The Essence of Soda

Is all club soda the same? And is it different from seltzer water? Absolutely, says danieljdwyer. Seltzer water is just plain carbonated water; club soda has mineral salts added. “The difference is minor when one drinks them plain, but it can become noticeable when those mineral salts react with various types of alcohol,” says danieljdwyer. Some kinds of alcohol get a strange, metallic taste from the mineral salts; others benefit from them.

Different brands of club soda use varying blends of minerals, and even before the mineral blends go in, the flavor profile of the water depends on the water supply local to the brand. Confusing things still further, soda can be carbonated to different degrees. For instance, “I always found Canada Dry to be very carbonated, with very large bubbles, but also that it went flat very quickly,” says danieljdwyer. BarmyFotheringayPhipps drinks a lot of seltzer, and can definitely tell the difference between the two locally available brands: “Polar seems considerably fizzier, while Adirondack has less pronounced bubbles but a notably more mineral edge,” he says.

If you don’t find any brands to your liking, you can always make your own carbonated water. “You can also use higher quality water than the bottlers do, and still spend a tenth what it costs to buy a bottle,” says danieljdwyer. “And making it yourself allows you to customize how carbonated the water is.” He uses the seltzer maker from Soda-Club and finds it to be very economical. (CHOW likes the Soda-Club as well.)

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