SodaStream: Sip back in time

In the Seventies, every child wanted a SodaStream. Now the drinks maker is back – but can it put some fizz into grown-up cocktails? Gillian Orr finds out

During the summer holidays when I was a child, there was only one refreshment my brothers and I would long for when we emerged from the garden: a SodaStream drink. First we had the arduous task of convincing our mother to let us have one. Once she was overruled, we would fight over the sink, knocking each other out of the way to fill our glass bottles from the tap. When it was my turn to use the ancient machine, I recall the thrill of pumping in the gas and hearing the sound that indicated the boring tap water now had a delightful fizz. Then I would choose from the thick, sugary syrups to flavour the soda, and pour one in marvelling at the transformation, like a little apothecary mixing up a potion.

The SodaStream needn't be a distant memory any more. It's back, having received quite a makeover. And this time it's back for good, the makers hope – despite numerous attempts to re-kindle the success of the drinks machine over the years, it has struggled to regain the popularity it enjoyed in the Seventies and Eighties.

The new machine certainly looks better than its Seventies counterpart. The beige plastic eyesore has been replaced by a sleek appliance that could happily sit alongside a Gaggia coffee machine in any kitchen. The traditional flavours of cola and lemonade have been joined by more modern additions such as cranberry and raspberry and a tangerine-flavoured isotonic sports drink.

The humble SodaStream is attracting celebrity attention: a limited edition Karim Rashid SodaStream, designed in Rashid's signature colourful, swirly geometric pattern, was launched last month and is for sale exclusively in Harvey Nichols. And the celebrity chef, Heston Blumenthal featured a SodaStream recently in his television show Heston's 80s Feast – he used one to make sparkling wine, which the guests mistook for champagne.

Could it be that the humble SodaStream is back in vogue?

Rob Moore, a drinks connoisseur, believes it is back, and says the SodaStream can cater to all your summer refreshment needs.

From my childhood desire for a sweet cola drink, my tastes have moved on and 20 years later I'm after something a bit stronger. We start with a simple Pimm's and lemonade. Fresh fruit, ice and Pimm's are put into a jug, then it's time to test out the SodaStream.

The appliance almost unrecognisable from my past experiences. The little glass bottle of my youth has been turned into a curvy, plastic litre bottle. A few pumps of gas and then, the familiar beep. Removing the bottle is simple – the old ones, I recall, used to get stuck.

I insist on adding the lemonade syrup, and then we mix it into the jug. It is as good a Pimm's as I've ever had.

Next, we make mojitos. We put sugar, white rum, crushed ice, lime juice and mint into a shaker, do a quick fizz-up of the water to make soda and the mojitos are ready.

You might say it would be simpler to open a bottle of soda, but where is the fun in that?

Only time will tell if this product will find a place in our kitchens again. But with our thirst for kitchen gadgets, there will be some who'll lap it up. And if it brings back memories of more simple, innocent times, well, who can argue with that?

The Karim Rashid SodaStream machine is on sale at Harvey Nichols priced £69.95. Other SodaStreams are available from £54.99.

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