Bubbly waters are all the same, right? Actually, no. Try ordering a gin and soda next time you’re visiting your favorite bartender and note the confusion on their faces. Contrary to what you may have believed your whole life up until this moment, tonic water and club soda are actually two very different drinks. Whether you’re consuming the fizzy drink fixings on their own or in your favorite cocktail, the differences are quite noticeable. If you’re looking for a healthy, low or no calorie beverage to drink throughout the day, you might be interested to learn that the two drinks are not made equally (via Healthline).
Differing in both taste and mouthfeel, tonic water and club soda will yield different results in terms of mixology. Contrary to popular belief, tonic water and club soda are not interchangeable when you’re behind the bar. The unique flavor profile of tonic water pairs especially well with gin, cognac, liqueurs, and amaro, while sparkling water is more of a light and flavor-free mixer that will come in handy no matter what you have on hand (via The Spruce Eats).
Each has its own purpose
What exactly is it that makes club soda different from tonic water? The answer is super simple, but it makes a ton of difference in regards to taste. Club soda is made by adding mineral salts and carbon dioxide to water. Seltzer water is made with carbonation but without the added minerals (via Healthline). Club soda tends to be plain or come in a small variety of simple flavors, and its best utilized when you’re looking to add bubbles to a cocktail. Add a bit on top to kick up a simple drink (via Advanced Mixology).
Tonic water is also made by adding carbon dioxide to water, but that’s where its similarities with club soda end. Thanks to the added sugar, it adds a bitter and slightly sweet flavor to your cocktail. It also contains quinine and tops cocktails with a nice bit of bubbles for a perfect finish. According to Advanced Mixology, tonic water tends to be superior when it comes to tending bar.
Health-wise, club soda and tonic water are not equal
If you’re simply looking to hydrate with something a bit more exciting than a glass of still water, you might consider opting for a tonic water or a club soda. If this is the case, club soda will be a more hydrating, simple, and clean option to add to your daily water intake. Given that tonic water contains added sugar, excessive consumption could lead to the intake of unwanted extra calories and be slightly detrimental to your health. Like any soft drink, tonic water is perfectly fine in moderation (via Medical News Today).
That being said, both tonic water and club soda have a place on your bar or in your fridge. Start your day with a nice, cold, and refreshing club soda, then pull the gin out to mix up a perfect cocktail for happy hour with your tonic water. Don’t forget the twist of lemon for the touch of citrus and a perfect garnish. Cheers!
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