Futuristic soda fountain dispenses new versions of old favorites

Who hasn’t mixed the different drinks from a soda fountain to create a special (and hopefully tasty) concoction? Coca-Cola’s futuristic Freestyle soda fountain takes combining drinks and flavors to a new level.

The Freestyle machine, which was first introduced three years ago, lets you chose from more than 120 beverages by using an interactive touch screen. You can even enjoy drinks that you won’t find in bottles, like Vanilla Sprite Zero.

Here’s how it works: Press the brand of beverage that you want, be it Powerade, Dasani, Minute Maid, Diet Coke etc. You will be taken to another screen that gives you even more options. Fanta Lime? Why not. Caffeine-Free Diet Coke with Orange? You can have that too. The machine pulls the necessary flavoring from small plastic cartridges and mixes them to create your drink. Push the button to dispense your drink.

SeriousEats.com did the work and tried all 127 variations. Some seem delicious (like Coke Zero Lemon) while others should be left for adventurous taste buds (Peach Fanta got a particularly sour review).  

More than 800 restaurants now use a Freestyle machine, and some are beginning to experiment by added booze to the mix, although not in the machine itself. Taco Mac, an Atlanta-based restaurant chain, is “piloting a test” for Coca-Cola that involves mixing drinks from the Freestyle dispenser with tequila, vodka, rum and Jack Daniels, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. At restaurants like Taco Mac, the members of the wait staff make the drinks in the kitchen, so don’t expect a do-it-yourself Jack and coke free-for-all.

Check out this video demonstration of the machine.