Or how I slashed my bottled water bill from $100 a month to $12.99.

SodaStream - Sparkling water with European style

SodaStream – Sparkling water with European style

BY ALEX COLBY. It looks like the love child of Darth Vader and the acid-dripping monster queen from the Alien movies. It’s too tall to fit in the appliance garage or beneath the cupboards above the kitchen bench so it sticks out like the proverbial. Its sci-fi styling clashes with everything in the room. Its CO2 gas carbonation system makes indecorous farting noises whenever I use it. But I still love my “Evolution”-model SodaStream machine because I love sparkling water and I drink it every day.

I blame my SodaStream fixation, like many of my indulgent habits, on a long sojourn in Europe in my youth. There, you find sparkling water everywhere you go. The French have many brands of l’eau pétillante or l’eau gazeuse; the Italians also have molto brands of acqua minerale, especially in the chic spa towns, and even the Germans like it: think seltzer water. It’s a civilised accompaniment to dining and an aid to digestion.

When I returned to New Zealand I quickly picked up on SodaStream, which under its then-ownership featured dinky little washable glass bottles. The company’s fortunes flagged for a while in the 1990s and a global craze for bottled water took over, so I cheerfully bought local and overseas water brands that a cost-conscious friend told me cost more per litre than petrol. At one point – because I can drink up to three litres of sparkling water a day – I was spending around $100 a month.

And then the Great Recession arrived. Bumped down to drinking eau de Waikato tap water, I figured that a sound economic argument could be made for investing $69 in a new SodaStream machine from Farmers. Revisiting the product range after some time I found that the styling of the drinks makers had improved and the reusable high-pressure bottles (made from BPA-free and polycarbonate-free plastic) had grown into a handy one-litre size.

The company also puts more emphasis these days on its flavoured syrups and concentrates – but since I’m a soda water-purist I ignore these – and a lot of emphasis on its sustainability credentials, which are backed by independent research. Some things haven’t changed though: once a month I trot into Farmers to swap an empty SodaStream CO2 gas cylinder for a full one. It currently costs me $12.99.

Not so long ago I stayed at a flash luxury lodge in the South Island whose host and hostess mentioned how much sparkling water they go through because their international clientele demands it. I quietly told them how I had slashed my bottled water bill. I saw the light go on. Never mind the farting noises, I said, just get busy with the fizzy.

Photo: John Corbett