Do you like your water fizzy or flat? I like it both ways, but since we bought a SodaStream machine for making carbonated water at home I've come to love fizzy water more and more. There's something about those bubbles that makes it more refreshing to me. King-Man and I most often drink our fizzy water plain over ice, but I also like to add a little flavor or sweetness to mine sometimes. At last, I have a healthy way to do just that. In today's post, I show you how to use natural ingredients to add fruity flavors to sparkling waters.
I gave up soda awhile ago, so I didn't need the carbonated water to help me get over a soda addiction. But, if you're hooked on soda and would like to wean yourself off of it, this post just might help you. Sparkling waters are a healthful alternative to sugary sodas.
Carbonated water is just as good for you as plain water. You may have heard and read about a variety of health concerns about carbonated waters that are floating around the internet--claims that it leeches calcium from your bones, erodes enamel on your teeth, and even causes cancer. I find it difficult to navigate all of the conflicting information I read. So, I was happy to find a reputable source, Scientific American (their Nutrition Diva is a diet and nutrition myth buster) that concludes carbonated water is every bit as good for you as flat water. None of the scary claims about it have science backing them up. Yay. So, if you prefer your water fizzy, then go ahead and drink it that way. The important thing is to drink water--it's important for your health in whatever form you like it.
Carbonated water may have some additional health benefits, in fact, like soothing upset stomachs and heart burn, and giving you a fuller feeling (so you eat less).
Kinds of fizzy water. You can carbonate your own water at home with A SodaStream machine (explained below), or purchase bottles of fizzy waters. Most of them are similar and all fall under the banner of "Sparkling Waters." There are sparkling waters that come from the ground naturally bubbly. Perrier and Pellegrino are two popular (albeit expensive) brands; their sparkling mineral waters come from specific locations in France and Italy. They naturally contain gas that produces bubbles. Seltzer water is widely available in stores and is plain water that has gas bubbles added to it. Club Soda is similar to seltzer but is high in sodium, so I choose to stay away from that for frequent drinking. Tonic has both sweeteners and bitter flavors added to it.
Make your own fizzy water with a SodaStream to save time & hassle, Mother Earth, and maybe money.
(Just so you know, I have no affiliation whatsoever with SodaStream...I simply use and like their product.)
In case you're not familiar with this popular gadget, I'll give you a brief run down. There are several models of SodaStreams available with prices ranging from $80-ish dollars to $180-ish dollars (June 2013 pricing). I've seen good prices at Bed, Bath & Beyond, Walmart, and Amazon. SodaStreams are really easy to operate and require no electricity or battery. It literally takes seconds to carbonate a bottle of water. There is a gas canister that has to be replaced periodically; one canister lasts for the equivalent of 150 cans of soda. Old emptied canisters can be traded in for full replacements at half the price. I swap mine at a local Bed, Bath and Beyond. Here's what I like about my SodaStream.
How my SodaStream works. I purchased the "cream of the crop" model that uses glass bottles. I generally prefer glass over plastic, but also like that these are dishwasher safe and look attractive on the table for serving. However, the more economical machines that use BPA-free plastic bottles, work well, too. Here's how mine works (pictured below)
view on Amazon:
2 Methods for Adding Natural Flavors to Sparkling Waters
Method #1. Make Fruit & Herb Honey Syrups. These contain nothing but fruit, herbs, and honey. They add both flavor and sweetness to sparkling waters. Use a little or a lot...however you like it. Recipes and step-by-step photos for these syrups are detailed in my previous post:
view how to make
8 Natural Fruit & Herb Honey Syrups
Here's how to use these syrups to make your own flavored sparkling water by the glass. I'm using a blueberry sage syrup in the photos below.
Here's how to use to use the syrups to flavor a whole bottle of sparkling water. I'm using strawberry basil syrup in the photos below.
You can make any of my 8 syrup recipes or create new flavors of your own and enjoy an endless variety of flavored sparkling waters. Here they are using my 8 syrups. Every one is so uniquely refreshing.
Method #2: Use fresh fruit and/or herbs with no additional sweetener. If you prefer to stay completely away from sweetened water, this method is easy and tasty. There are endless fruit/herb combinations--use whatever suits you. I'm using a combination of raspberries and orange slices in the pictures below.
View on Amazon: beverage muddler
Here's a glass of sparkling water with muddled blueberries and sage. You can see that there are visible bits of blueberries in the water.
For recommendations for more fruit and herb combinations for naturally flavoring sparkling water, see my previous post:
Me? I use both methods for flavoring my sparkling water. The "no sweetener" method with muddled fruit & herbs is great for more frequent drinking, since it is 100% good for me.
I also love using the syrups when I'm in the mood for a hint of sweetness in my water. Even with the honey in these syrups, the flavored sparkling waters are very low in calories; mine usually are around 30-40 calories per glass. That's a small fraction of the calories in a typical soft drink.
Fun gift idea: A Soda Stream machine plus a few homemade syrups would make a great gift...who wouldn't love that? In my previous post with the syrup recipes, I also include some printable labels you can use for the syrups. Consider giving this unique gift for Father's Day, a housewarming gift, graduation gift (these would be great to have in a dorm room), birthdays, or holidays.
I keep a few of the honey syrups in my fridge so that I can enjoy a variety of flavored sparkling waters at a moments notice with no trips to the store required. If you're a fizzy water fan, you might want to give these a try.
Make it a Yummy day!