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Seltzer, Club Soda, Sparkling Water…

Is There Really A Difference?

If there wasn’t enough variation among waters already, now there are even more minute distinctions within the category of carbonated water itself. Should you buy seltzer or club soda? Which is better for use in a cocktail? What is tonic water and does it have any other purpose besides being the T in a G&T? We’ve answered all these questions and more in an effort to clarify this carbonated chaos. 

Seltzer Water

Composition: Seltzer water is the most basic form of carbonated water available. Unless artificially flavored, it’s made up of nothing but water and carbon dioxide. 

Characteristics: Seltzer is artificially carbonated. Because it doesn’t have a high mineral content, it has no particular taste.

Uses: Enjoy seltzer on its own, or infuse it with lime or your favorite fruits for a refreshing beverage.

Club Soda

Composition: Club soda contains water, carbon dioxide, and certain sodium salts in order to mimic the flavor of natural mineral water. 

Characteristics: Club soda is artificially carbonated. Because of its high sodium content, it may have a slightly stronger taste than plain seltzer water. 

Uses: Club soda can be enjoyed on its own, though it’s commonly used as a mixer for your favorite cocktails. 

Sparkling Mineral Water

Composition: Mineral water is sourced from natural bodies of water that are rich in beneficial minerals. Certain minerals, like magnesium and calcium, have many healthy properties when found in water, as they increase H2O’s ability to transport nutrients and toxins in and out of your body.

Characteristics: Sparkling mineral water can either be naturally carbonated or artificially injected with carbon dioxide. Due to its high mineral content, it often has a distinct taste depending on where the water was sourced from. 

Uses: Sparkling water is best enjoyed on its own or infused with your favorite flavors. Because of its stronger taste, it is not recommended for use in cocktails. 

Tonic Water

Composition: Tonic water is a soft drink infused with dissolved quinine powder. Originally used by the British to treat malaria, quinine is highly bitter, so tonic water is often sweetened with artificial sugars in order to temper its bite. 

Characteristics: Though tonic water today is sweetened and contains only trace amounts of quinine, it still carries a uniquely bitter taste.

Uses: Tonic water is mostly used as a mixer in cocktails, most commonly in conjunction with gin. Vodka tonics, another popular tonic/liquor combination, are another way to enjoy this unique beverage. 

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