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We all know we’re supposed to drink more water. But sweet sodas and sparkling beverages are simply more fun! So how do you quench a craving for fizzy, syrupy drinks, while still keeping an eye on your sugar intake? The answer is DIY sparkling water. Because when you learn how to make sparkling water at home, you can customize what goes into it.
First, it's important to understand what differentiates sparkling, carbonated, and seltzer water. While they seem identical on the surface, each drink is made in a different way.
Sparkling water generally refers to two things. There’s sparkling mineral water, which is sourced directly from mineral springs, and boasts tiny bubbles that are the result of naturally occurring gases.
Seltzer, on the other hand, is sparkling water that’s created by combining still water and carbon dioxide. And that’s it, unless, of course, there are flavorings added.
Also known as club soda, carbonated water is still water plus carbon dioxide plus some form of salt, such as sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate or potassium. This is meant to neutralize its acidity, and give the resulting drink a cleaner, lighter taste.
Needless to say, you can’t make sparkling mineral water at home, unless you have access to a naturally occurring spring. When it comes to how to make carbonated water or seltzer however, you have a few options.
The first, of course, is to simply purchase one of the many in-home carbonators available on the market, which range from modern, one-touch tools to glass soda siphons. Or if you’re feeling really DIY and just a bit crafty, you can rig up your own system using tubing, regulators and clamps (there are multiple in-depth tutorials on the internet).
No matter which method, the goal is to introduce water to CO2. After that, the sky is the limit when it comes to how to flavor or use your effervescent beverage.
For instance, who could say no to an ice cream soda? If you pour your carbonated water from a siphon, this Chocolate Almond Soda will instantly transport you to a 1950’s-era soda fountain!
Make a wonderful brunch mocktail by swapping sparkling wine for sparkling water, in this Orange Coconut Mimosa.
A refreshing spritzer is another way to go.
This non-alcoholic cooler gets its fizz from club soda, and its flavor from lemon extract and all sorts of fresh fruit.
Speaking of extracts, that’s another easy way to add worlds of flavor to your sparkling water. From jammy raspberry and bright mint, to malty maple and seasonal pumpkin pie spice, there’s no end of options when it comes to customizing your homemade soda:
Simple syrups and bitters are another way to turn sparkling water into fabulous beverages or celebratory cocktails. Lemon Bay Leaf Simple Syrup is a great combination of sweet and savory, while a touch of earthy Smoked Cinnamon Bitters will take seltzer over the top (a hint of whiskey wouldn’t hurt either!)
In short, making your own carbonated water is the perfect solution, for when you’re trying to stay away from soda, but are beginning to get bored with basic H20.
Looking to spice up your drink game? Check out these tips on how to make zero proof cocktails.