Doesn't that sound wonderfully pretentious?!? Well that is what I was offered at a restaurant in Sausalito, which got me thinking I want to be able to do that at home. After a bit of research, I discovered the Soda Club machine. Unlike old home soda siphons that made a single bottle with a small CO2 charger, this device has a large CO2 canister and is capable of carbonating up to 110 liters on a single tank. I bought mine online directly from the company for about $110, including shipping. It comes with 2 bottles used for carbonating and storing water, the complete system and about 20 little sample packets for making flavored sodas. I like the sparkling water so much, I have yet to even try the flavors, which include diet & sugar versions of cola, orange, lemon-lime, root-beer, etc.
Though I highly recommend the system, you should know that the CO2 tank, which they call the "Alco2Jet® carbonator" isn't something you buy, but rather "license" as they describe it. Put more simply, you have to exchange it to get a refill, otherwise they charge you $15. The replacement tank, including shipping and handling is about $30. From a financial perspective, I figure I'm breaking even or saving a bit on the first tank at about $1.00 per liter, which is roughly what I pay at Costco for San Pellegrino. Factor in not having to schlep 11 cases of water home, then out to recycling, and it's a win from day one...even more so when you consider the environmental benefits. Once we get into refills, the savings will be even greater.
Still, you may be wondering how's it taste? Excellent. I'm using regular Seattle tap water, sometimes filtered, but even that seems uneccesary...it tastes great and I can totally control how fizzy I make it. I found the trick to making smaller bubbles, like San Pellegrino, is to simply add less CO2. If you like a nice strong seltzer, pump it up.
So save a little money and help the environment...join the Soda Club!