Seltzer, Sparkling, Soda or Tonic Water ? What’s The Difference ?

Each year the use of carbonated water continues to rise. It is estimated that the sales of mineral water by 2021 will amount to USD 6 billion per annum.

However, other forms of carbonated water are available, so people sometimes question what separates these drinks apart.

The distinction between soda club, seltzer, sparkling water and tonic water is explained in this article.

They All Have One Thing in Common!

Club soda, seltzer, sparkling, and tonic water are different types of carbonated drinks. However, the main differences that set them apart lie in the production processes and added compounds used. This creates different flavours and mouth feels thus creating personal preference from one to the other

Sparkling Mineral Water

Mineral Sparkling water is naturally carbonated as opposed to club soda or seltzer. The bubbles derive from a spring or from a natural carbonation well.

A variety of elements, such as sodium, magnesium and calcium, are found in water. The proportions differ, though, depending on the spring water bottled from the source.

Mineral Water will contain a total of 250 components per million dissolved solids (minerals and trace elements) from the source from which it was distilled, according to Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The mineral content in water will, in course, dramatically affect the flavour. This is why different brands usually offer a special flavour in sparkling mineral water. Many factories add carbon dioxide to their good, making them more bubble-based


Seltzer is an artificially carbonated water. Seltzer is sometimes used as a replacement for club soda as a cocktail mixer because of their similarities.

Nevertheless, unlike Club Soda, Seltzer does not usually contain additional minerals, which preserves the original water flavour, though this varies from one company to the other.

Seltzer was originally made and sold in Germany, where natural carbonated water was found. This was later introduced to the USA by European immigrants.

Club Soda

Club Soda is made by carbonating water with Carbon Dioxide Gas (CO2) and fusing that same water with a number of minerals, mainly Potassium Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Disodium Phosphate and Sodium Bicarbonate. 

These added minerals vary from manufacturer to manufacturer as by combining different ratios one can alter the taste and the texture of the club soda.

Tonic Water

Tonic water has by far the most interesting taste out of these four beverages.

Tonic water is similar to club soda because it’s carbonated and fortified with added minerals. What makes tonic water unique is the addition of quinine, which is an isolated compound from cinchona trees’ bark. Quinine is responsible for creating that bitter flavour to the tonic water.

Historically, tonic water has been used for malaria prevention in tropical regions. Infact Tonic water used for this purpose used to contain far higher quinine levels.

Since tonic water is quite bitter it is sweetened to enhance the flavour with either strong maize syrup or sugar.

Tonic water is mainly used as cocktail mixer, especially gin or vodka drinks.

What is the Healthiest Option?

Club soda, seltzer, and sparkling mineral water all have similar nutritional profiles. Any of these three beverages are a great choice to quench your thirst and keep you hydrated. Tonic water on the other hand has quite a bit of sugar added to it, giving it 34 calories per 100ml, hence tonic water should ideally be avoided and replaced with any of the above options.

Sparkling Mineral Water, Seltzer and Club Soda are all great options to keeping you well hydrated without compromising on any extra calories.  Apart from hydration these drinks also greatly help in settling an upset stomach.

Final Thoughts

So here is a quick breakdown of the above.

Club soda is made by artificially infusing water with CO2 and mineral salts. Like Club Soda, Seltzer is artificially carbonated but normally isn’t infused with any added minerals.

Sparkling Mineral Water is naturally occurring meaning it is not artificially carbonated but comes ready in that state from a spring or well.

Similar to Club Soda, Tonic Water is artificially carbonated; the main difference is that it contains quinine and added sugar, thus meaning it has quite a bit of calories.

From these four drinks, Seltzer, Sparkling Mineral Water and Club Soda are all good and healthy options to keep feeling fresh and hydrated. For more healthy beverage options simply click on this link.

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  1. […] glasses of water each day may seem reasonable. However, we need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel […]

  2. […] glasses of water each day may seem reasonable. However, we need different amounts of water to stay hydrated. Most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel […]

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