If you have seen the adverts recently, you will already know that Sodastream have re-launched their old product, but this time its ironic. Oh god, I just googled it and remembered the awful, awful slogan. Don’t do it, you’ll hate yourself.
Now, my Nan had one of those, when they first came out. I remember her bringing it with her when she came to stay, as it had obviously become a crucial part of her life. Especially since she was travelling by train, from Stansted Mountfitchet to Kessingland, which must have required a few changes.
Ostensibly, she had invested in it in order to save money on the vast quantity of slimline tonic she used to get through while sinking a vast quantity of vodka. Maybe she should have also invested in a lemon tree, or grown one from an old pip!
But I have seen these machines, and I am sure they cost about thirty quid, then you have to buy the gas canisters, and the syrups (was there butterscotch flavour or am I just giving the ‘70’s a bad name?), then you have to make the stuff. Using your own water (from the tap, I mean, not, ahem, ‘bodily water’) Jeez, I’m feeling tired and poor already. Maybe I need a vodka and tonic! How many years would it be before you’d be making a saving? I reckon my Nan is only just making a profit now (or she would be but she died first : now what does that tell you?).
And also, I have made a rather exciting discovery, which in the past was like folk knowledge that belonged to everyone, but now consumerism has made everyone forget!!!!
Because apparently, You Can Make Fizzy Drinks At Home, from a few bits of old crap you might find lying around your house and garden, as long as you have got a bit of sugar, some yeast, and some old fizzy drinks bottles. Technically, you could even use puddle water, and the process would destroy the microbes!
For example : if you have some weeds in your lawn, dig them up, and you can make delicious Dandelion and Burdock. Some wizened or mouldy lemons in your fruit bowl? : chop them up and make refreshing lemonade. A tub of dried ginger that expired in 2005? Ginger Beer.
I am in the process of making Ginger Beer. I chose this because I found a recipe online, and sort of followed it (all right I changed it all : I used fresh ginger instead of dried (because I am a posh foodie type), put pomegranate juice in because I thought it would go pink, a grape or two to add interesting yeasts, added a more or less random amount of sugar and water : not because I am inherently bolshie (although, obviously, I am), but because I broke my scales while cleaning them : there’s a lesson there) so I boiled it up, put it in the bottles with some ordinary dried yeast and within a few short hours had apparently made a delicious fizzy drink.
Which I had to keep tasting, and venting the entertainingly vast amount of gas it was producing.
I remember making ginger beer once with my dad, in the late ‘70’s. We put it in glass bottles in the outside toilet, next to the coal shed of our council house (yes, yes, I know I am middle class now, but look, it wasn’t always like that ) I think all this home brewing was inspired by the purchase of a bottle topping gadget (Engineer Dad, what can I say?). I remember the bottles exploding, one by one, as the pressure got too much. Lucky no-one was killed really.
Anyway : this is the best bit : According to the recipe (which I have in no way followed) if you can leave it in a safe place (I think this means in case it explodes, not as a refuge from emotional harm) for three weeks, it will not only be fizzy, and clear : it will be ALCOHOLIC!
Now I don’t think sodastream have anything to really match that, do you?