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Growing up, club soda was likely the least appealing pop to sip, but as adult imbibers, it's a jack-of-all-trades. Add some to sangria or punch for a hint of effervescence or to Japanese whisky or Scotch to make an excellent highball.
What exactly is club soda? The fizzy beverage is simply sparkling water with added minerals to create a slightly bitter flavor profile. These minerals range from sodium bicarbonate to potassium sulfate to a sprinkle of natural sea salt.
So, what makes a soda good? Carbonation is key—you want a club soda that remains bubbly down to the last sip. Some club sodas are better suited to certain cocktails and a lot of it comes down to personal taste preference.
With all that in mind, here are the best club sodas to buy now.
Best Overall: Fever-Tree Premium Club Soda
"Fever-Tree Club Soda is probably the best out there,” declares Piero Procida, the food and beverage director of The London West Hollywood at Beverly Hills. “To make their club soda, Fever-Tree uses soft spring water with very little mineral content so as not to alter the flavor of the drink. It is also highly carbonated, which brings out the flavor of your drink. They add sodium bicarbonate to make extra fine bubbles that don’t overwhelm the tongue.”
While you can certainly enjoy this drink on its own, rumor has it this adds some serious oomph to a mojito.
Best Budget: Schweppes Club Soda
Even if you don’t consider the very affordable price point, Schweppes is full of refreshing bubbles and crisp minerality. The grocery store bottle has lovely textured bubbles and stays carbonated for a long time. Add a splash to a glass of whiskey or use it to cut through the egg white in a Ramos Gin Fizz.
“I'm a big fan of Schweppes,” says Anthony Caporale, the director of spirits education at the Institute of Culinary Education. “It's not new or trendy—in fact, it's the opposite. Johann Jacob Schweppe created the process for making carbonated mineral water, the precursor to modern club soda, in the late 1700s. For price, availability, and history, it's tough to beat Schweppes Club Soda in drinks that call for the added mineral content that seltzer lacks.”
Best for Vodka Sodas: Polar Club Soda
Polar has been a family-owned business in Worcester, Massachusetts for nearly 140 years, and although the brand now has distribution worldwide, each can still contains the same quality recipe and fantastic fizz that holds on its own, but also adds life to a vodka soda. In fact, Anneliese Place, bartender, and owner of The Compound in Massachusetts says Polar Club Soda is hands down the best bubbly water you will find on the market today—plain or flavored.
“I take my mixers seriously," Place says. "For as long as I’ve been working in bars, Polar has had the same intense, tiny bubbles, a clean feel on the palate, and consistent balance. Polar is priced right to use at work, behind the bar, and at home for the family."
Best for Cocktails: Topo Chico Mineral Water
Topo Chico was seldom found outside Mexico or Texas—until 2017, when Coca-Cola purchased the company and expanded distribution. Now, a nation of bartenders know that "Topo Chico is kind of the Cadillac of club sodas," according to Ellen Talbot, the lead bartender at Fable Lounge in Nashville. She likes Topo Chico for its "more velvety bubble.”
It’s true that the bottle is a bartender darling, and for good reason. Topo Chico has big bubbles that last until the last sip, unlike other club soda options that quickly flatten. Anthony Escalante, the lead mixologist at the Wrigley Mansion agrees.
“My heart absolutely belongs to Topo Chico Agua Mineral," Escalante says. "It is insanely refreshing when it is chilled to the point just above freezing, the effervescence doesn’t ever seem to fade, maybe because I drink it so quickly it never gets a chance to, and it mixes so smoothly with even the most simplistic of cocktails.”
Best for Mojitos: Q Spectacular Club Soda
Brooklyn-based Q Mixers dubs itself the creator of “the world’s best carbonated mixers.” This premium club soda certainly is decent with an added dose of carbonation, which means this bottle stays fizzier for longer. Plus, it's Non-GMO Project verified.
What makes this club soda particularly great is that it has an added sprinkle of Himalayan salt, giving the soda a saline minerality. While other brands add different manufactured minerals, the Himalayan salt has naturally occurring mineral content. This makes Q’s club soda an interesting option for cocktails, as the Himalayan salt counters well with the sweetness in a mojito or the smokiness of Scotch. That said, the stronger flavor can overpower a nice whiskey—try balancing that with a hint of fresh lime or lemon.
Best for Whiskey: Canada Dry Club Soda
Canada Dry is best known for its ginger ale, but the brand also produces an excellent club soda. Case in point, the big fizz that erupts when you twist open this bottle. The brand dates back to 1890 when a Canadian pharmacist opened his own sparkling water plant. It’s here where he started turning out his own club soda recipes. It became so popular that the pharmacist quickly opened up a plant in New York City to meet demand. Fun fact: Canada Dry really took off during Prohibition—the petite bubbles and crisp minerality would mask the unsavory flavors of homemade spirits.
Because this bottle is on the more affordable end, use it to add a little fizz to party-ready cocktails. Think: sparkling punches or gin and soda.
Best Craft: Regatta Club Soda
One of the newer options on the market, Regatta Craft Mixers is easily the most interesting club soda available. The U.S.-based soda maker adds a sprinkling of Pacific sea salt for extra salinity. What results is a well-balanced soda with complex flavors that pairs perfectly with high-end spirits. It’s dry, clean, and crisp with just the right amount of salt and a steady bubble.
Think of this option as a canned cocktail without the booze. The GMO- and sweetener-free cans are designed to make drink-making low effort—just add alcohol. All cans are made in small batches, according to the brand. Inspired by the coastal life, Regatta’s craft mixers are made to be uber-refreshing and consumed on the go; the club soda comes in a lightweight, easily portable 8.4-ounce can.
Fever-Tree Club Soda (view at Amazon) is our top pick because it contains little mineral flavor, so as not to alter the flavor of the drink, and super fizzy but extra soft bubbles that go easy on the tongue. For something that's more readily available at the corner store but works just as well on its own or in a cocktail, Schweppes Club Soda (view at Amazon) is a tried-and-true favorite that gets the job done.
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Kate Dingwall is a freelance writer whose work focuses on food, drinks, and travel. She is based in Toronto and holds a Wine & Spirits Education Trust Level III qualification.