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Power review: Soda plus, Waitrose grape and peach squash and a lovely Knob Creek highball

I had a couple of days ago a meeting with Craig - we will have a corporate bar workshop and Craig helps us to showcase the culinary wizary as he works for the supplier

Besides of a bag full of goodies he brought the Soda plus appliance - a piece I didn't encountered yet. Well he took the mouth quite full, that it is cheaper and better as the cream whippers (e.g. iSi) or Perlini... 

As I have to test it, before I show it to a bunch of high profile F&B guys, which are coming from across the GCC countries, I took it today to a test.

And as I shopped at Spinneys today, I thought it is a good thing to take their excellent apple elderflower squash back home; but wait, I just reviewed Darbo elderflower and I pretty we'll know the Waitrose product. So I took the gamble to buy the grape and peach variant.

And who doesn't know my very dear friend Knob Creek? If it comes to extra aged and extra toasted American whiskies, this is one of the best (especially if you put price value into consideration).

Ok...lets go to the action.

Well cleaning. Always wash your new appliances first. You don't know in which dusty corner they sat for how much time.

I added the squash into the Soda plus. It has a handy funnel,which ends in the metal container, well, where you should stop to pour (as all siphons, you need head space for the carbonation respective to let out the pressure). Then I've added a bit citric acid... We are making a soda here! I swirled it a bit around to dissolve the crystals. Then I added a good amount of ice and filled up with normal and still bottled water. 
I've added the ice, to ensure that the liquid will be cold enough for optimum carbonation. The colder the liquid, the more it can dissolve CO2.

I screwed on the lid, then the plastic case with the carbon dioxide cartridge. You could here it fizz. I though directly vented the Soda plus.
Dave Arnold explained in one of his blog posts, that carbonation is stronger in the absence of oxygen. Hence flashing the container once with CO2 will result to a better fizz; and who am I to question the illustrious Prof Arnold (at least in technical topics).
Then I added two more carbon dioxide cartridges and shook very strong and quite long.

You have to wait after shaking anything with CO2. At least a minute or so.
Then I vented the Soda plus and opened it. Poured it into a glass and Craig was right... Perfectly carbonated soda.

The squash:
As goog the elderflower apple squash is, the poor this is! The peach taste like bad peach - not intoxicating ripe beautiful peach. The grapes are in the background (which is ok - they might use the grape juice as sweetener). No no no. This is not, what I can suggest!

The drink:
A not so good product will result into an inferior drink. Fortunately Knob Creek is quite feisty- it's bold flavor and high alcohol content (50% abv if you'd ask) almost knocks the bad flavors of the syrup over. But well, you can still taste the fake peach. The drink is ok,  but with a better peach soda, it would be a revelation. You have to put it in perspective, the soda alone is still better than any commercial peach beverage I tried to date...

Maybe aromatic bitters could help?
I have got a better idea: a couple of drops liquid smoke - natural pecan.
I've bought 3 different bottles of liquid smoke and already tried it pretty successful in other drinks. Ad yes, it taste much better. The strange peach taste is gone and there is a subtle sweet smokiness - completely different than peat.
The drink still taste bourbon but the lingering hint of smokiness, makes the taste an occasion!

Te verdict:
Soda plus is a really great tool. With the big spout and the possibility to use ice, it is really THE carbonation tool. There are only two things, which are not bad, but definitely on my wish list:
2 more sizes would be great: a smaller one around 600 ml, which you could use for shaking(instead of the Perlini) and a larger one (2.5 or 3 liters), in which you could do much more quantity.
The number two of my wishes is: offer / develop an alternative CO2 filling system. For domestic use the small 4g CO2 cartridges are fine, but commercially it is an unnecessary cost and many small metal bulbs are bad for the environment!
The product itself is great!

The syrup? I think 'nuff said- only: I wouldn't buy it again!

The drink? Glorious! Even inferior peach works great with bourbon. And the hint of liquid smoke is some magic. I guess, that you could clarify frozen high quality peach purée and agar-agar clarify it. His said, my previous agar and milk clarifications where quite disastrous. I have to try it again and hope for the best.

Wow this was quite a post... Any questions or comments?


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