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Here's the Difference Between Seltzer, Soda, and Tonic Water

PopSugar logo PopSugar 1/21/2020 Susannah Chen
a close up of a bowl of oranges on a table: Here's the Difference Between Seltzer, Soda, and Tonic Water © POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim Here's the Difference Between Seltzer, Soda, and Tonic Water

Tonic water, seltzer, club soda, sparkling, and mineral: There are so many different fizzy waters out there, but are they all the same thing?

Carbonated water: water into which carbon dioxide has been dissolved - is a broad term that encompasses all fizzy waters. It's used interchangeably with sparkling water and soda water (a prewar term for the same thing). Within this category, there are several distinctions: seltzer, club soda, tonic, and mineral water.

Seltzer water: artificially produced by passing pressurized carbon dioxide through water. Seltzer contains no added ingredients or flavorings.

Club soda: like seltzer, is artificially produced by passing pressurized carbon dioxide through water, but contains additives such as table salt, sodium bicarbonate, or potassium bicarbonate to add a slightly salty flavor.

Tonic water: again, artificially produced by passing pressurized carbon dioxide through water, but with the addition of quinine (originally used in the 19th century to prevent malaria) that produces a slightly bitter taste. Now, most tonic water also has citric acid and added sweeteners.

Mineral water: like Perrier or San Pellegrino, contains naturally occurring carbonation and minerals. Since it's bottled directly from a natural source, it tends to be pricier and has a more delicate effervescence than other carbonated waters. For these reasons, it's typically enjoyed alone, rather than used as a drink mixer.

What's your sparkling water of choice?

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