Thursday, January 14, 2016

A simple SodaScream hack

Hey, SodaStream owners! I'm sure you've recently noticed that this:

(retailed $5.99, 500 mL, makes 50 servings, not bad for diet RB)
has unexpectedly (and unpleasantly) become this:

(retails $5.99, 440 mL, makes 29 servings, tastes like butt)
I'm sure this naked money grab on the part of the SodaStream Powers That Be tempts you to scream like a mighty Scot having a tantrum and fling your SodaStream machine, caber-like, through the nearest window, open or not. But don't engage in needless defenestration, people! For although I don't yet have a good substitute for SodaStream's old diet root beer mix (let me know if you've found one), I do have a simple hack for folks who want to make diet soda without breaking the bank.

You will need:
  • an old-style 500 mL SodaStream soda mix container with cap, emptied and cleaned
  • Crystal Light (or similar store brand) diet drink mix (get the envelopes that make 2 quarts)
  • water
  • a working SodaStream machine
The math is easy: every capful of soda mix makes 1 liter of soda, and every large envelope of Crystal Light mix makes about 2 quarts of drink (for the purpose of our mixology hack, a quart is close enough to a liter to be nearly equivalent). So for every envelope of Crystal Light drink mix you dump into the soda mix container, add two capfuls of water to dilute to the proper ratio. The 500 mL soda mix container can hold six envelopes of diluted Crystal Light mix. Close the container, shake well to distribute your homemade soda mix, and store in the fridge (I'm not sure this is absolutely necessary, but since a lot of these drink mixes say "refrigerate after reconstituting," better err on the side of caution).

You use this just like a standard SodaStream mix: carbonate a liter of water, pour out a capful of homemade mix, and (DO THIS OVER THE SINK, PLEASE!) slowly and gradually pour the mix into the carbonated water. The first time I tried this, it dramatically overflowed and I made a mess on the counter. I think the citric acid causes the reaction, but I might be wrong. Anyway, over the sink, and slowly!

Threw out all your old-style soda mix containers, and can't find another one? Fret not. All you need is a watertight glass or food-safe plastic jar with a lid, as long as it holds about a pint of liquid, and one of those mini-angled measuring cups you can pick up at any kitchen store.

OXO sells a nice one. And no, they're not paying me for this Shameless Plug.
The old-style soda mix cap holds between 1 1/2 oz. (measuring to the fill line inside the cap) and 2 oz. (measuring to the top of the cap), so measure the mix depending on your personal flavor preferences.

Crystal Light and various store brands have all sorts of fruit-flavored mixes available. You can whip them up as-is, or mix and match combinations. The carbonated water seems to take the super-sweet edge off a lot of artificial sweeteners, as does the citric acid. Inexpensive, tasty, refreshing, and (if this is a concern) it won't raise your blood sugars.

Now go forth my minions and enjoy homemade diet sodie on the cheap!

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