If you’re experimenting with unofficial SodaStream flavours, Vimto is an obvious choice. A firm family favourite available in pre-made, syrup and official fizzy formats it’s a decent benchmark for working out whether SodaStream can equal the dizzy heights of a carbonated drinks factory.
Firstly though, what is Vimto? Well, to be entirely honest, I’m not sure. The label describes a ‘secret recipe’ before mentioning in the list of ingredients grape, blackcurrant, malt, spices and intriguingly ‘Anthocyanins’. Quite what the ratio of these ingredients is I can’t say, but what I can say is that to me, Vimto is a fruity, predominantly grapey kind of drink which reminds me of now banned (in the UK anyway) toxic eighties varieties and kool-aid and evokes an imagined ratio of 3 parts sunshine, 2 parts pot of honey, 1 part sherbet fountain.
It tastes fantastic and I have worked out that I like it more than most of my childhood favourites because of two early memories: 1) My mum wouldn’t get it for me except on special occasions as it was deemed too expensive for regular consumption. 2) One of my mate’s mums wouldn’t give it to me while pouring it for her son, explaining that she didn’t think I would like it. At the time this seemed like a reasonable opinion for an adult to have. Later I realised that she made this opinion up because while she deemed it affordable for family members, she felt it too expensive to give out will-nilly to visiting guests. Well, that’s base meanness of the most sneaky form, but the unintended result has been that Vimto is firmly in my mind as a forbidden drink and consequently, every time I drink it, I feel like I’ve finally hit the big time.
Vimto still cordial is a tasty beverage. Official fizzy Vimto is also something of a taste sensation. So, what about SodaStream fizzy Vimto?
Well, the good news is that it works. Classic Vimto flavours mixed with the pleasing refreshment that only carbonation can bring. A straight shot of fruit purity, shot through with enough sugar to send a kid running round the garden, brought in check by a fizz that sets the berries tingling on the tongue. The pleasing moreishness of grape and an aftertaste of wonderful glucose that never becomes toxic thanks to the searing sherbet sensation of ice cold fizz.
So, the cordial works as expected: It’s a great flavour to start with and adding fizz certainly does not hamper it, adding new dimensions to a classic syrup. With the manufactured Vimto flavours, I’m not necessarily sure that fizzy Vimto is better than still Vimto, they’re different, but equally good. With cordial made Vimto, the comparison is similar. Non-gassy Vimto is great and fizzy Vimto is definitely equally fantastic, so if you’re looking for fizz I would highly recommend mixing up a batch of this. It can definitely hold its head high alongside the best of the Official Soda Stream flavours and kicks seven shades out of some of the weaker efforts.
My only negative would be that so far I have not been able to equal the level of fizziness of manufactured fizzy Vimto with my home-made efforts. I reckon that though it tastes great now, if I could hit that level of carbonation, the drink would be better.
I’m going to keep trying… It’s a small negative in an overall great effort, but this is going to be a continuing theme for me in coming posts – can Sodastream ever get as much carbon dioxide in a bottle as a manufacturer? Is there a limit to the fizz I can apply and if so, will I be left with a) the ultimate bottle of pop, b) a perennally under fizzed bottle and a gas cylinder that makes about 5 drinks….. or c) a fizz explosion of dimension shattering proportions. Watch this space.