Club soda was created with the intention of mimicking natural mineral water. The minerals give it a sharp taste and it’s most often used as a mixer for cocktails. Some people also like to drink club soda on its own, and it can also be used for baking. If there’s none available to you, though, you aren’t out of luck–there are plenty of alternatives that do the job just fine.
If you can’t find any club soda for whatever reason, or want to switch things up, there are three substitutes that will be the best replacement. These would be seltzer, ginger ale, or tonic water.
Seltzer is ideally the first choice for a club soda alternative. Its fizz and liveliness is on par with that of club soda. It’s also sold as soda water or carbonated water and has the same plain taste that club soda has. Especially when added to another drink, your guests will hardly be able to tell the difference.
Its taste is slightly less salty than club soda, but just as fresh so it makes for an easy substitue. Seltzer is purely water that’s been carbonated with carbon dioxide. Because of its neutral flavor, it’s a perfect base for drinks. There are also many flavored alcoholic and non-alcoholic seltzer waters on the market.
Plain soda water/seltzer has no additives so it’s considered a healthier alternative to club soda. Despite the carbonation factor, it’s only one percent as corrosive as soft drinks.
2. Ginger Ale
Ginger ale is more flavorful than club soda or seltzer, but still makes for a good substitute. It has a recognizable, pungent, taste that’s delectable on its own or as an addition to another drink. Because of its sweeter and ginger-infused taste, it works better with certain drinks and not so well with others, so you may find yourself having to experiment with it.
It still has the same familiar mineral-like aftertaste, but it’s best to opt for a pale ginger ale so the flavor isn’t too overpowering. Not only is ginger ale a delicious drink or add-in, but it can help with indigestion and sore throats.
3. Tonic Water
Tonic water is a more bitter alternative. It’s created by isolating Quinine from the bark of native trees in Peru, cinchona trees, and adding the dilution to carbonated water. This is the reason for tonic water’s bitter taste. Quinine is an alkaloid that was first used to treat malaria, but it’s now believed to help with cramps and restless leg syndrome too.
After its popularity for being a medicinal drink, tonic water became popular for its flavor. Most manufacturers nowadays add sugar to tonic water to contradict its bitterness, so oftentimes it has hints of sweetness as well. The flavor is sometimes described as citrus, and it’s much stronger than the flavor of club soda.
The biggest difference between the two is the flavor; club soda has a mild, salty flavor and tonic water’s taste is much stronger and slightly bitter. Because of the additives, tonic water falls on the same scale of healthiness as soft drinks, whereas club soda most often has zero calories and sugar.
Interestingly enough, club soda is also often used in batter. The carbonation makes baked goods more light and fluffy. It promotes gluten development which gives the batter a more airy texture than if you were to use just water.
As far as baking goes, there’s a lot more options that blend nicely into batter than mixed drinks. Due to the wider range of added ingredients, the flavor is more forgiving for club soda alternatives. Lemonade, milk, white wine, grapefruit juice, and most plant-based milks all have enough acidity to help food bake easier.
Milk creates the perfect environment for a lighter texture to form. As you mix the batter, more air flows into it, making for a fluffier end product. Replacing the club soda in your recipe for equal parts milk will leave you with a scrumptious result.
Milk alternatives like rice milk or oat milk add a dash of more sweetness. It’s especially suitable for when you need club soda in your recipe but want to add something else to balance the flavor. A light, nutty taste is the perfect addition to waffles or pancakes.
Adding lemonade, grapefruit juice, or orange juice to a baked goods recipe is far from conventional. But it can be perfect if you’re tired of the same old thing and want to try something different. The extra sweetness and sugar will make your next dish stand out and get dinner guests inspired and talking.
6. White Wine
White wine as a substitute for club soda in batter is another unexpected idea. It works though, because of the acidity. White wine is more acidic than club soda so it can make for a good replacement, and a more interesting flavor.
Any of the alternatives on this list will suffice, but cold seltzer seems to be the fan favorite. It’s just as plain tasting as club soda with the same mineral properties that will make your bread rise more seamlessly.
If you’re looking to switch things up drastically, juice or milk will make your pastries sweeter whilst giving the desired effect of a fluffy, airy end result. Experimenting with unfamiliar recipes can make for a fun experience and (hopefully) an even better snack!
Whether you’re baking, drinking it on its own, or mixing it with other drinks, there are plenty of sufficient replacements for club soda if a situation arises where you can’t find any. Club soda, and each alternative on this list, has properties that aid with digestion.
This makes it a great addition to a heavy drink or baked good. Seltzer also has no calories, which is a definite plus for when the drinks start to add up. And luckily, there are plenty of similar drinks that do the trick too.