What sparking water should you pair with your gin cocktail?
Why are there so many types of water that have bubbles? From Club Soda to Tonic Water, is there really a difference? And how does this make any difference in my gin cocktail? As far as mixers for gin cocktails are concerned, you have some delightful options.
Gin is a spirit to be consumed alongside other flavors and textures and garnishes, and surprisingly enough, it does matter what type of bubbling water goes into some gin cocktails. Each type of water has its own properties, some from the earth, and some artificially added. For traditionalists who love a classic Gin and Tonic, there is no substitute for the classic tonic water. For experimentalists, play around with the other water options.
These simple waters are basically just plain water that has been carbonated with carbon dioxide, which is the reason for the bubbles. You can find seltzer waters flavored with a myriad of fruity essences that may, or may not, contain actual fruit.
If you absolutely adore seltzer water and want to find an economical way to drink gallons of it, you can make it at home. The old-time seltzer bottles with canister are still around from specialty shops, but are not the most economical. You can also use a CO2 tank and some homemade plumbing to create a carbonating faucet. Some areas also have seltzer delivery services, or you can buy a modern countertop fizz making machine.
These countertop seltzer making machines are wonderful at making all sorts of fizzy things and don’t take up much room. They may also afford you the pleasure of making your own fruit-infused seltzers. Because you can.
To make club soda, take your seltzer water and add some minerals. You might find that baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, has been added. You can also find citrates, phosphates, and plain old salt added in club soda. Many of us find that un-fruited seltzer and club soda taste remarkably similar.
If a cocktail recipe calls for seltzer but you only have club soda on hand, there’s little perceivable difference between the two, and one can easily be substituted for the other as far as mixers for gin cocktails are concerned. If you are making your own seltzer, do you really need to mess with adding minerals to make it clubby, and how would you do that anyway?
Well then what the heck is mineral water if club soda has those extra minerals in it? Mineral water comes from a spring in the earth and already has salts and some sulfur compounds floating around. You can find this fresh from the earth, or the sparkling variety where gasses either occur naturally or have been added. Mineral waters are typically not used in cocktails, but some folks will add mineral water to wine.
And that’s a discussion for a whole other website, which doesn’t exist yet, but should be called “don’t put water in your wine”. Unless you want to.
Many consider tonic water to be a soft drink which also happens to have quinine in it. Long ago, quinine was the only treatment for malaria, and large doses of quinine were added to water for malaria sufferers. This intense taste was often cut with gin, which I’m sure also helped the general bad luck mood associated with having malaria. Modern-day tonic waters have much less quinine.
Today, we have a wide variety of tonic waters to choose from, from light, elderflower, hibiscus, cherry, and more. For the gin and tonic purists out there, this must be sheer tonic water blasphemy. For the more adventurous G&T enthusiasts, more flavors = better.
If you would like to make your own tonic water, you can source your own quinine which seems like a supreme waste of time and more like a basement lab experiment. Or, you can add a quinine syrup to your bubbly water of choice to use in your cocktails. This also allows you to customize the quinine taste for your Gin and Tonic if you happen to be into that sort of thing. Which you should be.
The advantage of adding a quinine syrup to fizzy water is that many of the syrups have those fancy flavors added. Which is totally up to you if you want to throw them out the window or covet them forever.
All of these lovely waters are a wonderful way to get your hydration going. And also to perhaps mix into a lovely gin cocktail.
Are there other mixers for gin cocktails?
Sure – but these are the basics. And each can also be flavored, because who doesn’t love more options?