This is the first time here at Cocktail Hacker that we’ve had a chance to use any sort of carbonated water in a cocktail. Most of you are quite familiar with some of the types of soda water by now, but there are some important differences that you should keep in mind when mixing drinks.
Types of Fizz Water
[Soda Water] – Also known as carbonated water, seltzer, fizzy water, or sparkling water is what is best known to most people. It is simply water in to which carbon dioxide has been introduced thus carbonating the water. There ware some natural sparkling waters available which are equivalent to carbonated mineral water.
[Club Soda] – This is the other main type of carbonated water you’re likely to find at your local grocery store. The primary difference here is that club soda has had a small amount of salt added in the form of sodium chloride (table salt), sodium citrate, sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate, or disodium phosphate. Which salt is added depends on the bottler. Wikipedia says that these are added to emulate the taste of home made soda water. They also have a nice history of carbonated water that I’m not going to go in to here. Although, the anecdote about mice is rather interesting.
Sources of Fizz Water
Like most of the ingredients we feature here on the site there are many sources for fizz water, some that allow you to precisely control the resulting product. Naturally these types are my favorite.
[Store Bought] – There are a nearly endless number of choices when it comes to store bought fizz water. I’d caution against using club soda as it may throw of the intended flavor of the cocktail in general. That said, most club soda will have such a small amount of salt added that you’re likely not to notice it at all. You can even experiment with a flavored fizz water that will complement the end flavor of the cocktail you’re producing.
[Soda Siphons] – Soda siphons are the tried and true home soda making tools. They consist of a carafe that you fill with your choice of water (I’d suggest filtered for the most neutral flavor). The carbonation comes in the form of small CO2 cylinders that introduce the carbonation to the water in the carafe. In the old days full bottles of pre-carbonated water were delivered to the home and your siphon attached to the top. The siphon provided a way to use a small amount of the water while keeping the rest fizzy.
Siphons work fantastically and make for a very elegant presentation. I’ll also say that if you want to make Fizz drinks, such as the Ramos Gin Fizz, a siphon is very nearly a requirement. The reason behind this is that the recipes call for the soda water to be injected in to the mixed cocktail rather than poured on top.
[Soda Makers] – If you’re really in to soda water, as I am. Then a soda maker may be more your sytle. Soda makers allow the use of much larger bottles of CO2 which allow for the carbonation of many liters of water before they empty. I personally have a Soda Club (now Soda Stream) soda maker and can’t speak highly enough of it. Each CO2 cylinder will carbonate approximately 100 liters of water and I have two bottles always chilling in the fridge. As for the water itself I go with Brita filtered water. This way I know I’m using pure water and not introducing any flavors I don’t intend to.
Another soda maker route is to build one yourself. Kevin Kelly has a nice overview of one DIY system. Here’s an instructable on the same topic. If you’ve done some home brewing, then home carbonating might be old hat for you. If not, then try one of the other options, or simply buy good store bought products. There are lots out there so experiment away.