What’s the Difference Between Club Soda, Seltzer, and Sparkling Water?
Bubbles. The way a perfectly fizzy cocktail can send those tiny sparkles up into your nose as you take your first sip. The way a drink can have the quietest effervescent hum. The heroes behind this almost magical quality?
Cousins of the cocktail world, if you will. But not the same. And typically, not entirely interchangeable. Flavor, ingredients, level of carbonation…so what is the difference between club soda, seltzer, and sparkling water? Use our handy guide below to determine which bubbly water is best for your bar!
The best part of club soda is the slightly salty, mineral flavor. We have several additions to thank: we’ll call them “mineral-esque”, and they include sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), sodium citrate (known as “sour salt”), potassium sulfate (to balance the acidity), and carbon dioxide adds the bubbles. These subtle notes of mineral flavor can bring out the best in your mixed drinks, whether your liquor of choice is bourbon, gin, rum, vodka…think classic cocktails like a Tom Collins (sweet, sour, and crisp) or a mojito (fresh and minty).
Recipe – serves 1
- 2 oz dry gin
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 1 oz lemon juice (half a squeezed lemon)
- 4 oz club soda
- Maraschino cherry (optional for garnish)
- Add gin, syrup, and lemon juice to a cocktail shaker with 4 ice cubes.
- Shake well until chilled.
- Strain into a highball glass filled with ice.
- Top with your club soda.
- Add maraschino cherry for a garnish.
Seltzer is carbonated water. An important note is that originally, seltzer differed from sparkling water in its origin — sparkling water only came from (naturally) sparkling sources, while seltzer was artificially carbonated. While the word comes from German, seltzer’s modern birth is often debated between a brewery in Leeds, England (leave it to the beer folks to bring us another great beverage), and Germany…interestingly, around the same time, between the 1730’s-1760’s. These days, seltzer is perfect any time you want to make a wine spritzer or other liquor-based spritzer. (And yes, spritzer is also a German word, to refer to a drink made with…seltzer). Ah seltzer, you timeless beauty.
Recipe – Serves 1
- 4 oz white wine
- 2 oz seltzer
- 1 oz lemonade
- Fill a highball glass with ice
- Pour in the white wine and add club soda
- Top with lemonade
Drumroll please. Sparkling water is…also carbonated water. Exciting? Maybe not. Effective? Absolutely. The carbonation in sparkling water can occur naturally, or it can be added. Think San Pellegrino, Spindrift, and LaCroix. Sparkling water can also be plain or flavored, so feel free to get creative with some of the flavored options, they can really add to a cocktail!
Recipe – serves 2
- 4 oz tequila
- 2 limes, freshly squeezed
- 8 oz cayenne kombucha (we like the HealthAde brand in Cayenne Cleanse)
- 4 oz pineapple flavored sparkling water
- Mix all the ingredients but the sparkling water in a shaker.
- Pour over ice into a tumbler or margarita glass
- Top with sparkling water
No matter which sparkly sip suits your needs, visit your local Cox’s & Evergreen to stock your bar. Long live the bubbles. Cheers!