How to Tell Seltzer From Club Soda and Tonic Water

How to Tell Seltzer From Club Soda and Tonic Water

Hoping to “wow” them at your next party by being able to tell seltzer from club soda and tonic water? These three versions of water can be pretty difficult to distinguish but they do have their differences. We have the answers!

Let’s start with what they have in common. They are all types of carbonated water, which means they all have bubbles. But they vary by their processing methods and added compounds, resulting in different flavors and mouth feels. They’re all great tasting, but everyone seems to have a favorite.

Club Soda

Club soda is injected with carbon dioxide gas, or CO2, then it’s infused with minerals such as:

  • Potassium sulfate
  • Sodium chloride
  • Disodium phosphate
  • Sodium bicarbonate

The amounts of minerals added will depend on the manufacturer.

Club soda tends to have more of a salty, mineral flavor over, say, seltzer water. But it still offers a clean, fresh taste that make both drinks good substitutes for each other. Club soda is a popular mixer for alcoholic drinks such as Tom Collins, Gin Rickey or Paloma.


Seltzer is also carbonated. Many people use seltzer as a substitute for club soda in their cocktails. Seltzer differs from club soda in that it does not contain added minerals, so the end result is a bit of a plainer taste. Seltzer is often flavored with natural fruit essences and oils to add taste.

Tonic Water

Tonic water has perhaps the most unique taste of all the above beverages. It is carbonated with added minerals like club soda, but it also has quinine in it, which is a compound taken from the bark of cinchona trees. This is what lends tonic water its bitter taste.

Tonic water has an interesting history, as many years ago it was used to prevent malaria in tropical areas. That’s why it featured high levels of quinine. Today, it’s safe to drink due to the very small amounts of quinine used. To mask this bitter taste, many forms of tonic water have been infused with sugar or high fructose corn syrup.

Sparkling Mineral Water

While we’re on the topic of water types, let’s also talk about sparkling mineral water. Unlike tonic water, club soda or seltzer, sparkling mineral water happens to be naturally carbonated with bubbles originating from a spring or well that has naturally-occurring carbonation.

This spring water has many minerals in it, such as calcium, sodium, and magnesium. Each brand uses a different amount of these minerals, which can vary the taste quite a bit.

Whichever type of water listed above that you prefer, we have it for you!

Buy Seltzer, Club Soda and Tonic Water in Bulk With Beverage Universe

We have many brands and variety packs of seltzer, club soda, tonic water and sparkling water here at Beverage Universe. To learn more, browse online or call us today.

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