Club Soda vs. Seltzer: What’s the Difference?

The differences between all the types of bubbly water.

June 09, 2022
fruit infused water, Wassermelone, Melone, Blaubeeren, Limette, Minze, Garten, Deutschland


fruit infused water, Wassermelone, Melone, Blaubeeren, Limette, Minze, Garten, Deutschland

Photo by: Westend61/Getty Images

Westend61/Getty Images

By Layla Khoury-Hanold for Food Network Kitchen

Layla Khoury-Hanold is a contributor at Food Network.

Whether you sip fizzy water for its effervescent refreshment, count on it as a soda alternative or enjoy it as a mixer, you might be confused by all the different types of bubbly H20. Shelves are lined with a bevy of bubbly beverages, and here, we break down all the differences.

Club Soda vs Seltzer

Seltzer is the most basic of the bunch—it’s simply plain water that’s carbonated with carbon dioxide. As a result, seltzer is just as hydrating as regular water. Since seltzer boasts a neutral flavor profile, it lends itself to all kinds of flavor interpretations, from lemon-lime to watermelon-mint to blueberry-pomegranate. Plain or flavored seltzers can be mixed with wine to make spritzers, such as this Lemon-Wine Spritzer or these Grapefruit Spritzers.

Tonic Water vs Club Soda

Both tonic water and club soda are carbonated water with added minerals, and both are a favorite mixer among bartenders. Club soda has a more neutral flavor profile than tonic water, so it’s primarily used to add a bubbly finish to drinks. Tonic water differs from club soda in that it also contains small amounts of quinine. Quinine, a compound from the bark of the cinchona tree, is what gives tonic its pronounced bitterness. As a result, it adds more depth of flavor to cocktails. Tonic water works especially well in gin-based drinks, like this Rosewater Gin and Tonic, or in vodka-centric tipples, such as this Hibiscus-Lime Vodka Tonic. Tonic water may also contain added sweeteners, so be sure to check the label’s ingredient list before sipping or mixing.


Photo by: Diana Miller/Getty Images

Diana Miller/Getty Images

Club soda vs Sparkling Water

Club soda is artificially carbonated water with minerals added to it, whereas sparkling water comes from sources of naturally carbonated water, such as an underground spring or well. Depending on the source, sparkling water can contain different minerals, including sodium, magnesium or calcium.

Soda Water vs Club Soda

Soda water is a generic name that can either refer to seltzer or sparkling water. Therefore, soda water is made from either adding carbon dioxide to regular water to achieve carbonation (seltzer), or by bottling naturally sparkling water sourced from an underground spring or well (sparkling water).

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