What’s better than bubbly sparkling water? Everyone loves a bit of fizz and there’s nothing like a glass of water jazzed up with carbonated bubbles to bring a touch of refreshing class to your day. Who needs a sugary soda when you have bubbly H2O at hand. Whether it is a dinner party table topper, or you are guzzling it straight from the bottle, sparkling water provides that luxury feel that keeps us coming back for more…
Perfect for drinking on its own, drinking on the go, or adding to cocktails, sparkling water is a drinks cupboard staple. But, while this classic drink sits on almost all of our kitchen shelves, how much do you really know about it? What makes it so different from normal water? Is it actually good for us? We are here to help you understand the brains behind the bubbles.
How is sparkling water made?
Sparkling water is just like normal water, with a little sprinkling of added science…
Take some water. Add high gas pressure and cool to a really low temperature. What happens? When infused with carbon dioxide gas, the carbon dissolves into the water and carbonic acid is created. What does this mean? Bubbles! As soon as the heat is raised back to a normal temperature and the pressure is brought back down, this carbon dioxide will try and escape. And, that’s what bubbles are - carbon dioxide escaping! And, that’s why sparkling water is often also called ‘carbonated water’. It’s as simple as that.
Is sparkling water good for you?
Although so many people are drinking sparkling water, there is a lot of confusion as to whether it is actually good for you or not. Let’s dive in.
The answer is… It depends. While all sparkling waters are made the same way, their nutritional contents can vary quite a lot, depending on brand and style. All sparkling waters have normal water as a base. Water will always be good for us, it helps us combat dehydration and has 0 calories. Keeping hydrated is essential for our bodies to function, so sparkling water will always be good in this respect. Also, some studies suggest the added bubbles can help with digestion! So, compared to sugary soda, sparkling water has the same bubbles but it is a lot better for us.
However, when other ingredients are added, things get a little more complicated. Some brands add sugars and artificial sweeteners which can contribute to nasty things like tooth decay. So, while most of the time sparkling water is a lot better for us than sodas (especially if it is unsweetened and unflavored), it may not be as good for you as water, depending on what is in the particular version you are drinking. So, if having a super healthy drink is important to you, make sure you check the label before you buy.
Sparkling water, club soda, seltzer… What's the difference?
While these drinks have completely different names, it can get pretty confusing when you are trying to work out the difference between them. Here’s the long and short of it… While sparkling water is often naturally carbonated from a spring or well, club soda and seltzer have their bubbles artificially added. The difference between club soda and seltzer is a question of salt. Club soda is made with water with bicarbonate salt in it, which means it has more minerals and the bubbles are slightly finer. This creates a minerally taste, whereas seltzer is more similar to your traditional sparkling water taste.
However, the good news is that all of these drinks are pretty similar, flavor-wise. So, if you are making a recipe with club soda in it, but only have sparkling water in the cupboard - don’t stress, sparkling water, club soda, and seltzer are all great substitutes for each other.
Are there other types of sparkling water?
To make it a little more confusing, there are also some variations in types of sparkling water too. Basically, brands keep innovating ways to make it even tastier. On top of your classic unflavored and unsweetened sparkling waters, there are also flavored options, such as Nixie’s Watermelon Mint Sparkling Water, which is just about the most refreshing drink on the market.
Can sparkling water be used in other drinks?
A big fat yes! Sparkling water can be used in drinks as a great alternative to soda. Why? Because it is so much better for you. Whether it's a cocktail, a mocktail, or a G&T, sparkling water will bring that much-loved fizz to any drink, with the added benefits of it being water based (goodbye dehydration!).
Sparkling or still?
We have all been there. You’re in the restaurant and the waiter asks you the age-old question. You know it’s coming, but you are still not prepared. So, which is better, sparkling or still? Health-wise, when we compare unsweetened, unflavored sparkling water with normal still water, there is no real difference. Both have no calories, neither will rot your teeth, and they are both equally good for dehydration. So, how do we choose between them?
Basically, it comes down to taste! Some people adore the added fizz sparkling water brings to the table, others like to stick with the classic still water. Some people enjoy the added class of a bubbly drink, some people aren’t bothered. Some people don’t mind paying extra for that added carbonation, some people would rather stick to water from the tap. The bottom line is, if you like the taste, it’s the drink for you!