Brewed Up

Starbucks deems Houston part of its chosen land: Special new drinks debut here — with a fizz

Starbucks deems Houston its chosen land: Special new drinks debut here

Starbucks, Fizzio, sodas
Starbucks new Fizzio line of sodas includes lemon ale, root beer and ginger ale. Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Starbucks, grilled cheese sandwich
The grilled cheese sandwich is new for summer 2014 on the Starbucks menu. Photo courtesy of Starbucks
Starbucks, Fizzio, sodas
Starbucks, grilled cheese sandwich

Starbucks is selling new housemade sodas in 16 states, and Texas made the cut. Three flavors — spiced root beer, ginger ale and lemon ale — went on sale this week.

The sodas, which were tested last summer in Austin, are made with a trademarked machine called Fizzio that injects carbonation into whatever beverage it is applied to. Customers can specify the amount of fizz, from light to medium to extra fizzy.

The machine was developed by Starbucks and partner Cornelius, a pioneer in the carbonation world. Starbucks' machine is different from conventional soda machines in that it does not combine carbonated water with syrup. Instead, the beverage is mixed first, then carbonated. That means that, in addition to Starbucks' new sodas, you can also get that carbonation in its other cold drinks such as iced tea.

 Customers can specify the amount of fizz, from light to medium to extra fizzy.

The drinks are made to order and timed at 89 seconds to complete. Most Starbucks stores have had the machine on hand for experimentation and sampling.

One distinction between Starbucks' sodas and conventional drinks is that the Fizzio line contains no artificial flavors, preservatives or high-fructose corn syrup. It uses sugar instead. A 16-ounce drink has 100 calories.

The root beer is described as having flavors of cinnamon, nutmeg, clove and star anise. The ginger ale is supposed to be a "refreshing blend of real ginger, citrus and brown sugar." The lemon ale is promoted as a "citrus-forward blend of real lemon juice with hints of apricot and ginger."

Starbucks has also introduced two new flavors of Teavana iced tea: Black tea lemonade and blackberry mojito with blackberry, mint, green tea and lemonade. There are two new sandwiches too: Turkey pesto and grilled cheese.

The turkey pesto panino has turkey, provolone, roasted peppers and basil pesto on focaccia. The grilled cheese has a blend of three cheeses — white and yellow cheddar and mozzarella — on multi-grain bread.

In addition to Texas, Fizzio is available in Hawaii, Los Angeles, San Diego, Stockton, Modesto, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Nevada and Utah.