The technological world has caused everything to go from simple to complex, and carbonated drinks are no exception. Therefore, you might want to know what differentiates club soda, seltzer, sparkling, and tonic water.

With the mobile devices fitting into the pockets and we walking around with them easily, everything also gets complex. And carbonated drinks are not left out. There are different types of carbonated water, and all have different flavors; hence people prefer different types. This article helps you understand the difference between club soda, seltzer, sparkling, and tonic water so that the next time you buy any, you fully understand what goes into your stomach.

What is the similarity between them?

The only similarity between club soda, seltzer, sparkling, and tonic water is that they are carbonated drinks. By carbonated, we mean that the water has carbon dioxide. The carbonation process may be natural, as in sparkling mineral water, or artificial, as in club soda, seltzer, and tonic water. What creates the difference is whether or not other ingredients have been added to the carbonated drinks, the exact ingredients (including minerals), and the proportion in which they are added, besides the brand producing them.

Sparkling mineral water

Sparkling mineral refers to a naturally carbonated drink sourced from springs in which natural carbonation occurs. Unlike other carbonated drinks, sparkling mineral water does not contain any added ingredients. However, some manufacturers optimize carbonation by adding extra carbon dioxide through industrial processes. You will benefit from the sparkling mineral water’s natural magnesium, sodium, potassium, and other minerals. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), water is only deemed as sparkling mineral water when it has 250 parts per million of dissolved trace elements and minerals, all of which are from the source. It is worth noting that the mineral presence in the sparkling water significantly affects their taste. That’s why sparkling mineral water from different sources will have slightly different tastes. Interestingly, their sales are shoot and are estimated to hit $6billion by the end of this year. The popularity is likely due to the fact that sparkling water is more natural and typically lacks any additives.


Seltzer is almost similar to sparkling mineral water. However, its carbonation process is not natural and happens industrially. Still, unlike club soda and tonic water, it typically lacks any added ingredients. Of course, club soda is also close to seltzer, but it has added ingredients. Since club soda and seltzer typically taste the same, people usually switch them for the other, although club soda has added minerals and other ingredients. Many people now prefer seltzer to club soda since the former has a more ‘truer’ taste because it bears no additives. There used to be a place in Germany with natural springs from which freshwater was obtained and bottled. The place is called Selzer, and it’s from it that seltzer was named.

Club soda

It’s about time we learned about club soda, another type of carbonated drink. Its carbonation process happens on the industrial scale, in which carbon dioxide is fused into the water, making it bubbly. Besides the gas content, club soda has lots of minerals and ingredients, which might not be found in seltzer. For instance, it has sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate, disodium phosphate. However, these will vary depending on which minerals  are added and what proportions they are added in, and the manufacturing brand. Club soda and seltzer do not have distinctively different flavors. Therefore, you may switch the two without realizing it. However, some people have a strong sense of taste and will tell the difference. According to them, club soda is sweeter than seltzer.

Tonic water

Tonic water rings a bell at its slightest mention, doesn’t it? However, you need to know that just because it bears the word ‘water,’ it’s actually water. Among all carbonated drinks, tonic water has the most unique flavor and is the tastiest. Consequently, you cannot switch it with other forms of carbonated drinks. It actually pairs well with vodka and gins, unlike other carbonated drinks. Moreover, tonic water has quinine. Initially, the quinine concentration was so high that tonic water was used to treat malaria in the areas where the disease is prevalent. However, the modern-day tonic water has only a little quinine meant to give it its bitter taste. As you take tonic water, you reap most, if not all, of the minerals in club water. Besides, you also get calories. It’s actually the only carbonated drink with many calories. Tonic water has corn syrup or fructose added to enhance the taste. It is these added sugars that contribute to its calorie content.

Different carbonated drinks contain different minerals

Although all carbonated drinks have carbon dioxide either through natural processes or industrial infusions, they contain different minerals, hence the different tastes. For instance, sparkling water may have sodium, potassium, and magnesium besides other minerals. Still, these depend on the spring from which they were fetched. Seltzer should technically contain no mineral since it only undergoes industrial infusion of carbon dioxide, but you may find mineral traces in it. Club soda has many minerals and ingredients, including sodium chloride, disodium phosphate, sodium bicarbonate, and potassium sulfate. Tonic water may have all these and even more depending on the brand. Still, it has sweeteners like corn syrup and fructose. In addition, it also has quinine from the cinchona plant, which gives it a unique bitter taste.

Carbonated drinks contain few minerals

If you are looking for a drink that will boost your mineral bank, carbonated drinks are not ideal since they have only a few minerals. Tonic water seems to provide small amounts of sodium, zinc, and copper, but with many calories. None of them have fats and carbs. However, sparkling mineral water (12 ounces) provides you with 2%, 9%, and 9% of your sodium, calcium, and copper recommended daily intake (RDI), all naturally sourced.


There are different types of carbonated drinks. Each of these has different flavors and contents. This article helps you understand the difference between seltzer, club soda, sparkling, and tonic water. Tonic water has quinine and sweeteners besides minerals, while club soda has small amounts of minerals. Seltzer is almost the same as club soda, but it has a truer taste as it lacks additives. Sparkling water is naturally carbonated, but the mineral content varies depending on the source.

Tatyana Dyachenko

For the past years, Tatyana has worked as a sex blogger and a relationship advisor. She has been featured in magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Teen Vogue. Vice, Tatler, Vanity Fair, and many others. Since 2016, Tatyana has focused on sexology, attended various training courses, participated in international conferences and congresses. “I wish people would address sexual issues in a timely manner! Forget shyness, prejudice and feel free to see a sex doctor for help or advice!” Tanya enjoys pursuing her flare for creativity through modelling, graffiti art, astronomy, and technology.