid the sweetness you'd get from adding a syrup. can i safely carbonate liquids other than plain water?

somebody asks a related question about carbonating vodka here - http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/707275 - so i guess the worry was that the volatile alcohol would degrade the plastic in the machine. but what about just carbonating, say, water in which i've boiled some ginger? or tea?

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  1. Not in a soda stream, no. They explode and make a huge mess. Ask me how I know. ;)

    You don't have to add syrups though, you can add almost anything. Carbonate your water, then combine that juices, concentrates, syrups of all sorts, etc.

    6 Replies
    1. re: tzurriz

      thanks for your reply! how DO you know? i want to take your word for it, but my curiosity is piqued.

      1. re: as2464

        I bought my husband a Soda Stream last year, and one of the first things he tried to do was make carbonated apple juice for the kids. The explosion was "dramatic". He jokes now that he thought he was back in his artillery training days in the army. We're just glad he was wearing his glasses and didn't lose an eye. The mess was something memorable, and I say that being a mom who has a two year old who found a 50lb bag of flour.

        The thing is, it didn't stop. The juice just kept carbonating and coming out, it was ridiculous. Like a lava flow of apple foam, after the explosion.

        The house did smell really nice though, like an apple orchard, for days . . .

        1. re: tzurriz

          what a story. i've been fair-warned. could i ask: do you remember if that apple juice he used had particulates in it, like that sort of apple sediment you get with some apple juice brands (or indeed if it were fresh raw apple juice)? it seems like, from everybody's comments, that those flecks could be the very problem.

          1. re: as2464

            Not only particles, but probably also sugar in solution that can gum things up.

            1. re: davis_sq_pro

              true. another great point!

            2. re: as2464

              Sorry to be responding so late, had computer issues. I don't remember the brand at all. It was probably some cheap supermarket brand like juicy juice or the like. I have preschoolers. ;)

      2. If you were to clarify things, got them cold, and did several cycles of gassing and release, you might be able to do it in your soda stream. Clarifying well is difficult without filtration, fining agents, and/or centrifugation. See tzurriz's comments.

        Otherwise, splurge on the iSi Twist and Sparkle system which was created for carbonating anything.

        http://cocktailvirgin.blogspot.com/

        1 Reply
        1. re: yarm

          things are starting to come into focus for me - thanks for your reply, yarm. with any liquids that might contain particulates, i'm thinking of using an egg white raft, as if i were clarifying a consomme.

          nice blog!

        2. What is the mechanism by which the SodaStream explodes? I can see that you need to avoid any particles clogging the relief valve orifice. And you'd need to clean up any sticky residue on the injection nozzle and elsewhere. I can't understand why something clear like vodka would cause issues, other than possible interactions with the plastics involved. (Not recommending it but rather just curious about things blowing up.)

          4 Replies
          1. re: EvergreenDan

            As Yarm hinted at, one mechanism for the Sodastream to explode is particles that seed gas bubble formation and cause a mass of bubbles to form rapidly.

            Reduced solubility of the carbon dioxide in the liquid is another possibility, as when you open a warm bottle of seltzer and it overflows because the gas is less soluble at higher temps, so lots of bubbles form when the pressure is released.

            I am not sure how the solubility of CO2 in ethanol relates to its solubility in water, but I have read reports of people carbonating wine in a Sodastream without problems.

            1. re: nickls

              From my perspective people who want to carbonate wine already have problems.

              1. re: nickls

                thanks for your thoughtful replies, all.

                nickls, do you recall where you read about carbonating wine? that's not my goal (though it sounds pretty damn good to me), but i'd like to see how they did it.

                1. re: as2464

                  I was thinking of this Serious Eats article:
                  http://www.seriouseats.com/2010/02/ga...

                  She doesn't really say anything particular about how she did it other than carbonating lightly and releasing the pressure very slowly and carefully (in the comments). At least one other commenter said they ended up with a mess, so it does not appear to be foolproof.

            2. It won't "explode" but you may get some backwash to the valve. Messy, but it can be cleaned. No reason you couldn't carbonate the vodka.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ferret

                So carbonating vodka is a-ok in your book, but wine isn't?

                Ha.

              2. Just get the Isi twist and sparkle is you want to carbonate liquids other than water.

                1. I routinely successfully carbonate tea, carbonated jasmine tea is quite refreshing. Just brew the tea, let it cool in the fridge and then use like water. I never put sugar in, that might cause it to fail, but straight tea and I've had no trouble.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: TeRReT

                    I have tried carbonating ginger tea, cooled, but resulted in a massive explosion. In my quest to work this out I learned that I could stick the teabag in the bottle after carbonating and then wait give it a few shakes and have it later. Worked fine. This experiment has led me to grating fresh ginger putting into an empty teabag and adding to the carbonated water. The next step was adding about 4 tbs cider vinegar and a squirt of liquid Stevia. This is REALLY amazingly good, refreshing, sweet and no calories, no carbs. Give it a try, I like to squeeze the teabag into the water right as I am putting it in the water. About 2 tbs fresh grated. shake it all up and have it later when cold.