6 Substitutes for Seltzer Water 

Seltzer water has many purposes. It can be used in baking, or for cocktails. It can even be used outside of the kitchen for various cleaning purposes, like removing rust and cleaning stains from glass. Some people even like to use seltzer water to wash their face!

6 Best Substitutes for Seltzer Water That Are Just as Good

There are various reasons someone would want to use a substitute for soda water. Maybe you’re bored of the seltzer that you’ve been using, and want to try something different. It’s never a bad idea to switch things up, especially if you are unsatisfied.

Maybe you have run out of seltzer water and can’t seem to find any. Either way, there are plenty of seltzer water substitutes that can do the same job as seltzer. Some of these include ginger ale, tonic water, lemon-lime soda, and club soda. You can even make seltzer water from home.

Is Seltzer Water Just Sparkling Water?

There is a difference between seltzer and sparkling water, though subtle. The main distinction is where the carbonation comes from. Seltzer is carbonated artificially, using carbon dioxide, and sparkling water has naturally occurring carbonation. 

In sparkling water, the bubbles are usually finer and smaller. This is because the carbonation occurs naturally, from a mineral spring. Sparkling water often will have minerals in it because of the spring it was obtained from. These minerals could include calcium or magnesium, but seltzer will not have any minerals.

Due to the lack of minerals in seltzer water, it tastes more flat than sparkling water. But this is also why seltzer is ideal for cocktails in many situations. Sparkling water has a more heavy taste so it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the flavor of seltzer is very neutral.

What is the Difference Between Seltzer and Other Carbonated Water? 

The difference between seltzer and other carbonated water is that seltzer tends to be the simplest drink. Seltzer is simply water that has been carbonated with carbon dioxide. Club soda is carbonated in the same way that seltzer is, but minerals are added that make it slightly more salty.

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Specifically, the minerals added to club soda are potassium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate. This mixture makes club soda a popular preference for mixed drinks, as it adds more flavor than plain seltzer has. 

This comparison is the same for most other carbonated waters; they all have some extra ingredients added whereas seltzer is just plain, carbonated water. Tonic water, for example, is carbonated using the same process but has quinine and sugar added to it. This also adds calories, while seltzer contains no calories. 

What Are Some Good Substitutes for Seltzer Water?

1. Club Soda

Club soda is slightly more salty than seltzer water, but the difference is still subtle. It also has a very neutral taste, like seltzer. This makes it a good replacement if you’re looking for something that nearly replicates the taste of seltzer water.

It tends to be infused with added minerals, while seltzer water is typically plain. These minerals could include sodium chloride or potassium sulfate. They are the reason that club soda has a lighter taste than seltzer. 

2. Ginger Ale

Ginger ale makes for a great soda water substitute. It has the bubbliness that you love in seltzer, but does have more flavor. It’s like if a soft drink were ginger-flavored and had health benefits. That’s right, ginger ale does have nutritional value!

It contains gingerol, which is known to have many medicinal properties. Some of these include reducing nausea and blood sugar, and helping with digestion overall. Ginger ale can be especially beneficial to those with type 2 diabetes, as it lowers blood sugar and has been shown to help with morning sickness.

When using ginger ale as a seltzer water substitute, just use the same amount of ginger ale that you would seltzer.

3. Tonic Water

Tonic water was first sold in the 1850s and was said to help fight malaria. This is because it contains quinine, which was prescribed at the time to fight off the disease. Prescriptions of quinine are still used to treat malaria, but its use in tonic water helped to get the drink flying off shelves.

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It is used in many cocktails, and its taste is bitter but not overwhelming. Some describe it as citrus-like, and many say it is an acquired taste. If you enjoy the taste of plain seltzer water, trying tonic water as a substitute is a safe bet.

4. Lemon-Lime Soda

Maybe you prefer a more pungent flavor. In this case, lemon-lime soda is the perfect seltzer water substitute for you. Granted, these sodas have more calories and additives than your traditional seltzer or club soda.

Sierra Mist has been proven to be the healthiest soda. It contains 35 grams of sodium and 37 grams of carbohydrates, notably higher than its competitor, Sprite. If you’re very picky about the nutritional profile of things, definitely opt for Sierra Mist in this situation. Although it isn’t as healthy as plain seltzer, it has a sweet and craveable taste.

5. White Wine

Interestingly, white wine makes for a useful seltzer water substitute, in both batters and mixed drinks, The key element here is the acidity. Because club soda is infused with carbon dioxide, it has a higher acidic content than regular water.

White wine has more acidity than seltzer water. It is also packed with antioxidants and may have immune-strengthening properties. In mindful portions, white wine can aid with heart health. When using it as a seltzer water replacement, around ¼ cup of white wine will do the trick.

6. Homemade Sparkling Water

There are numerous ways you can make seltzer water at home. The most obvious, and easiest, solution is to use a soda maker. These appliances automatically add carbon dioxide to whatever you put in it, giving you soda in seconds. But what if you don’t own such a machine?

How Do You Make Seltzer at Home?

Aside from using an at-home soda maker, there are a few methods you can use to make your own seltzer water. Perhaps the easiest and most accessible one is to use baking soda and vinegar. 

Steps

  1. Grab two empty plastic soda bottles that can withstand high pressure. Using glass bottles for this is not a good idea. Make a hole in the center of both bottle caps using a drill.
  2. You’ll also need some food-grade tubing, about three feet of it. This will transfer the carbon dioxide from one bottle to the other. Cut each end of the tube off and insert both ends into the bottle caps.
  3. Pour your water through the tube into a bottle using a funnel. Leave an inch of space or so at the top to allow room for expansion, and screw the cap back on.
  4. Use the funnel to pour vinegar into the other bottle. Fill it about one-third of the way.
  5. Grab some toilet paper and pour a tablespoon of baking soda onto it. Roll up the paper, and put it into the bottle with vinegar. Put the cap back on as quickly as possible and shake the bottle vigorously.
  6. Grab the other bottle (filled with water) and shake that one vigorously too. Through the tube, you should see the carbonation starting to form. Keep shaking until you no longer see bubbles in the tube.
  7. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Then, pinch the tube above your carbonated drink to prevent the carbon dioxide from escaping. While still pinching the tube, slowly open the bottle. 
  8. Keeping the tube pinched, bring the bottle with the vinegar and baking soda mixture to a sink. Here, you can release the tube and any leftover messes. Now you can enjoy your homemade seltzer water!
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FAQs

Can baking soda make carbonated water?

Using the method above, you can make carbonated water at home with baking soda, vinegar, and water.

How often should you drink seltzer water?

Drinking or eating too much of anything is never good for you. It’s recommended that the maximum amount of seltzer water to be consumed in one day is one can (or the equivalent.) The acid in seltzer water can be harmful to your teeth if too much of it is drunk.

Does sparkling water make you gain weight?

Most likely, sparkling water will not make you gain weight. Sometimes there are other ingredients in sparkling water that could contribute to weight gain, though. These might include sweeteners and flavor additives, of which the sodium adds calories.

Usually these additives don’t amount to much–around ten calories per serving. So, if you’re trying to watch your weight and you drink a lot of sparkling water, it might be a good idea to stick to raw, unflavored drinks. 

Final Thoughts

If you don’t have any seltzer water on hand or want to switch things up, there are plenty of alternatives that are just as good. These seltzer water substitutes can enhance your drink or recipe, and you may even find one you prefer more.