You love your SodaStream machine, but you’d really like a good alternative to the SodaStream syrups that isn’t as much work as making your own syrups from scratch. Making syrup might not be the most difficult thing in the world, but when your schedule fills up it’s one of the first things you’ll stop doing.
Snow cone syrup is one of the best alternatives to SodaStream syrups. It comes in many different flavors, including commercial soda flavors, and when bought in bulk it’s far more cost effective. You can probably also find a retailer closer to you than Israel, so you’ll be reducing your impact on the environment while you’re saving money.
Before you run off to Google the best shops for snow cone syrup, there are a few things you need to know about using snow cone syrup to make soda.
Syrup vs. Concentrate
You’ll find that snow cone flavoring actually comes in two forms: syrup and concentrate. Syrup is already sweetened and great if you really want to minimize effort, but concentrate is cheaper, lighter and allows you to choose your own sweetener.
The important thing to remember is that if you choose syrup, you’ll have to dilute it at a ratio of 1:6 with carbonated water instead of the 1:24 ratio you’re used to using with your SodaStream syrups. With concentrate you can make a syrup that dilutes at the same ratio as SodaStream syrups.
In general, it’s easier to start with syrups!
Where to Find Snow Cone Flavoring
There are many different places to get snow cone flavoring, from small specialty shops to massive companies which sell massive amounts of snow cone syrup. You can do some poking around for a good retailer near you, but most syrups can be found on Amazon and they tend to have the best prices.
All Hawaiian Shaved Ice flavored syrups come ready-to-use. You do not need to add sugar or water to the syrup.
This is a premium syrups come sweetened with a squeeze top for easy pouring.
Ready-to-use syrups come sweetened in larger sizes, and unsweetened concentrates come in large cartons.
Their premium syrups come sweetened (sugar-free options available) and concentrates are unsweetened. Both come in smaller packaging.
These top-rated syrups are sweetened and come in a variety of flavors.
There are literally dozens of snow cone syrup flavors available, including everything from Citrus Paradise, to Cola, to Wedding Cake, which tastes essentially like vanilla cake.
You’ll probably want to explore the different flavors yourself. The only thing to keep in mind is that many of the citrus flavors taste more like citrus candy than citrus soda. This is easily solved by adding a small amount of citric acid to each batch. You’ll find citric acid to be readily available on eBay and also inexpensive.
Choosing a Sweetener
If you’re using a concentrate to make your own syrup, you’ll need a sweetener. Your first instinct might be to grab for the sugar, but that might not be a great idea. Sugar is a low-intensity sweetener, which means if you use pure sugar you’ll have to adjust your dilution ratio. All in all, sugar can be a bit complicated.
What you want instead is a high-intensity sweetener. These products are far sweeter than sugar and many are 0 calories. The intensity of their sweetness makes them perfect for a strong syrup that you can use at the 1:24 dilution level.
Most of these sweeteners are artificial, so if you’re trying for all natural products, you might prefer to adjust the dilution level and use sugar.
Here are some of the most popular options for artificial sweeteners:
Aspartame is falling out of favor these days because of suspected negative health effects but is still used in most diet sodas. It’s also fairly easy to find, usually in a powdered form.
This sweetener has a bad reputation because it was once suspected to be a carcinogenic, but that theory has since been disproved. It’s still banned in a number of countries, but it can be purchased online and used to make soda.
The only natural sweetener on this list, stevia is a sweet-tasting herb native to Central and South America. The plant itself has an incredibly sweet taste but a bitter after taste. Many sellers mix it with other sweeteners to get around it. Some refine the raw plant to take out the bitterness. Many retailers have stevia in stock but aren’t selling the highest quality product, which makes purchase tricky—and can result in soda that doesn’t taste very good.
Created from sugar, sucralose is the primary sweetener in SodaStream diet soda recipes and has a much better reputation than aspartame because there aren’t so many question marks about its effects. Sucralose is pretty easy to find in its pure form online.
When it comes to artificial sweeteners, we recommend looking online first. Many grocery store products are actually blends of different sweeteners, which can make creating the perfect syrup for your soda pretty tricky. You can usually find most of these sweeteners on eBay.
Creating the Snow Cone Syrup From Concentrate
Once you’ve chosen your snow cone flavoring, follow these steps to create a syrup that’s about the same strength as what you’d get in a SodaStream mix:
1. Start with around 350ML of water. You want to make sure adding concentrate and sweetener won’t put you over 500ML or the dilution ratio will be different.
2. Optional: Add citric acid if you’re working with a citrus flavor.
3. Add sweetener. Choose one of the following measurements:
- 4.0 g (0.14 oz) saccharin (powder or tablets)
- 150 ml (2/3 cup) saccharin (Sweet ‘n Low 2.67% solution)
- 4.8 g (0.17 oz; 1.9 tsp) stevia (refined powder)
- 8.0 ml (1.6 tsp) sucralose (25% solution)
- 2.0 g (0.071 oz; 0.5 tsp) sucralose (powder)
4. Add your favorite snow cone flavoring–you’ll want to use 62.5 ML (2.11 fl. oz.; 1/4 cup)
5. Top it off with water so your final amount is 500ml.
You can adjust the recipe to make more or less syrup as needed, but making much less will be difficult because of the small measurements you’ll need to make. You’ll also want to refrigerate the syrup so it lasts a while longer.
The exact shelf life depends on which sweetener you use, but you probably shouldn’t make more than the amount you’ll realistically use in a month. Of course, if you accidentally make too much, you can put it in the freezer and it should last longer.
Using snow cone syrup is often the best way to make great soda in all different flavors without going through all the trouble of making your own syrup from scratch. As long as you purchase in bulk and choose the right retailer, it’s also much more cost-effective and environmentally friendly than using regular SodaStream mixes. Even better, you can use the SodaStream syrup bottles to contain your new flavors.