How to Make Sparkling Waters

It seems like everywhere you look, someone is talking about craft beverages – whether it’s craft beers, organic wines, or even coffee. I mean, it is so prevalent in our society that even reputable colleges and universities have degree programs in craft beer making and distillation! So, where does that leave sparkling water? I like to think of it as the OG of craft beverages. Not really.

I’m recently divorced and raising two teenage boys. And if you know anything about teenage boys, you know they will literally eat and drink you out of house and home! Needless to say, I am now on a tighter budget. But I absolutely love sparkling waters. My boys compete over who gets to take back the returnables, as there are so many bags of cans in my garage!

By the way, if you are not from Michigan, you may not have understood my “returnable” reference. Here in Michigan, we pay a ten-cent deposit per can or bottle when we initially purchase a “said” beverage. But, if we save them (and I like to rinse them too), they sometimes add up to quite a bit of money. Especially after a party – you could end up with $100 worth of returnable cash!

How do you make natural sparkling water?

Anyway, back to how can I still be able to drink my sparkling waters like I do but not spend the money in doing so? Also, I’m going to need to make sure it is healthy and has zero everything as the big-name makers do it. Let’s focus on sparkling water instead of seltzer or club soda. I prefer the, as my friend jokingly calls it, “barely flavored sparkling water.” 

Carbonating water using CO2 – carbon dioxide – is quick and straightforward with a countertop machine such as the humble SodaStream. Just fill a bottle with tap water, press the button on top a few times depending on how carbonated you like it, and bingo, you have fresh sparkling water. Side note: did you know that SodaStream has been around a lot longer than the 2000s? It is a company that’s over 117 years old. I did not know that! 

The beauty of making your own sparkling water at home is that you can control what goes into it. That means no added sweeteners, salts, or other unpronounceable chemicals. Just pure, delicious sparkling water any time you want it. And because there are no bottles or cans to recycle (or throw away), it’s also more environmentally friendly. 

What you need to get started:

  • A SodaStream machine (which you can find online or at big box stores)
  • 1L carbonating bottles (you can usually get a 3-pack with your machine)
  • Tap water
  • Optional:
  • Flavorings like fruit juice, herbs, or bitters

To carbonate your water, screw a bottle into the machine, press the button on top the number of times indicated in the instructions (usually 3-5 times), and wait for the “hiss” that lets you know it’s done. Then, enjoy the fruits of your labor right at home without all the added junk.

Cheers!

Now, if you’re like me and want to flavor your water, you can add a few drops of bitters, a splash of fruit juice, or even some fresh herbs. Be creative! Just remember that if you’re using anything other than water, you’ll want to consume it within a day or two since homemade sparkling waters won’t have any preservatives.

In a nutshell, SodaStream works when you install a CO2 canister. When the soda maker’s button is pressed, the canister’s gas is released and travels into the carbonating bottle, thereby starting the carbonation process.

Is it cheaper to make your own sparkling water?

If you enjoy fizzy beverages like I do, it quickly becomes expensive. Good news though is that you can produce your own carbonated water for a few cents per gallon. But seriously, what does that math look like?

To give you a quick example, if we compare the price of an 18-pack of Nestle Pure Life seltzer water (which is on sale right now at my local grocery store for $3.49) to the cost of carbonated water at home, it’s a no brainer.

  • An 18-pack of Nestle Pure Life seltzer water costs $3.49.
  • Each can is 12 fluid ounces or 0.35 liters.
  • That means an 18-pack contains 2.1 gallons (7.6 L) of seltzer water.
  • At a price of $3.49, that’s $1.67 per gallon ($0.46 per L).

Let’s compare that to the cost of carbonated water made at home:

A SodaStream machine costs around $60. That should be a one-time cost if you take care of your things as I do. If you’re like my son, you might need to do that several times. I digress. On to the math.

  • You can get a 60-liter (or 16-gallon) CO2 tank for around $30.
  • SodaStream estimates that each liter of their CO2 carbonates 60 liters of water, which comes out to around $0.50 per gallon of sparkling water. And that’s if you need to buy a new CO2 tank.
  • If you can find a way to refill your tank (which you probably can), the cost per gallon of sparkling water drops to around $0.31.

So, yes, it is cheaper to carbonate your water at home. And you can save even more money if you find a way to refill your CO2 tank instead of buying a new one every time it runs out.

How to make sparkling waters

In conclusion, if you want to jump on the “craft” drink wagon but are a big water drinker, making sparkling waters at home is a great way to do it! Not only is it cheaper than buying them at the store, but you also have control over what goes into your drinks. So whether you like them fruity, herby, or just plain fizzy, there’s sparkling water for everyone.

Salute!

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