Kate Krader (@kkrader on Twitter) is Food & Wine's restaurant editor. When she tells us where to find our culinary heart's desire, we listen up.
Of all the 10 billion pieces of World Cup paraphernalia out there, the one I love the best is Pepsi’s #FUTBOLNOW soda machine. The vending machine doubles as a video game: Users can show off their skills and if they’re good enough, the interactive machine will award free sodas. Sadly, the only one of the limited-edition machines in the U.S. is at the Dallas airport.
But in non–World Cup news, there is a lot going on in the world of soda, like the Diet Coke Flirt Machine in London, and the 146-flavor Freestyle vending machine. There’s enough going on that it’s time to take stock and offer up these new soda commandments.
Think Low-Sugar Sodas
Recently, a new crop of carbonated beverages have appeared, and they boast low sugar and no artificial chemicals. Organic Oogavé sodas are sweetened with agave and come in flavors like watermelon-cream, strawberry-rhubarb and mandarin–Key lime.
Dry Soda Co. creates super-refreshing beverages that clock in at less than 70 calories per serving and have about 25-30% of the amount of sugar that typical soda does. Plus, the Seattle-based company supports local farms by sponsoring events in the Pacific Northwest. Fizzy Lizzy’s beverages consist solely of fruit juice and carbonated water, with no added sugars, in fun flavors like Fuji apple, grapefruit and tangerine–passion fruit.
DIY Your Sodas
Thanks to at-home carbonators like the SodaStream and the SodaSparkle, DIY–soda and seltzer is super popular these days. If you really want to step up your homemade soda game, try all-natural syrups from the Brooklyn-based P&H Soda Co. in flavors like hibiscus, ginger and sarsaparilla or an Old Fashioned Soda Kit ($85), which comes with flip-top glass bottles, stainless steel straws and funnel and a choice of syrup (choose from lemon, pomegranate, root beer or cherry cola). Shortcut: Mix syrups or flavorings with store-bought seltzer.
Make Carbonated Cocktails
If you do have an at-home soda maker, it probably includes strict warnings not to carbonate anything but plain water. But innovators like Piper Kristensen and Dave Arnold of Booker & Dax and Gregory Brainin of the Jean-Georges Restaurants group, are experimenting with other liquids, like fruit juice, wine and other alcohols (think carbonated Negronis or herb-infused soda). The New York Times has more on how to hack your soda machine.
Once upon a time, cities had soda fountains like the Corner Pharmacy in Leavenworth, Kansas. And now, some have them again. Brooklyn Farmacy & Soda Fountain fully embraces old-fashioned drinks like house-made coffee soda, and chocolate and vanilla egg creams. If you’re not in Brooklyn, the new Farmacy cookbook, "The Soda Fountain: Floats, Sundaes, Egg Creams & More," will no doubt be helpful.
Forget Straws (unless they’re sustainable)
Mario Batali and his restaurant group made headlines recently when they announced their plan to institute a “straws upon request policy” in all of their restaurants. They also replaced plastic straws with compostable paper ones, and plastic stirrers with bamboo. The group’s sustainability guru, Elizabeth Meltz, launched this initiative after estimating that Batali restaurants went through more than 250,000 straws and stirrers per year, and came up with this initiative to reduce plastic waste.
Of course, there are great eco-options for home mixologists as well: metal, glass or compostable paper straws. (The metal ones have become an obsession with my Food & Wine colleagues.)
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You need to stay hydrated, might as well make it interesting
How I kicked my Coke habit
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Water is good for you.
I'd keep the carcinogenetic ingredients a secret too
Secret formula or not, I still don't like Coke anymore. After the "New Coke" debacle, it has never tasted the same as it did in the 50's. You couldn't beat a 6.5oz. (short bottle) for taste. It's not the same anymore:(
All gimmicks and marketing. I suppose no one involved in production, including the machines, are aware of this "super duper secret"? Give me a break.
If I want something fizzy, I drink seltzer. Nothing wrong with that.
Yes there is, if you want taste.
Be careful crittermom2. As I pointed out in an earlier comment: Do a web search for effects of carbonated water on health. You'll find that the carbon dioxide in any carbonated beverage breaks down into carbonic acid, creating acidic blood that is known to be the main cause of hardening of the arteries.
Way to go dfwelch. Gives me hope. I stopped 2 weeks ago. Drinking water in place of. Even though I only drank diet caffeine free products, I had a headache for 3 days.
I made the first NY resolution I've ever made (at nearly 44 years old) and gave up soda this year. In a week, I'll be able to brag about having been soda-free for 6 months. But that's just about the only advantage I can claim, so far. Haven't really lost weight since, but I'm not giving up the fight!
Good for you! I find that when I stop drinking diet coke I have less overall aches and pains, need less advil, etc. Maybe you just haven't noticed?
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