We’ve previously reviewed the Soda Club sparkling water maker. For literally $.20 a one liter bottle, versus $1.5 for Pelligrino, you can have sparkling water at home without carting bottles back and forth to the store. If there were any complaints about the Soda Club maker, it would only be that the plastic bottles weren’t elegant enough to bring to the table. Now, Soda Club has the “Penguin,” which carbonates water in glass bottles rather than plastic. The bottles are a fairly nice design with a subtle penguin logo that could be mistaken for a European crest. No one ever has to know that you make your sparkling water at home.
The Soda Club’s big promise is also to allow you to make your Coke and Root Beer at home. We’re not soda drinkers, except for root beer, so we were skeptical about this use. While we didn’t really like the imation Coke, 7-Up, and Root Beer (all of it has imitation sweeteners and ingredients we didn’t understand), we did like the natural lemon and orange flavors that added just the essence of the fruit to our water. No calories but a little added flavor.
You may have read an article in the New York Times on carbonated beverages at home that covers the options out there. Some of these machines cost up to $2600. I can’t say the Club Soda version is the hottest design, and maybe even it’s bubbles aren’t as “delicate” as others (could that even be true?), but it worked well enough for our kids and makes a pretty good Pelligrino/Perrier stand-in. The Penguin is significantly more expensive at $249.99 versus the regular machine at only $79.99. Both are available at SodaClubUSA.com. Either way, both should pay for themselves in a fairly short amount of time, and also cut down massively on throw-away bottles. The starter kits come with two reusable bottles. The machine takes no added batteries or power, but does require a refill of the CO2 cartridge ($19.99) about every 110 bottles.