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Difference between seltzer and sparkling water

Updated April 17, 2017

Seltzer water and sparkling water are both names for soda water, which is water that has been carbonated. Some seltzer water and sparkling water may be naturally carbonated, but most seltzers and sparkling waters have been artificially produced.

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Unlike regular water, carbonated water is bubbly and effervescent. It is slightly more flavourful than regular water.


Carbonated waters, like seltzer water and sparkling water, may be sipped on their own or used as the base for flavoured sodas. They also may be mixed with alcohol in order to create cocktails.


Carbonated water can contain small amounts of sodium bicarbonate, which some believe to be helpful in soothing upset stomaches.

Other Names

Seltzer water and sparkling water are also known as club soda and soda water. Tonic water is a type of seltzer or sparkling water to which quinine and additional flavourings have been added, giving it a strong, unique flavour.


According to PracticallyEdible.com, carbonated water was discovered by Joseph Priestley in 1767. The name "seltzer water" comes from the German town of Nieder Selters, where there is a naturally carbonated water spring.

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About the Author

Emily Maggrett

Emily Maggrett has been writing for more than eight years. Her fiction has appeared in "Jeopardy" and "Rivet" and her journalism has appeared in "The Cascadia Weekly" and "The Western Front." Maggrett holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Western Washington University.

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