Although the secret recipe for Coca-Cola is known to fewer people than the U.S. nuclear arsenal’s launch codes, there are other, more expensive fizzy drinks whose exact ingredient ratios are proudly revealed on every label. Helpfully, several websites have aggregated this information into searchable databases, so that you can easily find the total dissolved solids in such premium sparkling waters as Perrier, Badoît, and Vichy.
IMAGE: Adding mineral salts to tap water, photo by Martin Lersch, Khymos.
What this means, at least if you are a scientifically literate mineral water lover with a brand-new Sodastream machine, such as Martin Lersch of the blog Khymos, is that you can clone your own mineral water at home. Lersch reports that he has been enjoying his own bootleg San Pellegrino for a couple of weeks now, and it “tastes great!”
To make things even easier for would-be water pirates, Lersch has created a mineral water calculator — a handy downloadable spreadsheet into which you simply enter your tap water composition (optional, but recommended for best results; your water company should provide this upon request) and select your preferred mineral water, in order to generate a printable ingredients list of minerals and salts.
The advanced search allows you to tweak the recipe to exclude hard-to-source ingredients — apparently many are easily found on Amazon or at aquarium supply stores, but food grade sodium bromide (used in cloned Hathorn water) is “next to impossible to find” and aluminium silicate, which is used in glass manufacturing and cloned Badoît, is rather expensive.
IMAGE: My recipe for cloned San Benedetto water, generated by Martin Lersch’s mineral water calculator (Excel spreadsheet).
After acquiring your terroir by mail order, you then simply weigh and measure your ingredients, dissolve them in your tap water, and play around with your Sodastream in order to match the level of carbonation (and thus acidity). After just twenty minutes aging in bottle, your guests will be enjoying the citrusy top notes characteristic of Badoit, the pleasant mineral tang of Perrier, or the slight saltiness of Vichy — each the liquid equivalent of Dolly the sheep. High-end hotels may pride themselves on having a water sommelier and suggested pairings, but serving a flight of water clones will undoubtedly guarantee that you win your next dinner party.
IMAGE: Martin Lersch recommends letting your freshly cloned mineral water age for twenty minutes in the bottle, to allow the mineral salts to dissolve fully. Photo by Martin Lersch, Khymos.