Every Sodastream–every machine, every tank, every flavor pack, and every bottle–comes with a warning: “CARBONATE WATER ONLY.” There’s a reason for that, as even a cursory YouTube search shows: try to, say, turn wine into sparkling wine at home, and you’re looking at a pretty epic fail. Sugars and alcohols in other drinks react differently–and more spectacularly–to being blasted with CO2 than just water. Try to use a Sodastream to carbonate some Hawaiian Punch and you’ll spend the rest of the day mopping your ceiling.
But that’s about to change. Sodastream, the Israeli maker of sparkling water devices, has just unveiled the Mix, a new, high-end carbonation machine. Designed by Yves Béhar’s Fuseproject, the Mix connects to the Internet and can carbonate pretty much any beverage. Debuting at Milan Design Week this month, Sodastream is marketing the Mix to “foodies, trendsetters, and mixologists,” but it can be used to do everything from making your own sparkling wine to recarbonating a flat bottle of soda.
And it looks good, to boot. With a splash of red and a body made out of brushed black metal, the Mix is designed to look as at home at a bar as it is next to a high-end espresso machine. An integrated touch screen lets you seamlessly swipe between different types of liquid, denoted with enticing images, from juice to alcohol. “I think at a party, any party, it’s going to be a conversation starter,” Béhar says in an interview.
Here’s how it works. The Sodastream Mix accesses a database in the cloud, so it knows not just how much CO2 is optimal for any liquid, but how slowly or quickly it should be blasted into the bottle to carbonate it perfectly. So while another Sodastream model might go off like a packet of Mentos dropped into a soda bottle if you tried to carbonate anything besides water, the Mix will precisely squirt carbon dioxide into the bottle until it’s carbonated perfectly. All it needs is to know what’s in the bottle.
To do that, the built-in touch screen allows you to select from your favorite carbonation recipes with a swipe and a tap. The Mix also comes with a companion app, which runs on iOS and Android and lets you browse recipes in the cloud, and push them to your Mix. Sodastream says that this database will be consistently updated with new recipes, many of which the company will pull from the community. So if you’d like to make your own Yoo-hoo at home, the Sodastream Mix could well accommodate you.
According to Yaron Kopel, Sodastream’s chief product innovation and design officer, the Mix started as Sodastream’s attempt to expand beyond carbonating water, but it soon became a whole new kind of product. “People try to carbonate everything, but the Sodastream only does water, so we needed to reinvent it,” he tells me by phone. “We decided if we were going to go that distance, we also needed to make something that was really enjoyable to use: a Sodastream for the 21st-century Internet-of-Things.”
The Sodastream Mix will go on sale in 2016. The price is not available yet.