It's all grown up and pretty and bubbly.
The fizz whiz device is one of the holiday's gotta-haves and can be had for less than $100.
It's simple science: At the push of a button, a jolt of carbon dioxide gas explodes in a beverage bottle, turning tap water into fizzy water.
We're talking carbonated Kool-Aid to spritzy cocktails in five seconds.
No electricity or batteries required.
Home soda makers have been around for decades, but relegated to the cabinet with other unsightly kitchen gadgets not fit for counter display.
Not anymore. Machines are sleek and shiny red, gray, blue and silver.
They are also green -- in the environmental way.
The plastic liter bottles are reusable.
"It saves 2,000 cans a year on average per household," said Chicago SodaStream spokeswoman Alexis Engel.
Multiply that by millions.
The product is sold worldwide, with the USA lagging behind.
"One out of every five homes in Sweden has one," Engel said. "In China, they are using the Soda-Stream water on their face. The cold, fizzy water is supposed to open your pores. They are putting them in salons."
As the punchy ad campaign says: "If you love the bubbles, set them free."
It's the modern version of the "apparatus for aerating liquids" invented to delight the British uppercrust. "The patent dates back to 1903," Engel said.
SodaStream sells concentrated tea, soda and energy syrups in more than 100 flavors and ice trays for sticks that fit in the bottles.
The plastic bottles are made to withstand the pressure of the carbonating explosion, but not the heat of the dishwasher. They will melt.
The carbonator tank refill process is similar to those propane tanks for grills, with the exchange of empties for fulls. Stores include Bartell Drugs and Bed Bath & Beyond. Refills cost $20 to $50, depending on tank size.
SodaStream has competition. Cuisinart recently entered the market with its Sparkling Beverage Maker, which has a unique cartridge and bottle system.
It's like video game systems: Components of different brands don't mix.
Options abound, no matter how you fizz it.
Some users prefer it plain.
"I drink it straight," said Megan Stubblebine of Everett.
Her husband, Rick, sticks a lemon in his.
She bought a SodaStream a few years ago to save the planet and cut down on soda consumption.
It worked. It also saves about $500 a year, she said.
Kristin Temperly sets the bubbles free in another way.
She mixes vodka and fruit with her fizzy water.
"I love the bubbly effervescence it adds to cocktails," she said.
The Mukilteo mom said her kids love it, too.
"Sans the alcohol."
Andrea Brown: 425-339-3443; email@example.com.
4 ounces SodaStream Tonic
2 ounces orange juice
11/2 ounce rum
1 ounce lime juice
Combine orange juice, lime juice and rum in a cocktail shaker
Shake vigorously, and strain over ice. Add tonic, stir gently and garnish with slices of fresh orange and lime.
8 ounces SodaStream Cream Soda
11/2 ounces vodka
11/2 ounces amaretto
Whipped cream (optional)
Add vodka and amaretto to a tall glass filled with ice. Pour in cream soda and stir gently. Top with a dollop of whipped cream, if desired.
4 ounces SodaStream Diet Cranberry-Raspberry
1 ounce vodka
1/2 ounce triple sec (orange-flavored liqueur)
Fill a tall glass with ice. Add vodka, triple sec and soda. Stir gently and strain into a martini glass. Squeeze lime wedge into drink. Garnish with additional lime, if desired.
4 ounces SodaStream Energy Drink
4 ounces SodaStream Orange Soda
4 ounces SodaStream Diet Pink Grapefruit
Pour sodas over crushed ice in a large glass. Squeeze in a slice of orange for a punch of freshness.
Guilt-free root beer float
12 ounces SodaStream Diet Root Beer
1 scoop vanilla fat-free frozen yogurt or low-carb ice cream
(You can use two scoops for added decadence!)
Fill a 16-ounce glass 3/4 with root beer. Carefully add scoop(s) of frozen yogurt or ice cream. Serve with a spoon and a straw.
6 ounces SodaStream Lemon-Lime
6 ounces iced tea
Combine ingredients over ice in a tall glass. Serve with a squeeze of lemon.
Peppermint egg cream
1 bottle SodaStream Seltzer, highly carbonated (5 or more buzzes)
4 ounces whole milk
2 ounces chocolate syrup
1/2 teaspoon mint extract
Into a tall glass, pour about 2 inches of ice-cold whole milk, followed by mint extract. Insert a long spoon. Add extra-fizzy seltzer until the glass is nearly full.
Slowly add chocolate syrup in a thin stream and stir gently to mix. For best results, use very cold ingredients. Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or a candy cane.
Ginger chai refresher
4 chai teabags
3 cups boiling water
1 liter SodaStream Ginger Ale (or Diet Ginger Ale)
Cinnamon Sticks (optional)
Brew chai in a teapot for 10 minutes. Cool completely. Over ice in an iced tea glass, pour 3/4 cup of tea. Top with ginger ale. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.
6-8 chicken breasts (or 6-10 of your favorite pieces)
2-to-4 cups SodaStream Orange soda
Place chicken in nonreactive bowl and pour orange soda over to cover. Allow to marinate overnight. Grill over medium-high heat until cooked through.
Makes 6 servings.
4 salmon fillets
SodaStream Ginger Ale
1 small bunch of scallions
Place salmon fillets skin side down in a baking pan. Generously coat with ginger ale.
Chop one bunch of scallions (white bulbs and some of green tops) into 1/2-inch slices and sprinkle on top of salmon. Grill over medium-hot coals to your desired doneness.
Note from the chef: "We eat ours at room temperature or on salad greens. Use a whole side of salmon for an impressive presentation."
Makes 4 servings.
Cola carmelized strip steaks
4 strip steaks
2 cups SodaStream Cola
Package of dry onion soup mix
Place strip steaks in a deep baking dish. Rub meat with onion soup mix and pour cola over top. Allow to marinate 4 hours or overnight. Grill over hot coals to desired doneness.
Hint from the chef: Marinated meat cooks faster than non-marinated meat so you should adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Cranberry-ginger pork tenderloin
1 pork tenderloin (about 1 pound)
12 ounces SodaStream Cranberry-Raspberry soda
1/4 cup of raspberry jam
1/4 cup of soy sauce
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
Place pork tenderloin in a large zipper bag. Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into bag with pork. Allow to marinate 1 hour or overnight.
Grill over medium high heat for approximately 20 minutes (155 to 160 degrees internal temperature).
More Life Headlines
Our to-do list full of ideas for your weekend
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.