Mar 18, 2016

Club Soda, Mineral Water, Seltzer, and Tonic

Club Soda is often mistaken for and swapped out for seltzer water. The two are similar, but different. Club soda contains sodium salts and/or potassium salts. Like seltzer, it makes a good addition to batters, and makes matzo balls extra fluffy.

Mineral Water or sparkling water also contains minerals. Sparkling mineral water gets both its effervescence and minerals from the natural spring it is drawn from. The US FDA states mineral water must contain "no less than 250 ppm total dissolved solids that originates from a geologically and physically protected underground water source." Mineral water, because of its salt content, tends to be more acidic and while the carbonation is often added to mineral water during its plant treatments, the carbonation is often collected from natural sources. Mineral water is generally not used as a mixer and is best complemented by just a squeeze of citrus. Mineral water contains higher amounts of magnesium and calcium.

Seltzer Water is artificially carbonated water with no added ingredients. The beverage got its start (and name) in the German town of Selters, which was known for its sparkling springs that supposedly had remarkable healing powers. Seltzer is a cheap alternative to designer mineral waters.

Tonic Water is carbonated water to which quinine has been added to give it a characteristically bitter taste. Quinine was originally created from the bark of the cinchona tree that is native to South America and has been used to treat malaria since the 17th century. Its taste was so bitter and unpalatable that the medicine, while effective, was unpopular. British officials in the 19th century decided to add soda water in an attempt to make quinine easier to take. British soldiers found that gin was also great to mask the taste, making the gin and tonic a popular drink. Quinine glows in UV light, so you can use a black light to show off glowing drinks using tonic water.