Old-Fashioned Soda: Siphons Make It Sweet and Sustainable

Turns out grandpa was right (kind of). Lots of old-timey stuff from his era was better than the present, namely popular music, vegetables, and, as we’ve discovered in recent years, soda.

Maybe you’ve seen a classic black-and-white movie, where two men in suits (there might be a monocle involved) stand over a wet bar as one draws his carbon dioxide-powered soda siphon like a Smith & Wesson and sprays some soda water into his scotch. All these years later, in living color, the same technology exists, largely unchanged and sadly, just as unused.

Fact is, using a soda siphon not only produces a better-tasting soda. It’s healthier (by using all-natural fruit, juice or homemade simple syrups to sweeten), cheaper and better for the environment.  That’s why we use them at a variety of parties and special events we cater throughout the year.

peach_orange_spritzerA little more than a year ago we purchased several soda siphons and chargers from iSi, part of a 200 year-old Vienna-based company and the world’s largest manufacturer of these kinds of products. It might seem like a complicated mechanical process, but it’s pretty simple – iSi provides a nice primer here.

Here are some tips we picked up:

– Use cold water

– Don’t overscrew the cartridge into the siphon

– Shake vigorously (don’t be shy)

– Get creative with flavors and simple syrups

Inspired by all the local fresh fruit we’ve been scoring, we made a couple of really tasty all-natural spritzers this week.

First was a Watermelon Spritzer with watermelon balls and fresh mint and oregano from our garden as garnish.

Then there was a Peach-Orange Spritzer that included orange juice and nasturtium for garnish. Jennifer did a peach simple syrup, which goes something like this:

– Combine sugar, water and fruit (slices or chunks) in pot

– Simmer on stovetop for 20 minutes

– Puree mixture


In the winter, Jennifer wants to try making a celery soda for my grandfather, who’s 95 and still craves the stuff.

Of course, the other real benefit to making sodas like grandpa did is it avoids purchasing products made with plastic. Sure, you’ll have to recycle the steel cartridges, which are 100 percent recyclable and take up little space. Sadly, nearly 80 percent of plastic bottles in the U.S. do not get recycled.

We don’t drink much soda anymore, but when we do, we’re in our kitchen shaking up the iSi. Just like they did in the old days (except without the monocle).


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