Which Kind of Fizzy Water Should I Use in My Cocktail?

These products are very similar but definitely not the same.

Published Jan. 13, 2023.

Fizzy water is a fun and exciting addition to many cocktails, with the carbonation offering pizzazz and exuberance.

So what’s stopping us from throwing any kind of fizzy water we have on hand into our highball or coupe glasses? Well, while the better-known varieties (tonic water, club soda, and seltzer) may all be very similar products, they have vastly different uses when it comes to a stiff drink.

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Here’s everything you need to know about them for the very best tipple.

Tonic Water

Tonic water is carbonated water plus quinine and sweeteners. It’s so-named as it was once used as an actual tonic—the quinine (a substance derived from the bark of the cinchona tree that lends tonic water its signature bitter flavor) was used in the treatment of malaria.

These days, it’s better off used as a treatment for a dull drink, best enjoyed in—you guessed it—a gin and tonic. You can also make your own tonic syrup to have on-hand.

Our taste-test winner is Polar Premium Tonic Water.

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Tonic Water

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Club Soda

Club soda is carbonated water with added minerals that affect its flavor. The most common minerals found in store-bought club sodas are potassium sulfate, sodium chloride, disodium phosphate, and sodium bicarbonate. These minerals give club soda a mildly salty taste.

We use club soda in our delicious Raspberry Lime Rickey, though as with most instances of club soda, you can also substitute seltzer.

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Seltzer is simply a carbonated water with no added ingredients.

We use seltzer in our Pimm's Cups, and it is a great addition to most spritzers thanks to its versatile flavor.

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