What are the differences between club soda, tonic and sparkling water?

You’d assume that there should not be any misunderstanding when dealing with anything as easy and straightforward as water. Water is water, huh? Confusingly enough, it’s not like this. Living in a time when data is accessible via tiny portable devices that we carry in our pockets, it is only natural that things just cease to be simple—they are tampered with, changed and need clarification. And from this, water is not excluded.

When walking down the grocery store aisle, you might have found that when it comes to carbonated water (also referred to as bubbly water, sparkling water, club soda, soda water and seltzer), there are several choices. And this isn’t just a differentiation in regional terms, despite what you may think; it’s not the Europeans calling it sparkling, the New Englanders seltzer, and everyone else’s club soda. And then there’s tonic water as well—what is it anyway?

The true, bonafide difference between these types of water is there. And though there are very minor differences, one is enough for the waters to gain their own name, and so it’s worth getting to the bottom of.

Here’s what it takes you to remember. Club soda is carbonated water with added flavoring compounds. Club soda typically contains ingredients such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and potassium sulfate, but it does vary from brand to brand.

While club soda has zero calories and no caffeine, the content of sodium can differ depending on the liquid’s brand and serving size. Most club soda brands have under 5 percent of your daily sodium content, so if you drink club soda in moderation, you don’t have to worry about excessive sodium intake. There is a much more acidic, mineral taste to club soda than regular seltzer. It still boasts a clean and new flavor, however, and can be substituted for seltzer quickly.

For many drinks, club soda is a perfect mixer. Club soda, like a Tom Collins, a gin rickey, or a paloma, is a favorite of a few well-known beverages. To make non-alcoholic beverages, like Italian soda or bubbly lemonade, you can also use club soda. Were you aware? If you use club soda in your dough and batter recipes to substitute water or milk, the results will produce a more airy product. Who doesn’t like pancakes and waffles with fluff?

The outlier here is tonic wine. It tastes somewhat different, as it is carbonated and contains a lot of added minerals, such as club soda. The primary explanation for this is that something called quinine is present in it. This is a substance that comes from the bark of cinchona trees and to avoid malaria, it was introduced to water several years ago.

But quinine is very bitter, and luckily (back in the 19th century) a decent soul discovered that to make it more drinkable, it could do with a bit of sugar and carbonation. This is how we ended up today with the wonderful tonic water that you drink. Of all the water that I’ve mentioned, it certainly has the most recognizable and special taste!

Another thing that separates it from the other water types is that the added sugar contains calories. Thanks to its strong flavor, particularly vodka and gin-based drinks, tonic water actually makes a very good addition to cocktails. And with lemonade and juice, too it goes great.

Between the two, there is a noticeable difference. Mineral-like ingredients, unlike seltzer, are added to club soda to improve the taste. You will probably see potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate identified when you look at the list of ingredients. Nevertheless, without really being able to pick up on a difference in taste (though it can be noticed according to some), you might always substitute one for the other.

It does not mean that tonic water is in the same category as bubbly water only because it includes the word water in its name and is carbonated. Tonic water has a distinct taste, unlike the other carbonated alternatives, and it definitely can’t be substituted for carbonated water. Tonic water (a result of the addition of quinine) is a bitter drink that combines especially well with gin. Tonic also contains calories, unlike other waters,-about 130 for 12 fluid ounces.

Sparkling water is spring and well water without any support from us which is naturally carbonated!. Right now, sparkling mineral water is very famous. Indeed by 2021, sales are projected to exceed USD 6 billion per year. Due to all the minerals that influence the flavoring, sparkling mineral water is typically best consumed on its own.

Sparkling mineral water sales regulations are fairly stringent and the FDA specifies that it must have at least 250 parts per million dissolved solids from its original source (and not subsequently added) to pass its requirements. The amount of minerals in sparkling mineral water depends on the source where it’s been bottled, but they contain minerals such as sodium, calcium, magnesium, to name a few. The selection of mineral count and type suggests that each brand appears to have its own custom flavor similar to club soda.

What’s your choice? 

Check out my related post: What drinks to avoid for a flat stomach?


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