Long before cans of seltzers became available in every flavor under the sun, fizzy club soda was the go-to option for those looking to add a bit of bubbly to afternoon cocktails and mocktails.
Club soda origin dates back to the 1800s when producers in Europe and America were finding ways to carbonate water and bottle it as soda water. The Irish company Cantrell & Cochrane still owns the trademark for the beverage claiming its 1877 version of club soda neutralizes lactic acid in the blood (via Culinary Lore). But they weren’t the first to produce the drink, with scientists in England, Hungry, and America also finding ways to carbonate water.
Club soda is often used interchangeably with sparkling beverages, like soda water or seltzer. Still, the main difference between seltzer, club soda, and mineral water is that sparkling club soda has a slightly salty taste, including ingredients like sodium bicarbonate, salt, and potassium sulfate.
Like adding a touch of salt when cooking sweet or savory dishes, a little bit of salinity lifts the flavors of sweet and savory beverages. But some inclusions are better than others. Here are the best drinks to pair with club soda, ranked.
Slightly effervescent kombucha tea is not just a health food store sensation. Today’s refrigerator section of mainstream grocery stores includes dozens of options, each touting the probiotic health benefits of drinking kombucha. Healthline shares that the drink has been around for thousands of years, delivering tea’s beneficial antibiotics and a dose of healthy probiotics.
Cleveland Clinic defines probiotics as beneficial live bacteria or yeasts in your system. They are like natural antibiotics. This good bacteria wards off harmful bacteria, like those that enter your system when you are sick or have the flu.
Making kombucha is a multi-week process. Producers start by using yeast and a bit of sugar to ferment green or black tea and add flavorings only later on. Though producing alcohol is not the intent, kombucha may include a bit of alcohol, acetic acid, and C02 created during the fermentation, Healthline adds.
Mixing the tea with club soda will lighten the overall palate and energize the natural carbonation of the drink. It is an ideal option for a regular soft drink enthusiast as it is a flavored bubbly drink that is good for you. Healthline adds various komboucha brands that include high amounts of sugar, resulting in a not-so-healthy health drink with high calories. Thus, any sugar-free, calorie-free club soda will help dilute the tea while enhancing the fizziness.
14. Cucumber Juice
Cucumber is one of the most nutrient-dense, hydrating fruits available. The cucumber is low in calories, high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber, and it is brimming with water, making each bite a vehicle for hydration. And yes, as Healthline reports, it is a fruit, not a vegetable.
Crunchy and crisp, cucumber is delicious in refreshing cucumber kimchi salads, made into a cucumber syrup for cocktails, or added to healthy green juice. It is also a cleansing refresher when combined with club soda. The H2O-filled fruit has similar thirst-quenching attributes to watermelon. Both main ingredients contain so much water it may help with weight loss, too, per Healthline.
Rather than pulverizing this fruit in a blender, juicing cucumber will give the best texture to a drink mixed with club soda, especially when you consider that bubbles will cause any pulp to surface. Along with club soda, you can take to mixing the juiced fruit with a bit of simple syrup or lime juice, and if you like it spicy, a hint of cayenne pepper.
13. Ruby red grapefruit juice
Slightly bitter, naturally sweet, ruby red grapefruit is a healthy living advocate’s dream. Health.com reports that citrus fruit is high in vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, and over 90% of the fruit is water, making it the ideal thirst-quencher. Grapefruit’s health benefits go beyond its immune-boosting and blood pressure-regulating qualities. It is also an excellent detoxifier.
Of Asian descent, though native to Barbados, the 300-year-old grapefruit is a hybrid of pomelo and sweet orange. Ruby red also has beta-carotene, which lowers the risk of heart disease. Health.com adds that the darker the fruit color, the more antioxidants it will contain.
While (as with any fruit) eating the whole is better than consuming only the juice, drinking your grapefruit is a quick way to score many nutrients. Mixing the tangy juice with club soda creates a clean, zesty drink that will give you a vital boost of sunshine-filled energy. The hint of saline in the soda accentuates the sweetness of the juice naturally without adding sugar. We add a few basil or mint leaves to the drink creating a refreshing mocktail. Although you won’t receive much of the fiber that grapefruit is known for by drinking it alone, it’s recommended to consume no more than six ounces of fruit juice a day.
Clean, crisp, and refreshing, for purists, one of the best drinks to mix with vodka is club soda. For vodka drinkers, the soda livens up the relatively neutral palate of the clear liquor, so it helps if you enjoy the taste of vodka. As club soda has a flavorless flavor palate, the duo on its own can bite you back, as the addition does not alter the taste of the alcohol. It will, however, change the texture, giving vibrancy to the drink while keeping the palate smooth.
Though vodka generally is filtered numerous times to create that clean palate, the liquor is not void of all flavor. Vinepair explains that vodka will contain sweet notes of citrus, honey, and vanilla or savory, spicy notes depending upon its base ingredients. Adding a citrus squeeze of lemon and lime elevates the straightforward character of the club soda cocktail.
Vodka is also available in many flavors, giving you countless options for straightforward vodka soda enjoyment. We love the flavors from Deep Eddy as the flavored vodkas have an authentic, non-cloying taste that, when mixed with soda, delivers a delicious fruity flavor.
Drinking bitters and soda is a go-to as old as our grandparent’s grandparents. But what are bitters? Bitters are concentrated extracts infused with herbs, flowers, roots, and other botanicals. Bitters have been a medicinal aid to digestion for hundreds of years, reports WebMD.
Bitters were first bottled in the 1700s when Dr. George Cheyne began using a blend of digestive herbs, including wormwood, watercress, and alcohol, to treat gout. The medical site adds that a few dashes help calm nausea and soothe an upset stomach.
But bitters are so much more than a tummy tamer. They are instant flavor infusers elevating any drink with a distinct bitter taste that lifts the flavor profile, stimulating your taste buds. The extracts are a staple for bartenders worldwide, with a few dashes included in classic beverages like the Sazerac cocktail or a smooth old-fashioned recipe. The most common bitters you will likely find behind every bar in America are Angostura, the top-selling bitters in the world (via Drinks International).
Combining bitters and soda delivers the same flavor enhancement producing a cocktail-like bubbly beverage with very little alcohol. Bitters and soda are the perfect options if you are cutting back on your alcohol intake or looking for a low-cal cocktail option. As bitters are so concentrated, only a few dashes add a punch of flavor, keeping the overall calories per drink to less than 10. The drink is widely regarded as a hangover cure these days, so take note.
A highly refreshing, herbaceous cocktail, the essence of a great mojito is in its simplicity. The simple blend of white rum, mint, sugar, lime, and club soda has been the base for the mojito for decades. It is a Caribbean favorite, thought to have originated in Havana, Cuba (via Culture Trip.)
Wine Enthusiast shares that mojito cocktails have become too sugary-sweet over the years, making them undrinkable. Keeping each ingredient balanced is the key to a delicious mojito, which is where club soda comes in.
The best rum for mojitos is a clean, dry rum, like Cana Brava 4-year Extra Seco or Brugal Especial Extra Dry. Both are bone dry, without the sugary aftertaste some white rums offer. They pair particularly well when lifted to the top of a glass by the effervescence of club soda. We love a predominantly herbaceous and refreshing mojito cocktail recipe, creating an infused simple syrup with an intensely minty flavor. It is the perfect addition to the muddled mint, lime, rum, and soda served over ice in rocks or highball glass.
9. Lillet Blanc
Lillet is a French wine-based aperitif produced by infusing wine with botanicals from flowers, fruit, and herbs, reports Vinepair. Since its invention in the late 1800s, Lillet has been a bar staple in brasseries and bistros throughout France. The aperitif liqueur is much like vermouth. But unlike vermouth, the liqueur does not contain the bitter herb wormwood. Instead of wormwood, Lillet’s initial recipe included large amounts of orange cordials and quinine, the main ingredient in tonic water. Though these flavors remain in the liqueur, today’s recipe for the signature Lillet Blanc includes softer quinine flavors with more pronounced floral notes.
The liqueur has low alcohol (17%) and an aromatic flavor profile that, when mixed with soda, creates a highly refreshing Lillet Spritz cocktail. The liqueur’s citrus and tropical fruit flavors are enhanced by the frothy bubbles of the soda, with the slightly bitter, salty flavors in club soda enhancing the sweet honey notes in the Lillet. To increase the herbaceous profile, consider adding juniper-filled gin to the recipe. A sliver of orange and a few sprigs of fresh basil or mint will make the drink pretty as a picture, transporting you to the south of France.
Bourbon and soda are a natural combination. The whiskey highball is one of the simplest cocktails to craft in the world. The drink mixes only two ingredients. The highball includes a few ounces of alcohol with several ounces of a mixer, like a club soda.
As there are only two ingredients, all elements must be precise, including high-quality cold ingredients. The liquor site explains the colder the ingredients, the higher the retention of carbon dioxide in the soda, ensuring the cocktail’s sparkle remains intact while producing an unctuous cocktail.
Adding club soda to the corn-based sweet spice and dried fruit-filled bourbon will soften the alcoholic bite of the liquor without interfering with the flavor of the whiskey. The soda will release the notes of vanilla and warm baking spice in the alcohol, revealing the sweetness of the whiskey. Though the original mint julep history did not include sparkling soda, we think it would make the ideal addition to tame the boozy cocktail.
Sweet and tart, fresh lemonade is the ideal thirst-quenching refreshing drink, perfect on its own. Or, transform lemonade into a fun treat with enhancements like strawberries, watermelon, or mint. However, each option is better with the addition of club soda, as bubbles make everything more fun.
Like drinking lemon soda, combining club soda with homemade lemonade reduces the sugar and calories in the drink as the soda contains zero of both. The touch of salt in the soda’s base will enhance the sweet fruity flavors of the lemonade.
If you are craving the citrusy drink, but realize you are out of club soda but have a box of baking soda in the back of your fridge, then you are in luck. One thing you might try is mixing some sugar with lemon juice and water and setting it aside. Then, coat a few sugar cubes with baking soda powder and drop them into the lemony drink. The reaction between the citric acid of the lemon and the alkaline powder creates carbon dioxide, the ingredient that carbonates bubbly beverages. Add ice and enjoy the fizzy drink while marveling at your scientific aptitude.
Low-alcohol vermouth is essential in so many cocktails because of its versatility. It adds flavors, textures, and aromas to a cocktail without diluting the overall drink, enhancing classic cocktails like the martini and classic Manhattan cocktail.
Wine Enthusiast shares that vermouth begins by fortifying and aromatizing wine with botanicals of herbs, fruits, and flowers, and a bittering agent, traditionally the herb wormwood. The European Union requires the inclusion of wormwood for vermouth made in Europe.
Though it is an essential cocktail ingredient, straight vermouth, or vermouth with soda, has become the go-to drink in recent years. It is perfect if looking for a lower-alcohol cocktail that still packs a punch of flavor. Enjoying various vermouth brands neat or with a single ice cube is common.
We find adding club soda with the aperitif will balance the spicy herbal flavors of the drink while adding a fizzy frothiness. We like the bittersweet Spanish favorite La Copa made from a blend of sweet and dry red sherry with club soda. To garnish, we recommend adding an olive to bring out the savoriness of the drink and a twist of orange for a complete cocktail that we can sip all night.
The Ranch Water cocktail has taken the cocktail scene by storm, mixing Topo Chico mineral water with tequila and lime. It is the modern-day skinny margarita. Vinepair shares that the cocktail’s origin is unknown, but in the past decade, it has spread from its home state of Texas throughout the country.
However, they add over the years, accessing the sparkling mineral water has been difficult in areas outside the state. Good ‘ole club soda comes to the rescue. With an exuberant amount of bubbles, club soda equally does the job, creating a clean, refreshing take on the drink.
The subtle saltiness of club soda enhances tequila’s earthy, peppery notes. The liquors burn softens with soda’s inclusion, with a squeeze of lime adding the touch of acid needed to round out the overall flavor profile with a pop of lively citrus. It is like taking a shot of tequila with salt and lime but much more refined. We find it a reasonable substitute for our spiced Ranch Water cocktail, delivering a refreshing, hydrating drink that is relatively sugar-free.
4. Cranberry Juice
With sour, tangy, and sweet flavors, cranberry juice delivers a vitamin-packed, detoxifying, immune-boosting drink filled with vitamins C, E, K1, and B6 (via Healthline). It is rich in antioxidants, has anti-inflammatory properties, ensures a healthy heart, and improves digestive health. And, we find the unsweetened juice is much easier to enjoy than the highly tart whole berry fruit.
However, like any 100% natural juice, it is high in calories. Mixing cranberry juice with club soda reduces the calorie count while adding refreshing carbonation, giving a punchy kick to the beverage.
Though we love the duo mixed with vodka and a squeeze of lime, additionally, sans alcohol, it is a delicious mocktail, becoming the go-to drink for celebrities like Brad Pitt. The actor told GQ that cranberry juice with fizzy water is his drink of choice since giving up alcohol.
Another reason to enjoy the mocktail is that cranberries are believed to help prevent urinary tract infections (via WebMD). The actor adds in his interview that he has the cleanest urinary tract in Los Angeles — in case you were wondering.
3. White Wine
We are white wine spritzer lovers. Nothing is better than a bubbly wine cocktail on a hot day to quench your thirst while delivering a bit of a buzz. The invention of the soda siphon, producing effervescent seltzer in the 1800s, made the spritz a staple cocktail in Europe. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when Americans finally embraced the spritzer, reports Wine Enthusiast.
In the 1970s and 80s, Americans who grew up drinking sugary sodas began adding bubbly club soda to their white wine, creating a sparkling cocktail.
We love the simplicity of the white wine spritzer and its refreshing qualities. The drink cuts the alcohol while reducing the calorie count by one-third to one-half, depending on the ratio of wine to soda you include. We suggest adding berries, herbs, or citrus to enhance the wine’s natural fruitiness and finishing the cocktail with a squeeze of lemon or orange.
Campari and soda may be the absolute best Campari cocktail. Gaspare Campari invented the Italian aperitivo outside of Milan in the 1860s (via Campari). The recipe is similar to vermouth, with the liqueur produced by infusing bitter herbs and fruit into alcohol. However, Campari has a much more distinctive bitter, citrusy taste and dazzling reddish color.
The liqueur is also similar to Aperol, though the difference between Aperol and Campari is the alcohol in Campari is significantly higher than Aperol (24% ABV for Campari compared to Aperol’s lighter 11% ABV). Both work well as a base for the classic cocktail combining the bitter liqueur with soda. Club soda has a slightly salty taste, which will enhance the fruit notes of the Campari, tame the bitterness, and round out the core tastes.
The best way to make this classic cocktail is to use a highball glass, adding one part Campari to three parts soda. Though this seems simple enough, there are ways to elevate drink. For starters, ensure everything is very cold. Using a frosty highball glass, and chilled soda, is best. We also suggest chilling Campari in the freezer to make it icy cold. Following this method, you can enjoy the drink without adding ice that would otherwise dilute the cocktail. If you do add ice, consider using one large ice cube that will melt slowly. Better yet, pick up a few stylish bottles of the ready-to-drink Campari Soda.
Adding water to any liquor helps open the palate, enhance the flavor, and tame the alcoholic bite of the beverage, allowing the aromas to shine (via Esquire). But why only add water when you can add bubbly water, thus transforming the cocktail into a sparkling sensation that is also one of America’s favorite classic drinks?
Vinepair reports the original highball cocktail of scotch and soda dates back to the 1900s when it was the most popular cocktail in America. When making scotch and soda, we suggest using an intensely flavorful whiskey that balances toasty oakiness with fruitness. However, we do not recommend using your most expensive single malt scotch but rather a quality blended scotch.
Master of Malt suggests peated scotch works well with soda as the neutral palate of the soda softens the harsh earthiness of the peat-influenced whiskey. The soda will tame the liquor burn, creating a refreshing, easy-to-enjoy drink, especially when finished with a simple lemon twist.
Esquire offers the preparation of the perfect cocktail should start with freezing ingredients, including a cold glass, scotch, and mixer. Begin with a tall, narrow glass filled with ice. Then add the scotch. And then, tilting the glass slightly on an angle, slowly pour in the soda. The site recommends not stirring the cocktail to ensure the bubbles remain in the drink.