By Tony Barthel
Space in my trailer is limited and I’m also a cheapskate. So when the folks at Drinkmate contacted us asking if we thought we’d like to try one of their countertop carbonated drink machines, my initial response was “no.” But then I got to thinking about it.
Unless you’re rocking a huge RV of some sort, space aboard is limited. Furthermore, you may be concerned about power usage and just figuring out where to store more stuff.
I will tell you I am not a huge fan of water that comes out of the faucet or even bottled water, but my wife is. In fact, we saw that when we looked at the Clear2O filter a while back.
My wife and I are fans of fizzy water
But I am a big fan of “fizzy” water, whether that be plain old carbonated water or those flavor-infused waters from companies like LaCroix. For some reason, my wife has recently started to take a fancy to these waters as well.
That means that we’re starting even shorter trips with at least a case of fizzy water, which means we’re figuring out where to store them. It also means we’re having to figure out what to do with the empty cans once we’ve enjoyed the water. Obviously we’re recycling the cans, but we still have to hang onto them until we can appropriately send them off to be future Corollas or wherever they end up.
And, let’s be honest. At least here in California we all pay a recycling penalty on anything in a bottle or can. But I honestly don’t know where in the wide, wide world of sports I can go to get the deposit back. So it just means I’m paying an additional penalty for the privilege of enjoying my beverages of choice.
Yeah, yeah. I live on the planet, too. And I don’t dump my black tanks in my front yard. So I totally appreciate recycling and taking care of the world I live in. I’m just saying that, in the community I live in, there is zero provision for recycling recyclables. Yes, it stinks.
Anyhow, with all that in mind I actually changed my thinking and asked the Drinkmate folks to send along one of their countertop fizzy drink maker rigs to give it a try after all.
What I got was a Drinkmate soda machine, a can of CO2, a bottle and a set of instructions. The machines themselves are just under $80 on Amazon, but the whole package will run you about $110.
For some reason, I assumed (you know what that means!) that I needed power to make this gadget go, but that’s not the case. It’s a relatively simple affair powered by the CO2 canister itself.
To get things going you screw the CO2 canister into a compartment in the back. The front is where the job gets done of fizzy-ing your drink. There’s a lid/cap arrangement at the top of the machine on a hinged mount that is held in place by a magnet.
Pull out the lid/cap and attach it to the bottle provided (additional bottles are available) and put the whole assembly in the machine. There’s a button on top that releases the CO2 into whatever liquid you’ve put into the bottle. You can determine how much carbonation you want to add based on how many times you press that button on top.
What to carbonate?
The company states that you can carbonate almost any liquid in the bottle – and I just saw this as a challenge. Of course, the first thing I did was carbonate simple water, and that worked just fine. My wife, who seems to have some incredible taste buds for water, said she could taste the CO2 and that it was a bit different than a can of plain old carbonated water. I thought it was comparable to the carbonated water I got in the can from any brand.
The next thing we tried was the same basic thing, water, but with a variety of flavors that I happened to have around. I traditionally put them into plain carbonated water. We did peach and orange. I liked them as much as I do cans of water with similar flavors.
Now we’ve got a challenge. Next up, I carbonated some Rosé wine that I happened to have around. I can say that carbonated wine is quite fine. I also tried carbonating orange juice with the same success as plain old water. Let me tell you, this brings mimosas to another level!
One CO2 cylinder is said to be able to make about 60 liters of water. On Amazon, a single cylinder is $36, which means the beverages cost about 60¢ per liter based on that. Taking off my shoes so I can count to 20, I figured out that the equivalent of the 12-ounce cans of soda water that I enjoy cost about 20¢ each.
If I buy them as I normally do in 24 packs at the typical cost of $5.99 at our local grocery store, those work out to 25¢ each can, so I’m saving money. Furthermore, that doesn’t take into account the CRV (California Redemption Value) which I never see and really amounts to a tax.
Is it RV-worthy?
We’ve established that I can carbonate all sorts of things and that the cost is less than buying carbonated water in a can. But would I take this RVing? Absolutely!
First of all, while my counter space is at a premium in my small travel trailer, I actually do see a space-saving advantage by hauling the Drinkmate around instead of schlepping boxes of carbonated water. I can use the water from my tap which both I and my wife, who’s very particular about the flavor of water, enjoy when we’re using our Clear2O filter.
I can also do ridiculous things like carbonate tomato juice. (Just don’t. But I had to try it. It’s horrible.) But you can also carbonate ingredients in cocktails or just make fizzy water.
So I’m very happy the folks at Drinkmate reached out to me and I found an RV gadget that is actually quite a money- and space-saver in my own travel trailer. Anything that makes RVing more fun or easier is a plus. I’ll drink to that! But first, give me a moment so I can carbonate it.