Club Soda Vs Seltzer Vs Sparkling Water: How Are They Different?

Informational

Club soda vs Seltzer vs Sparkling Water in gray background with teal strip

What do you call a transparent bubbly drink that is not soda? Sparkling water may be the most straightforward answer, but how about club soda and seltzer?

These terms are often used interchangeably because they are all essentially carbonated water. Still, it’s essential to know that club soda vs seltzer vs sparkling water have differences which we will settle in this article once and for all.

A Quick Glance

Club Soda

Seltzer

Sparkling Water 

Artificially carbonated with CO2

Artificially carbonated with CO2

Naturally carbonated in springs

Added with minerals

Free from minerals

Naturally contains minerals

Has a subtle saltiness

Tastes like plain water

Has a bit of saltiness and tanginess

Mostly contains mineral salts 

No additives at all

Also has calcium and magnesium 

Offers simple flavors like citrus

Available in fruity flavors

A wide array of flavor combinations

What is Club Soda?Canada Dry Club Soda

Club soda is plain water that has been artificially carbonated by injecting carbon dioxide in it, along with minerals such as potassium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium citrate, and disodium phosphate. 

Depending on the brand or manufacturer, club soda may have varying mineral contents that lead to different tastes that range from salty to slightly bitter. The added minerals contribute to the enhancement of the beverage’s flavor profile, making it among the favorite mixers of bartenders and mixologists

What is Seltzer?

Seltzer

Seltzer is similar to club soda because it is also carbonated by way of carbon dioxide. And that’s about it; seltzer does not contain any added minerals. Like club soda, it also makes a good mixer because it adds effervescence to the drink without altering the components’ flavors.

You can easily make seltzer water if you have a soda maker at home. Just fill the carbonating bottle with water and then insert it into the nozzle to inject carbon dioxide.

What is Sparkling Water?

 Sparkling Water

The complete name for sparkling water is “sparkling mineral water,” which makes sense because this also contains minerals like magnesium, sodium, and calcium. These minerals are naturally occurring in spring or well water, where sparkling water was derived. 

These also give the water its natural carbonation. It is similar to club soda in terms of taste because they both contain minerals. The only difference is that sparkling water has undergone a natural process, whereas club soda has additives. 

Even if sparkling water is natural, it can still vary in taste depending on the brand because they have different sources of springs and wells with varying amounts of minerals. Some brands even add a bit of carbon dioxide to sparkling water if the natural carbonation is not enough. 

Furthermore, sparkling water is not a suitable replacement for club soda as a mixer because the former is more expensive, and the natural minerals may not go well with other elements in a cocktail. It’s better to enjoy sparkling water as is so you can savor the pure taste of minerals.

Club soda Vs. Seltzer Vs. Sparkling Water: The Showdown

  • Taste - Winner: Sparkling Water

Hand holding a La Croix can

Taste in carbonated water differs in terms of mineral content. Seltzer is the only one among the bunch that doesn’t contain minerals. It literally is plain or tap water with added fizz. With this, it has a clean water taste that we are generally familiar with.

On the other hand, club soda is artificially added with mineral salts to enhance the plain water’s taste and bubbles. It’s understandable why it has a mineral flavor, but it still has a clean taste. These minerals also give a slightly salty flavor.

Sparkling water is more akin to club soda because they both contain minerals. It’s because club soda is developed to make it taste as close to sparkling water. The sparkling water’s minerals only impart a subtle saltiness and tanginess and contribute to its heavy mouthfeel. 

In this category, sparkling water makes the cut because it has the right amount of flavor that elevates the water’s taste. Plus, the minerals are all-natural. It is not very aggressive and can be enjoyed without other flavorings like citrus fruit.

  • Carbonation - Winner: Club Soda

Club Soda

The bubbles from carbonation are responsible for giving the drinker that tingling mouth sensation. It also forms carbonic acid that provides a satisfying bite. Seltzer is the most basic type of bubbly water. Because it is flavorless, the carbonation level may sometimes go overboard to compensate for the lack of flavor, which may come off as aggressive.  

Meanwhile, club soda is like seltzer, but its added minerals counterbalance the carbonic acid formed by the carbon dioxide when dissolved in the water, resulting in a clean and crisp mouthfeel.

Sparkling water has natural carbonation brought by dissolved elements from mineral water. At times, this carbonation may be insufficient. That’s why some sparkling water gets an extra boost of carbonation from carbon dioxide. 

In this round, club soda and sparkling water are neck and neck, but club soda has the edge since it has a more consistent amount of bubbles and is preferred by bartenders when crafting cocktails.

  • Nutritional Profile - Winner: Sparkling Water

The three types of carbonated water are free from calories, carbohydrates, and sugar. So, they are all considered as a healthier alternative to soda. However, let us take into account the additives of each.

Seltzer doesn’t have much to offer because it doesn’t contain minerals. While club soda does have minerals, they are artificially added, and most of them are sodium which may not be suitable for people who are watching out on their sodium intake. 

Sparkling water has natural minerals that are not just sodium. Thus, this round goes to sparkling water as it can contribute to people’s health.

  • Hydration - It’s a Tie!

Glass of carbonated water on a wooden surface 

If you want to explore other ways to stay hydrated, you can choose any of the three carbonated waters: club soda vs seltzer vs sparkling water. Their hydration properties are just as good as regular water, and some even find the bubbles and crisp taste to be more thirst-quenching.

If you do substitute water with any of the three, just make sure to get the unflavored ones similar to regular water.

  • Uses - Winner: Seltzer

Carbonated water has several applications that go beyond hydration. Aside from everyday drinking, they can be used as a mixer, cleaning agent, or cooking ingredient. 

Sparkling water has a higher price range than the other two, given that its water source is unique and has higher standards. It is best consumed as it is so you can enjoy the full taste of minerals. Using it as a mixer may be impractical, and the presence of minerals may alter the cocktail’s flavor profile. 

Club soda and seltzer are great candidates for being a mixer. The salt content in club soda is an excellent addition to enhance a cocktail, while the seltzer adds an incredible amount of fizz without changing the taste.

Club soda and seltzer can be used as a stain remover as they help lift any dirt and make windows or jewelry squeaky clean. They can also be used in baking as they make pastries fluffy and airy. As an extension to baking, they have a special place in cooking, especially with the famous batter used in making tempura.

Both club soda and seltzer have similar uses, so to break the tie, let us consider the price. Seltzer is less expensive, making it more accessible. If you’re going to use carbonated water for uses other than everyday drinking, it’s better to use the more affordable ones, so seltzer takes the win.

Conclusion

Judging by the standing of each carbonated water, sparkling water has the edge. It is by far the most well-known type and has a lot of options in the market in terms of brand, flavor, and style. 

While club soda and seltzer are also available in various flavors like lime and lemon, sparkling water has a broader array of unique flavor combinations. They also have caffeinated versions and those that are good for keto diet.

Use Sparkling Water if: 

  • You want to consume natural minerals for your dietary plan. 
  • You want a velvety mouthfeel and a clean taste. 
  • You like to splurge.

Use Club Soda if:

  • You prefer a higher level of carbonation.
  • You often make fizzy cocktails. 
  • You want to have a salty aspect to your drink. 

Use Seltzer if:

  • You don’t want any added minerals or flavors in your water. 
  • You like to cook or bake using fizzy water.
  • You want a more affordable option.

There you have it, folks! Hopefully, this article has helped you clear out your confusion about club soda vs seltzer vs sparkling waterthree seemingly similar drinks. Which one do you prefer the most? We’d be happy to hear your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Dukenson Deralus on

    I really like this article. I’d like to receive more articles like that.


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