UPDATED POST: A while back I got a Penguin soda machine in the mail, thanks to the PR peeps representing Soda-Club. The pitch: reduce soda can and plastic bottle waste by making your fizzy drinks at home. The catch: SAMPLE SIZED Soda-Stream flavor syrups come in plastic pouches that can’t be recycled.
Beth over at Fake Plastic Fish came to ethical terms with this dilemma by sticking to the company’s water flavorings, which come in little glass bottles instead of plastic. Trouble is, I don’t drink much plain or flavored seltzer (unless you count vodka sodas at bars). I tried out a couple of the sample syrups that came with my machine. Root beer, too sweet. Diet cola, tastes JUST like Diet Coke, which I shamefully love. But I put off posting on the Penguin because, honestly, once I went through the diet coke samples, I only used the thing once to make some lemony water for friends.
I was all set to write just that: I guess it’s cool, but I would never have bought it if it weren’t free and I never use it. BUT THEN, my wonderful mother gave me an extraordinary gift: a large bottle of raspberry shrub, a fruit vinegar syrup used to make my all time favorite carbonated drink. Suddenly I’m using the Penguin all the time and sans guilt since shrub can be purchased in bulk and in glass. SODA-CLUB ALSO SELLS BULK SIZES IN BETTER PACKAGING.
Therefore, it is with great enthusiasm and several reservations that I recommend the Penguin. On the plus side, it’s very easy to use, a cute design—you carbonate the water by depressing the beak and the whole thing squeeks when its ready—and you can make delicious shrub whenever you want. On the flip side, it takes up a lot of counter space and it’s expensive (starter kits begin at $200 plus shipping). THOUGH CHEAPER, SMALLER MODELS ARE AVAILABLE.
Recommendation to Soda-Club: if you’re going for an eco-marketing campaign, DON’T SEND PLASTIC SAMPLES TO GREEN BLOGGERS.
Note to self: save money by mixing vodka sodas at home more often or—moment of genius—vodka shrubs.