So. You’re scanning the shelves in your departmental store for some drinks. And there are so many drinks. Plain water, sparkling water, tonics, sodas, energy drinks, fruit blasts, soda water, the list goes on. And on. Rows and rows filled with drinks of colours somehow even outside the rainbow spectrum, the shelves towering over you like some warped nightmare.
Don’t fret. Carbonated drinks are varied and their names change based on their added ingredients and carbonation levels. Let’s run through them a bit.
Let’s start off with the star of the show. Sparkling Water, simply put, is the aeration of water with carbon dioxide to make carbonated water. This can occur naturally in springs or can be manufactured. It has no added components to preserve the product or enhance flavour, or any sugar/artificial sweeteners. Sparkling water may have a slight added flavour that does not add to the calorific value of the drink, or can be flavourless. Polka Pop has subtle natural fruit flavours, just enough to make the drink a bit exciting!
Club soda is simply carbonated water with added salts that add a certain signature salty taste to the water, as well as preserve the drink for longer shelf life. These salts can lower or raise the pH level of the drink even further, making it more acidic or even alkaline.
Seltzer is carbonated water that simply is not flavoured, giving it a plainer taste compared to club soda or sparkling water, which might have added flavour. Seltzer water might not have any sweetener or flavouring agents but might have preserving agents to ensure a longer shelf life.
Tonic water is the most easily differentiable from other carbonated drinks because of its taste. Tonic water gets its characteristic bitter taste from the presence of quinine, a medication used to treat patients of malaria, extracted from the bark of a chinchona tree, native to Peru. The amount of quinine used in tonic water was drastically reduced once the adverse effects it has on the human body were discovered, but tonic water today does contain trace amounts to give its distinct flavour.
So next time you visit the store, you know what you want to get. We hope it’s Polka Pop’s Sparkling Water!