Julie’s Gadget Diary 02-11-12

A few weeks ago I posted a review of Zevia Stevia sweetened soda where I told everyone about my quest to find a healthier replacement for Diet Coke. While I really enjoyed some of the Zevia flavors, the price was way too high for me to justify buying it on a regular basis, so it wasn’t a good solution for me. I’m happy to say that I’ve found one alternative that is cheaper and healthier than the Zevia.

By healthier I mean that it doesn’t include any artificial gunk like Aspartame or Splenda. I’m still using Stevia as my sweetener of choice, but this time I’m using real Stevia instead of Erythritol like Zevia uses.

I’ve purchased several 2 oz. bottles of SweetLeaf and NuNaturals brand flavored Stevia drops, which I mix with Seltzer water. SweetLeaf offers a variety of flavors such as Orange, Grape, Berry, Rootbeer, Chocolate, Chocolate Raspberry, Lemon, Peppermint, Apricot and others. NuNaturals has a great Vanilla flavor that I like. The best place to purchase the Stevia drops that I’ve found so far is iHerb, which offers most of the flavors for less than $10 a bottle. That’s a great savings over Amazon and other places that sell them for about $15 a bottle. 2 ounces might not sound like a lot, but these drops really go a long way. You only need a dropper full for a large 16 oz drink.

For the seltzer part of the recipe, I just buy whatever is the cheapest at Walmart. The brand pictured above is about 98 cents for 1 liter. Another brand I buy is Vintage, which is only about 64 cents a liter. All I do is put it in the refrigerator over night to get it really cold and then I pour some in a glass, add a few drops of one of the Stevia flavors, stir with a straw and add ice. The seltzer water is just carbonated water with nothing else added, but it gives the drink the soda “bite” that I crave. I also tried seltzer with lemon and lime, and club soda, but found I like regular plain seltzer best for the drinks I make.

So far my favorite is the NuNaturals Vanilla drops. Mixed with the seltzer water, it makes a great creme soda. I could drink it all day. My next favorite is the Berry flavor. I even tried SweetLeaf’s Chocolate drops in seltzer water. Not bad, but I think I’ll save that flavor for adding to milk. ;)

This solution works great for home, but I still need a solution for work. I don’t have access to a refrigerator there, so I don’t have a way to keep a 1 liter bottle of seltzer cold. I could bring warm bottles of seltzer to work and just walk down to the cafeteria for ice, but the cafeteria isn’t open all day. One possible solution that I’m thinking of trying is the Fizz Giz. It’s a small handheld soda maker that uses 16-gram food grade CO2 cartridges and can carbonate any liquid in many existing soda bottles (except for Coca Cola products). Think of it as a SodaStream, only infinitely more portable and less expensive. You just add your own beverage to the bottle, screw on the special Fizz Giz cap and carbonate. I’m going to order one to try, so if anyone is interested in how it works out, let me know.

Anyone else out there making their own fizzy drinks and have some good recipes? Please share them!

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{ 13 comments… add one }

  • Marie February 11, 2012, 6:44 pm

    You may what to this product [iSi Twist N Sparkle Beverage Carbonating System Starter Set with 2 Extra Bottles and 13 CO2 Chargers BUNDLE]. I bought this for my husband last month and he loves it. Amazon has it.

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  • Julie February 11, 2012, 7:40 pm

    @Marie I’ve seen the Twist N Sparkle, but the Fizz Giz looks like a better deal to me because it’s more portable and doesn’t require you to wash it after each use.

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  • Aphoid February 11, 2012, 11:32 pm

    We use a soda stream and it works great. The canisters are cheaper than the smaller 16g cartridges in the long run. The cheapest way possible is to convert one of the canisters to be compatible with the standard co2 canisters and have a local welding supply place refill it for you. Replacing the valve isn’t cheap though at the outset.

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  • Lynn February 12, 2012, 12:19 am

    I use the twist and sparkle also. Note that if you are just carbonating plain water which is what I do you really do not need to wash it. They are talking about carbonating flavored drinks where you need to wash it. I also had a fizz gizz. A couple of things I did not like about it. 1 – having to find bottles that worked well with their caps. 2 – finding food quality co2 cartridges that work with the fizz gizz. Be real careful about where you get yours or your water will taste like metal or whatever that air was sitting in… YUCK.

    I just keep two of the bottles of the twist and sparkle water in the fridge – carbonate one and have the other chilling for when i run out of the first. Maybe you might look into getting a small college dorm type fridge for your cube at work. Several people do that where I work.

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  • Uri February 12, 2012, 5:58 am

    How many drops of Stevia do you add to one liter of soda?

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  • Julie February 12, 2012, 10:21 am

    @Aphoid I reviewed the SodaStream a few years ago. I liked it, but it takes up room on my counter, isn’t portable, you can’t carbonate anything other than water.

    @Lynn I went ahead and ordered the Fiz Gizz through Amazon last night along with a box of 30 16g co2 cartridges that were labeled as food safe. We’ll see how it works out. Hopefully I can find a few bottles that the caps will fit. Or I supposed I could make my own caps. It looks like they just drill a hole and fit that little rubber nipple into it. Even I could do that ;)

    As for putting a dorm fridge in my cube, I wish I could, but I already have a microwave and a few months ago, I brought down our whole row of cubes when I was running the microwave and a small space heater. So now I’m pretty cautious as to what I have plugged in :)

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  • Bob DeLoyd February 14, 2012, 2:08 am

    @Julie did you watch the neat video in the comments on Amazon- Looks pretty easy to use up I really don’t think you need to shake the bottle like she did in the vid!
    In our 7th grade class we made rockets out of the co2 cartridges, put a harness on them that was tied to a string that went across the playground and shot them off- most of them blew up but we didn’t mind :)

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  • Julie February 14, 2012, 8:09 am

    @Bob Yes, I look forward to trying it.

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  • Erin February 14, 2012, 9:29 pm

    Your after my own heart. I like the SweetLeaf root beer flavor in plain sparking mountain spring water. It actually tates similar to regular root beer to me, but without any calories, carbs, and has a GI of 0!

    I’m lucky though because it’s easy to get SweetLeaf products as I work for the company…

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  • Julie February 15, 2012, 7:35 am

    @Erin You are lucky! So what is the difference between sparkling mountain spring water and seltzer?

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  • Regev Elya February 18, 2012, 6:51 am

    Stevia does not have to be expensive, you can easily grow it in your own house without too much effort.

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  • Julie February 18, 2012, 8:52 am

    @Regev We would have to grow a whole field of it because it’s the only sweetener we use in our house. I’m not sure how you would use the raw leaves. Do they have to be crushed to remove the liquid? Dried and pulverized? I think I’ll just be lazy and buy the packets and liquid drops. :)

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  • Regev Elya February 18, 2012, 9:10 am

    Nah you can just ‘crumble’ them with your palm into your beverage. Piece of cake ;)

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