Soda water. Pop. Bubbly, fizzy colas, ginger ales, soft drinks. They were originally natural water, and then slowly but surely became major beverage industries, with huge brands and recognizable logos. 1835 is perhaps a good starting place for bottled soda water in the USA, though soda fountains came a bit earlier, and it wasn’t until 1965 that vending machines started to become popular spots to grab a drink thanks to the aluminum cans that started catching on only a few years prior. And now, you don’t need any of them- with home carbonation, you can create your own recipes, infusions, even sparkling cocktails.
The Bonne O Carbonated & Mixed Beverage Maker calls itself the “world’s first home carbonation system that carbonates all ingredients in the bottle for intense pressure-infused flavor”. Unlike competitors, there is no CO2 tank required, and instead you’ll need to use (and stock up on) carbonator tablets. There is also no manual pumping required- a single button press makes the magic happen- but this means that you have a little less control over the end results. Plus, it does require an outlet to be handy, where other models on the market can be used at the picnic table or on the porch or patio.
We’ve tested out others, and were very curious about this unusual method- and first impressions were fairly positive. The Bonne O is cute, though bulkier than we expected, largely thanks to the front portion of the unit where you first unscrew a lid, put in some water, and toss in a tablet before screwing it shut again. Then take your bottle and twist the large knob on the top of the other section down to lock everything together before pressing the only button and watching it go. It takes awhile- a couple of minutes longer than, say, a Sodastream- but once you’ve figured it all out, the process is simple and the sodas are fine. We liked that the bottles have caps at both ends that come off for easy cleaning- but the bottles are available in plastic only, in one style, though BPA-free and dishwasher safe. One note: the Bonne O is surprisingly loud.
Other systems suggest that you use only water- nothing else- when carbonating. With Bonne O, you have more flexibility, and can make your wine or liquor effervescent though it does need to be very cold. We had issues trying to use tap water, which wasn’t cold enough- they suggest 59 degrees F at the warmest, which meant we had to use refrigerated liquids. Bonne O also sells some pre-made syrups which you can add to a bottle, in flavors like root beer and orange. They are better than we anticipated, thanks to cane sugar only sweeteners (others use artificial sweeteners), and are fairly price competitive too. As an alternative, it’s certainly intriguing- but the limitations meant that it was less useful for everyday regular seltzer water. Available in some retailers, the Bonne O is also available online, for around $160.