Group Home Tech Editor, Tech AdvisorJUL 4, 2023 9:06 am BST
Image: Emma Rowley / Foundry
At a glance
Revives flat drinks
Save money on flavours
Trial and error operation
Drinkmate’s OmniFizz does exactly what it promises and carbonates almost any liquid you’d care to drink – and many you wouldn’t. It’s much more versatile than rival products and much more powerful as well.
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What sets the Drinkmate OmniFizz apart from the SodaStream, or most commonly available sparkling water makers, is that you can use it to carbonate anything.
Anything? Well, I wouldn’t try ketchup or paint – but among the suggestions from Drinkmate are tea and wine. Here’s what happened when we tested it.
Design and build
Vented carbonating lid
The OmniFizz looks and works much like a SodaStream. Unlike the SodaStream E-Terra, which we recently reviewed, it’s not a plug-in device and it doesn’t have additional features to rival the E-Terra’s blue illumination.
The OmniFizz is tall, and a little deeper than it is wide (40 x 19 x 12cm/ 16 x 7.5 x 4.7in) but it’s a slender device that will be easy to find a spot for on a kitchen counter.
It’s almost entirely made of matt plastic, which doesn’t do much for it aesthetically, in black at least. However, there are three other colour options – red, white and arctic blue – which would bring a fun pop of colour to a bar or kitchen counter.
The machine’s design itself is simple. Although it’s lacking in stylistic flourishes, it has a pleasingly curved shape. Its only control is a large, silver-coloured button on top, which you press for carbonation.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The back panel pops out easily so you can screw in a gas cylinder. And at the front is the carbonating bottle attachment, which you angle up to slot in the bottle.
The bottle is where you’ll spot a design difference from SodaStream machines – and it’s one that’s vital to the Drinkmate’s claim of being able to carbonate any drink. Instead of attaching the bottle straight into the machine, you first attach the carbonating lid.
Emma Rowley / Foundry
The lid is fitted with a pressure valve, which will allow you to carbonate more viscous, alcoholic or sugary liquids without damaging the machine or creating a Mentos-and-Coke style volcano. When you remove the bottle from the machine, you then open the pressure valve to release some of the carbonating gas before taking off the lid.
The venting lid is a little bit of genius, and it really does work.
I tested the $142.99/ £109.99 Drinkmate with cylinder bundle so, in the box, along with the machine itself, I got a 1 litre plastic bottle and lid, and a 60-litre carbonating cylinder.
Trial and error
Use with cold liquid
The first thing to say about using the Drinkmate is that there’s a fair bit of trial and error involved. This is partly because it’s much more powerful than rivals, with each press delivering a serious punch of CO2.
Still, if you’re only carbonating water, you’ll quickly learn how many times to press the button, and for how long.
But any other liquid you use will require a different amount of carbonation. The Drinkmate is light on instructions, but there are a few useful tips in the manual’s troubleshooting section.
The first is to use cold liquids (up to 5.5°C) for best results, so refrigerate any drinks you want to carbonate. The second tip is to use short pumps of the button when trying out new drinks. It’s also a good idea to wait ten seconds after carbonating before releasing the pressure, to give the CO2 the best chance of mixing with the liquid.
And it’s best not to fill the bottle more than half way – especially if you’re carbonating alcoholic drinks.
What’s great about it is that there’s no need to buy mixers or cordials. You’ll also be able to carbonate any juices or squashes you have at home, right in the bottle. You need to use pulp-free juices, however.
But if you’re partial to a specific flavour, you’ll still be able to use it with the OmniFizz, and you can even add it before carbonation.
You can also use the OmniFizz to add fizz back to flat mixers. And you can go further. In fact, one of the suggested drinks to add fizz to is wine, which means you could revive old Prosecco to use in cocktails.
But you can also use it to create more experimental drinks. So I did.
I brewed a pot of tea as I usually would, then added sugar and lemon and put it in the fridge. Once it was cool, I poured it into the Drinkmate’s carbonating bottle and fizzed it.
The resulting tea was very definitely carbonated and not entirely horrible. I added ice and lemon and pretended to like it.
The next drink to get the treatment was flat Coke. If you can revive all the dead drinks in your fridge, that’s a very good reason to buy the Drinkmate. And it is possible to restore the fizz to Coke, but it’s tricky – and you need to be careful not to overfill the bottle or overdo the carbonation.
After that, I tried a glass of wine. Ideally, I’d be reviving flat Prosecco or Champagne but what I had was a Pinot Grigio blush, so that’s what I carbonated.
On my first go, the carbonation process gave it a head of froth similar to a badly poured pint. My second attempt was better and produced a lightly fizzed glass of wine that, while it would almost certainly earn me a lifelong ban from entering France, was perfectly drinkable.
It was at this point that my thirst for knowledge overcame my scruples (“Your scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should” etc) and I got a jug of milk from the fridge.
Can you carbonate milk? As it turns out, you can. Milk carbonates very well, with a rich, cloud-like layer of froth mounting over the fizzing liquid.
But you shouldn’t. No one should ever do this again. It’s hard to adequately describe the unpleasantness of creamy, bubbly milk fizzing against the tongue. Consider yourself warned.
Price and availability
If you’re in the US, you can buy the OmniFizz with a bottle and gas cylinder for $142.99. It’s available direct from Drinkmate or from Amazon.
This makes it a pricier option than SodaStream’s basic model, the Terra but cheaper than most other models.
In the UK, the Drinkmate OmniFizz is available direct from the brand for £109.99 for the machine, bottle and a gas cylinder, but there are other bundle options that may prove more cost-effective.
You can also buy it from Amazon and Lakeland, but bear in mind that the latter is only less expensive as you won’t get a gas cylinder with it. There’s no price advantage to buying from any retailer at this stage.
In the UK, it’s less expensive than SodaStream’s current basic model, the Terra, which is available for £109.99 – although there’s a bundle deal on at the time of writing that will get you a spare bottle and two bottles of flavouring for £79.99.
Replacement cylinders cost $59.99/ £45.98 for a pair. This makes them more expensive than SodaStream cylinders, which are $16.99 each in the US and £22.99 each in the UK. They become a little cheaper if you buy a four-pack but not by much.
But they become better value if you return your used gas cylinders. It’s a fairly simple process. In the US, you can ship them straight back to Drinkmate. You can find out more on the Drinkmate site.
In the UK, you’ll need to print out a returns label on the Drinkmate website and then take your used cylinders – you’ll need at least two – to any of the 10,000 UK shops offering a Collect+ service. Drinkmate will also accept threaded (but not the new easy-insert) SodaStream cylinders.
When your cylinders arrive with Drinkmate, the company will send you a money-off voucher for more cylinders. The voucher amount is large, relative to the cost of the cylinders in the first place.
Send in two cylinders and you’ll receive a $20/ £16 voucher, three will net you $35/ £25 off and four will get you a $55/ £36 coupon. This will reduce the price of a cylinder to around $19.99/ £14.99. It’s still a little pricier than SodaStream but not by much. And, as you won’t be locked in to buying branded flavourings, it’s probably the most budget-friendly option overall.
The Drinkmate is a much more powerful and versatile option than rival sparkling water makers. While its plasticky build isn’t the most attractive option on the market, its performance more than makes up for it. It is hugely powerful and the clever venting lid means that you can carbonate anything from apple juice to flat beer.
Just remember to use its powers for good, and stay away from the milk.
Emma is Group Home Tech Editor at Tech Advisor. She covers everything from kitchen appliances to smart home devices, from floor care to personal care to air care technology. She’s particularly interested in environmentally conscious brands and products that save people time and money.