Club Soda vs. Seltzer

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Difference between Club Soda and Seltzer

Club soda and seltzer are both types of carbonated or fizzy water. They look and taste very similar, although some people find that they prefer one type of carbonated water over another. The basic characteristics of both types of drink are that they are clear in color, unflavored, unsweetened and bubbly. They can be drunk on their own or mixed in with other flavored drinks.

Club Soda

Name Origins

Seltzer water was first discovered as naturally carbonated spring water in Germany, at the Niederseltsers springs. The name seltzer water is derived from the names of these springs and the nearby town of Selters. Originally, seltzer water would have been obtained from these springs, but the term seltzer is now used to refer to artificially carbonated water. The name seltzer water is mainly used in Canada and the US, where it became the popular name for carbonated water during the 1950s. Prior to this, the most common term for carbonated water in the US was soda water.

Club soda originated as an artificially carbonated drink towards the end of the 19th century. It was the precursor to flavored sodas, which are still produced using club soda, and it is because of soda water that many people call carbonated drinks soda.

Carbonated Water

Carbonated water is essentially water to which carbon dioxide has been added. This can occur naturally, but the carbon dioxide can also be added to the water artificially. This is usually done by passing pressurized carbon dioxide through the water. Both club soda and seltzer water are forms of carbonated water. It is the addition of carbon dioxide to the water that makes the drinks bubbly and which gives it a distinct, tangy taste.

Carbonated waters such as club soda and seltzer water do not contain flavorings, although they can be used as mixers in cocktails and other drinks. However, some brands of club soda do come with flavorings such as fruit flavors already added to the water. Both club soda and seltzer water can be drunk by themselves, used as mixers or flavored, for example with a squeeze of lemon or lime.


Some people prefer a certain type of carbonated water over other varieties. It is sometimes suggested that club soda is milder and sweeter than other types of carbonated water, so some people prefer to drink club soda rather than seltzer. However, the taste difference between club soda and seltzer is often no greater than the difference in the tastes of different brands of still water, so most people are unable to tell the difference and the names club soda and seltzer are often use interchangeably.

When the names are used properly, however, they reflect differences in the ways that the carbonated waters have been made. The main difference between club soda and seltzer water is that club soda contains more sodium than seltzer water. The acidity of club soda tends to be less intense than that of seltzer since sodium chloride, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate and sodium phosphate have been added to the water. No additives are mixed into seltzer water.

Club soda and seltzer water are both sugar and calorie free, unlike tonic water, which is a carbonated water that has been sweetened with sugar and flavored with quinine.

It has been suggested that club soda can contribute to dental erosion, although the evidence is not definitive, and it may be that dental erosion is caused by other elements mixed with club soda in flavored sodas. Carbonated water appears to be slightly more erosive than plain water, but it is still much less of a problem than flavored carbonated soft drinks.

Summing Up

Club soda and seltzer are two names that are both used as general terms for carbonated water. However, the original seltzer water was a naturally carbonated water produced from a specific group of springs in Germany. Today, seltzer water and club soda are usually artificially carbonated water. When the terms are used correctly, rather than just as general terms for carbonated water, there are some differences. True club soda has added alkaline salts that reduce the drinks acidity, making it taste sweeter.

Seltzer water and club soda are both names for carbonated water.

The names are often used interchangeably, so someone may use the term club soda for a carbonated water that is not true club soda.

True club soda is a milder, sweeter form of carbonated water, with added alkaline salts.


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