Sparkling water (also known as carbonated water or club soda) is simply water that has been alkalinized, typically with sodium bicarbonate, then forcibly carbonated. Closely related to sparkling water is seltzer water, which lacks alkaline additives.
While the idea of sparkling water is ancient -- many natural springs produce naturally carbonated water -- the artificial carbonation of water dates back to Joesph Priestley, an 18th century English chemist. This process was commercialized first by J.J. Schweppe, who founded Schweppes in 1782 in Geneva, Switzerland.
Sparkling water helped popularize the consumption of spirits, as they could be diluted down to a more pleasant level of alcohol with the addition of a neutral tasting substance. Even today, the combination of "spirit and soda" is popular in bars.
Most soda water in bars is produced by what is called a "soda gun", a device that combines still water and high levels of carbon dioxide and is dispensed by pressing a button on the top of the gun. Craft bartenders frown upon soda guns, as they are used to dispense other carbonated drinks and are rarely cleaned. Most craft bartenders rely on soda siphons, which are dedicated to dispensing only sparkling water, and use much less carbon dioxide to do so.
The slightly acidic flavor of sparkling water is due to the disassociation of carbon dioxide gas into carbonic acid in water.
Some popular cocktails containing Sparkling water
- Marco Polo — Arrack, Blood Orangecello, Sparkling water, Lime juice, Passion fruit syrup
- Basking Fruitwalla — Melon liqueur, Blue Curaçao, Sparkling water, Mango juice, Peach juice, Orange juice, Lime juice, Lime
- Nice (by Way of Antibes) — Gin, Bénédictine, Sparkling water, Grapefruit juice, Lime peel
- Spit & Polish — Strega, Dry vermouth, Gin, Triple sec, Grapefruit bitters, Sparkling water, Green tea
- The Americanino — Bianco Vermouth, Braulio, Sparkling water, Lemon peel