What’s sparkling water, aka carbonated water or seltzer water? Is it good for you? Here’s what you need to know about this bubbly beverage.
Bubbly sparkling water has exploded onto the scene, and these days grocery store shelves are loaded with dizzying colorful cans from LaCroix to Sprindrift. But what is it exactly, and how is it different from carbonated water or seltzer? Is it good for you and your teeth? How is it different from club soda? Here we’ll break down the technical terminology and clear up the health benefits (spoiler: don’t worry about your teeth!). And, we’ll share some of our favorite cocktail recipes starring this bubbly mixer.
What is sparkling water? What’s carbonated or seltzer water?
What is sparkling water? Is it the same thing as carbonated water or seltzer water? What about club soda? Here are some of the differences between these very similar products:
- Sparkling water, aka seltzer water, soda water, or carbonated water is water with no additives, carbonated by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2). It’s the base for brands like La Croix, or what comes out of a SodaStream.
- Sparkling mineral water is water from a natural mineral spring that’s been carbonated. Examples of brands are Perrier or Topo Chico.
Keep in mind, many sparkling water brands have added flavors or sweeteners. Make sure to look for brands with no additives for your regular drinking, or if you’re using it for a cocktail that calls for soda water.
Then what’s club soda? And tonic water?
Sparkling water has a few differences from other types of carbonated beverages. Here’s what to know about club soda and tonic water:
- Club soda is carbonated water infused with added minerals, which give it a salty or lightly sweet flavor. Club soda is most often used for cocktails. Stick to sparkling water for your regular drinking.
- Tonic water is carbonated water with added quinine and sugar. It was first sold commercially in the 1850’s as a way to drink quinine, prescribed at the time to fight malaria. It tastes sweet and bitter, and is mostly used in cocktails, like the classic gin and tonic.
Is sparkling water good for you?
Yes, as long as you stick to unflavored sparkling water with no additives and sugars! Sparkling water is just as hydrating as still, and some studies show it may have benefits for digestion.
Is sparkling water bad for your teeth? No, as long as its plain and unflavored. The American Dental Association indicates studies show that water and sparkling water have the same minimal impact on tooth enamel. Even better, it’s much better for your teeth than sugary drinks and soda. Keep in mind, though: citrus-flavored waters do have higher acid levels that increase the risk of damage to your enamel, so try to enjoy them in one sitting or with meals.
Can you make carbonated water at home?
Yes! There are lots of home carbonation systems on the market, due to the massive interest in sparkling water. The advantage to these systems? There’s much less aluminum can or bottle waste! We use a SodaStream to make our own water on demand.
Popular cocktails with sparkling water
Sparkling water or seltzer water have been used in cocktails for hundreds of years. You can use club soda interchangeably in cocktail recipes since it’s so similar. Add bubbles to wine and you’ve got a wine spritzer! Add it to gin and you’ve got a Gin Rickey. There are so many tasty drinks try: here are some of the most popular:
This iconic Cuban drink is one of the greats, popularized by Ernest Hemingway in the 1930's. Here’s a recipe for it that’s spot on perfection: not too sweet, bubbly, and minty fresh.
The gin rickey cocktail was born in the 1880s and has been popular ever since. Here's a mocktail version of it featuring sparkling water and raspberry syrup!
Cousin to the Vodka Tonic, the vodka soda is even more tart and refreshing. Just lime, vodka and sparkling water make the best hydrating combination!
This nostalgic classic cocktail that’s about as classic as it gets! This tall highball drink is a gin sour, a sweet and sour drink made with gin, lemon and sparkling water.
Here’s a refreshing way to drink your favorite whiskey: the classic Whiskey Highball with sparkling water! This two-ingredient cocktail originated around the turn of the 20th century and it’s still popular to this day.
Diluting wine with sparkling water started back in the 19th century, as a way to make bubbly wine. The name comes from the German word “spritzen,” meaning “to spray.”
The spritz was invented back in the 1800’s in Italy as a way to water down sparkling wine by mixing in…well, water! It wasn’t until the 1950’s that the Aperol spritz took the form it has today, with Aperol, Prosecco, and sparkling water.
A Southside is a classy cocktail made with mint, lemon, lime, gin, and sparkling water. The best way to describe it? A Mojito with gin!
Vodka Soda with Sparkling Water
- Prep Time: 2 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 2 minutes
- Yield: 1 drink 1x
Try this Vodka Soda recipe: a tangy, bubbly drink! It’s light and refreshing, with slightly less calories than the typical cocktail.
- 2 ounces (¼ cup) vodka
- ½ ounce (1 tablespoon) lime juice
- 4 ounces (½ cup) soda water
- Ice, for serving (try clear ice)
- Place the vodka and lime juice in a highball or lowball glass and add ice.
- Top off with soda water and enjoy.
- Category: Drink
- Method: Stirred
- Cuisine: Cocktails
- Diet: Vegan
Keywords: Sparkling water, Carbonated water
More drink guides & resources
Need more guides? We’ve got them! Here’s what you need to know about these drink ingredients:
- Tonic Water Guide What you need to know about this bubbly mixer!
- Orgeat Syrup Guide This almond flavored syrup adds nuanced flavor to cocktails and mocktails.
- Grenadine Quick Guide It’s mistaken as cherry, but this bright syrup has a secret.
- Club Soda vs Seltzer Learn about the differences of these similar beverages.
- 15 Fantastic Club Soda Cocktails The best club soda cocktails to make with this bubbly mixer! There’s something for everyone, from classic drinks to modern spins.
Don’t use seltzer or sodastream water for drinks like fizzes (e.g., gin fizz, Ramos fizz, amaretto fizz). The basic minerals (pH >7, such as bicarb) react with the acid of the citrus to contribute to the excellent, creamy foam.
Gave me some great ideas..and so informative re. different waters..