Curious about what you can do to make sparkling water taste better? While refreshing on its own, the flavor of carbonated water can be improved in a multitude of ways, from mixing it with a different beverage to adding handy concentrated flavor droplets to make it taste like LaCroix or Bubly.
It’s easy to see why some people are turned off by the mildly bitter flavor of sparkling water. That flavor in sparkling water comes from carbonic acid – a compound that forms when CO2 is dissolved in water.
However, the taste of carbonic acid can be masked fairly easily, as evidenced by the fact that it exists in all carbonated beverages. Carbonic acid is even in soda, yet most of us don’t notice it. That’s because the flavor is obscured by sugar and other added flavors.
If you’d prefer to buy sparkling water with more flavor to begin with, take a look at our list of the most flavorful brands of sparkling water.
How to Make Sparkling Water Taste Better
You don’t need to be a soda manufacturer to figure out how to mask a bitter flavor. Your fridge and pantry are likely full of viable additions for sparkling water that can make it a more palatable and enjoyable to drink. Start with the following ideas and branch out with your own unique additions!
1. Flavoring Drops
We’re living in the golden age of flavored water. We now have hundreds of enticing choices for concentrated flavoring drops to enhance the taste of our sparkling water with minimal effort.
There are flavoring drops designed to mimic the exact taste of popular flavored carbonated water brands. You can add liquid to your sparkling water to make it taste like your favorite candy or fruit. Just a few drops will usually do the job.
There are even options for vitamin, probiotic, and caffeine infused water enhancers that can simultaneously turn up the flavor and energize your sparkling water.
Take a look at some of these interesting flavoring drop options on Amazon:
- Bubly Drops: Make your sparkling water taste just like Bubly at home with these naturally flavored and unsweetened drops.
- Mio: Flavor your sparkling water with this wildly popular water enhancer, available in energy, vitamin and sport variations.
- HydroMATE: An electrolyte infused drink mix powder designed to hydrate you faster than water (great for hangovers).
- Crush Liquid Water Enhancer: Orange Crush – the classic orange soda from your childhood. This water enhancer offers the benefits of no sugar and no calories.
For a more portable option that can be used anywhere, consider a powdered water flavoring packet.
2. Mix Sparkling Water with Your Favorite Beverage
Sparkling water is great, but it’s likely no one will argue that it’s the most flavorful beverage out there. So why not combine it with a tasty beverage that you already enjoy?
A splash of carbonation can bring effervescent life to a flat drink. When added to a carbonated beverage, it’s typically much more palatable than watering a drink down with regular water.
Sparkling water mixed with lemonade is a classic combination. It’s the perfect refreshing beverage for a relaxing afternoon at the beach or in your own backyard. You might be surprised to learn that people make lemonade with carbonated water in much of the world outside of the United States.
A sweet and sour fermented beverage made from tea, kombucha is usually packed with flavor. The beverage has gained popularity in recent years, but the strong flavor can be quite overwhelming on its own. By mixing it with sparkling water, we can cut that strong flavor a bit, without compromising on carbonation.
Sweet, flavorful, and carbonated – soda has a lot of appeal. However, we know that too much of it can be harmful to our teeth and overall health. Mixing it with sparkling water can help us reduce our sugar intake, without compromising much on flavor.
3. Fruit Juice
One of the most common additions to sparkling water is fruit juice – particularly citrus. Whether it’s lemon, lime, orange or grapefruit juice, these tangy juices can add a bit of zest to an otherwise ordinary beverage.
However, there’s no need to stop at citrus. Grape, apple, pineapple, and cranberry juice can all add a bit of flavor to your sparkling water.
It’s all a matter of personal preference, but some combinations of fruit juice can be particularly enjoyable. Consider the blends that you’ve seen in beverages on store shelves. Cranberry and lime, for example, complement one another tremendously well. Take a look at this fruit flavor pairing chart (intended for baking, but useful for any application).
4. Fresh Herbs and Fruit
Imagine a light and refreshing carbonated beverage with a complex flavor profile of mint, lemon, raspberry. You don’t need to be a mixologist to know that this is going to taste good.
A few other ideas for fruit and herb combinations include:
- Lemongrass and pineapple
- Ginger, lemon and lavender
- Cucumber and mint
Try experimenting with different combinations of common fruits and garden fresh herbs. You’ll likely find that it’s not difficult to come up with a uniquely tasty beverage. What’s more, you can tell your friends that you’ve invented a new beverage – one that’s fizzy, refreshing and healthy.
If you add alcohol to your sparkling water, is it still sparkling water, or should we call it a cocktail? Either way, a splash of your favorite vodka, tequila or even liqueur can add a bit of kick to your sparkling water.
Add some fruit juice as well and you’ve got a tasty summertime beverage that you just can’t beat. Many recipes for a margarita or mojito begin with sparkling water as a base, and you can build upon them with fresh fruit and even herbs.
Typically, sparkling water does not contain any sweeteners, but there are some exceptions. If you prefer a sweeter beverage, adding sugar, honey, or stevia to your sparkling water can introduce a bit more flavor.
The benefit of adding your own sweetener instead of buying an already-sweetened beverage like soda is control. Similar to ice tea, you can add as much or as little sweetener as you like, flavoring it exactly how you like.
You may not think of ice as something that would improve upon the flavor of a beverage. However, just as hot food tastes different from cold, chilling a beverage can significantly impact its flavor.
Ice suppresses the flavor of drinks, meaning it could take the edge off the bitterness you may taste when drinking sparkling water. You can test the difference yourself by comparing an iced sparkling water with one that is room temperature. Be careful not to completely freeze your carbonated water, as doing so will cause it to lose its carbonation.
Sparkling Water is a Versatile Beverage
Whether you love sparkling water or you’re just trying to find a way to make it drinkable, there are plenty of options for flavoring it to your liking. Many people consider it an acquired taste, but it can be easily flavored so almost anyone may enjoy it.
Overall, for a quick and easy way to flavor your sparkling water, flavoring drops or natural fruit juice will likely offer the most bang for your buck.