Looking for that perfect Christmas gift? Home beverage carbonizers, such as Soda Stream, provide us with an easy way to make delicious seltzer water and soda at home (way better than anything you can buy pre-made) AND eliminate a ton of single-use
plastic waste. This also represents a great way to reduce transportation fuel since you use tap water rather than shipping water across the country.
Simply fill the re-usable plastic bottles with tap water and let the machine add the bubbly...it takes a few seconds to transform a bottle of tap water to seltzer water.
You can enjoy it just like that, with a twist of lemon and lime or a few crushed mint leaves - this makes a great departure from plain, still water.
Or - you can make fantastic syrups at home to add to this seltzer water to make delicious home-made sodas. My favorite is home-made ginger ale. I almost always keep some home-made ginger syrup in the refrigerator. Bonus points - ginger syrup is also great stirred into hot and iced tea and drizzled over vanilla ice cream!!
Home Made Ginger Syrup recipe (to make Ginger Ale):
* Purchase 1 pound of ginger root from the produce section of your grocery store.
* Finely chop it on a cutting board (if you're feeling adventurous, peel the skin first. This will give your candied ginger for snacking when you're done!).
* Add this chopped ginger to 4 cups of water and 3 cups of sugar in a saucepan on the stove.
* Heat to boiling and then put a lid on the pot, keep the pot on the burner and turn the burner off. Allow it to passively (no more energy input) steep in the pot for at least 30 minutes.
* Strain the liquid and keep it in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks. (I make LARGE batches, store them in wide-mouth mason jars and freeze the extras so it's always on hand!)
* If you peeled the ginger first - you can also enjoy the chopped ginger now as a natural ginger candy (keep it refrigerated). This is great for an upset stomach.
To make ginger ale, test the ratio of ginger syrup to seltzer water you like best. I find that a small addition of ginger syrup (2 Tablespoons to a glass) creates lightly flavored seltzer water. If you are looking for the sweetness of a ginger ale - shoot for a 1:4 ratio (syrup to seltzer).
Experiment with other syrups. There are tons of great recipes online...root beer, blueberry and (another favorite of mine) - pineapple/grapefruit, cranberry. Get creative and come up with your own, water, sugar and any fruit or extract works! Great way to also reduce alcohol consumption as these creations are delicious and just the treat we need some days!
You will need to replace the carbon dioxide bottle every so often. I find mine lasts 4-6 months and costs about $15 each. More great environmental news...these CO2 containers are re-filled by Soda Stream. Simply take your empty container to the store where they are sold and trade it out for a new, filled one. No waste!!