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Let’s be real for a second: Hard seltzers are getting alll the lovin’ these days. But what about the OG beverage — the simple, delicious, bubbly beauty of a seltzer sans alcohol?
We’re big fans of sparkling water at Greatist — and hey, you can always add a shot of your fave alcohol to mix things up — so we rounded up our top sparkling water picks that we think steal the show.
We surveyed Greatist editors for their all-time fave sparkling water brands, flavors, and bev recipes. We also put all these tasty AF brands through a thorough vetting process that makes sure of the following:
- The company doesn’t make any unsupported health claims (like “OMG this sparkling water brand will restore 100 percent of your electrolytes in one sip!”).
- The company isn’t currently involved in any lawsuits regarding the products we’re recommending.
- The company has a decent reputation and isn’t known for doing shady sh*t.
All of the below brands passed the vetting (and taste test) process with no probs.
Name: Ruby Thompson
Title: Market Editor
Favorite flavor: Lime
OK, I know I’m not reinventing the wheel here, but La Croix is a tried-and-true favorite that never lets me down. I know some people think the flavors are too subtle, but that’s exactly what I like about it. I’m definitely a no-sugar-in-my-coffee, plain-Cheerios type of gal — but I still want some flavor in my bevvie, so La Croix is my go-to.
The brand has a ton of flavors, but I like to stick to the simpler (also citrusy) ones, like Lime, Pamplemousse (aka “grapefruit” en francais), and Lemon. Oh, it’s also a Whole 30-approved beverage, so you can keep throwin’ em back if you’re mid-elimination diet.
How to mix it up
I recently found this recipe on PlateJoy and it’s become one of my personal faves. You can use unflavored seltzer and add fresh lime instead, but I love using lime La Croix.
Here’s what you need (makes two servings):
- 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
- 1 3/4 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
- 2 1/2 cups lime La Croix
- handful of ice
Here’s how to make it:
Combine blueberries and mint in a glass (or pitcher) and mash with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon. Add ice and your lime La Croix and voila! You have absolute mocktail perfection.
If you’re lookin’ to party, you can also add a shot of your favorite vodka to each glass for a delish twist on a vodka soda.
Name: Ashley Sepanski
Title: Lead Lifestyle & Market Editor
Favorite flavor: Twist of Grapefruit
I should probably be embarrassed, but I owe my Topo Chico obsession to Zac Efron. In the second episode of his show “Down to Earth,” he partakes in a water tasting with Anna Kendrick, led, naturally, by a water sommelier.
Many jokes and eyerolls are exchanged as they sample different luxury waters of varying minerality and Ph levels. It’s the thrilling stuff TV is made of, and just when things can’t get more exciting, the water somm drops a little hydration bomb: Can water ever dehydrate you?
Here’s the thing. Drinking mineral water, depending on the brand and the ingredients, provides small amounts of sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Distilled water — which is water that has been purified to a point where any contaminants (and any natural minerals) are completely removed — can pull small amounts of minerals that are important for your body to maintain a balance of electrolytes. This can cause problems if you only drink distilled water and don’t get enough minerals in your diet, but it’s not a guarantee for dehydration. (Also, tap water is considered mineral water and it’s probably pretty rare that you ever drink distilled water in the first place).
The truth: Mineral water isn’t automatically better for you, but the episode did inspire me to add some mineral-enriched options to my pantry. I found a box of Topo Chico during a grocery store run and it was love at first sip.
Regardless of the mineral vs. nonmineral debate, I recommend TC just for the taste. The key takeaway here being it actually has a taste. It’s also perfectly fizzy. The bubbles are tiny, tickly delights that deliver an effervescent, refreshing drinking experience. And the twist of citrus in the grapefruit varieties really seals the deal. It’s summer bliss!
How to mix it up
I’m no mixologist, but I love a good wine spritzer. Choose a fruity or tart wine variety like rose or sauvignon blanc, then top it off with a splash of Topo Chico and a couple frozen blueberries to keep the bevvy chilled. Cheers!
Name: Samantha Kostaras
Title: Demand Editor
Favorite flavor: Strawberry
What’s not to love about Waterloo? Its products are certified vegan, organic, and sugar-free. But my favorite part about this brand is that its fruity flavors don’t taste like an imitation of that fruit. They just 👏 taste 👏 good 👏.
Every can has 0 calories and it doesn’t require a separate trip to a health food store to pick it up. I’ve been able to find this brand at Target, local grocery stores, and even Amazon.
How to mix it up
I’m a sucker for a mojito that’s made with any kind of fresh fruit. From blackberry to watermelon, if a restaurant has it on special, I’m ordering it. At home, I’m usually a very lazy bartender, but if it’s summertime and I’m having friends over, I will step it up and make my own version of a strawberry mojito.
- 4-5 mint leaves
- 2 strawberries, chopped
- 2 big slices of lime
- 1 teaspoon sugar (skip if the strawberries are really sweet!)
- 1 shot of gin (or stick to rum, don’t @ me)
- Waterloo sparkling water
- 1 strawberry, sliced
- 1 small slice of lime
- handful of ice
Muddle the mint, chopped strawberries, sugar, and juice from half of a lime (2 big slices) in the bottom of a glass. Don’t rush this step! The more you muddle, the better it gets. Then add the gin, sparkling water, and sliced strawberry (just to be fancy). Top off with ice and a splash of sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of lime. Enjoy!
If you want to go totally off the mojito rails, try it with basil instead of mint. Seriously.
Pro tip: To choose the juiciest lime of the pack, don’t focus solely on color. Instead look for one with the smoothest surface that’s got a lot of weight for its size.
Name: Amanda Page
Title: Senior Editor
Favorite flavor: Sparkling. Internationally, it’s only available in Naturel or Sparkling. If you’re in Germany, you have access to the elusive Apple Spritzer.
A sucker for products with a story, I was drawn to this heritage mineral water. According to the Gerolsteiner website, in 1888, geologist Wilhelm Castendyck discovered high quality mineral water while drilling in the Rhineland region of Germany, near Vulkan Eifel. (That’s German for Volcano Eifel 🖖 ).
And then there’s the mineral content. Legend has it, the geology of the volcano allows this water to pick up a uniquely impressive blend of mineral content. It contains 2,479 milligrams of minerals and trace elements per liter (more than most mineral waters). It’s fascinating stuff — read up on all the health benefits of these minerals, and you’ll be ready to chug Gerolsteiner all day, err day.
It also tastes great. There’s a hint of rich, earthy flavor, like souped-up tap-water-meets-plain-sparkling-water. The packaging is an old-school departure from everything else on the shelf. It’s solid and dependable — the Volkswagen of sparkling waters. The glass bottle is big, heavy, and adorned with bold fonts and a bright red and navy Palatine Lion. When you crack it open, you can almost hear the bubbles say “Guten Tag.”
How to mix it up
I prefer not to mess with natural perfection, but if you’re feeling extra or need an afternoon perk up, try this fun frappé:
Blend two bar spoon scoops of super finely-ground coffee with 2/3 ounce of caramel syrup and 5 ounces of Gerolsteiner. Serve over ice with a splash of half and half. Próst! 🤤
Name: DeVonne Goode
Title: Lifestyle Editor
Favorite flavors: Tie between Grape Raspberry and Coconut Pineapple
I’m admittedly not a sparkling water connoisseur, but Sparkling ICE was the first brand that actually made me want to keep drinking after the first few sips. I first tried it at my in-laws’ house years ago when I’d been looking for a sugarless drink option. I remember seeing a bottle of the lemonade flavor sitting in their refrigerator and deciding to give it a try. Long story short: I basically ended up cleaning out most of their supply. Now I buy my own regularly.
As a lover of fruit juices, I’m a sucker for flavor that lasts, and that’s what I get with Sparkling ICE. Its ingredient list isn’t picture perfect for people steering clear of any additives or preservatives, but it’s without sugar and carbs and is low in calories.
On top of that, it’s really affordable with a variety of flavors per pack. Some of my favorites are grape strawberry, coconut pineapple, and the brand new fruit punch. Honorable mention goes to the lemon lime flavor that serves as a nice sugar-free option for those who love Sprite.
As far as carbonation goes, it holds pretty well if you keep the cap on, especially if you like to drink it cold. I’m open to trying other brands, but I have yet to find one that’s as equally strong in the flavor, taste, and affordability categories.
How to mix it up
TBH, the flavors or Sparkling ICE are *chef’s kiss* and don’t really need any sprucing up. Enjoy them as is!
Name: Jill Campbell
Title: Copy Editor
Favorite flavor: Grapefruit (but Blackberry is a close second!)
The first time I tried Spindrift, I thought, “This is so good I may never drink any other seltzer again” (and I drink a lot of seltzer). All the flavors I’ve tried have tasted amazing, and I love the simplicity and transparency of the ingredients — no “natural flavors” on the label, just real fruit juice.
Plus, the fruit juice adds a fun hint of color that makes it feel a little fancier than the average sparkling water. I rarely drink Spindrift out of the can — I pour it into a glass so I can appreciate the color! It’s a multisensory experience, y’all.