Photography by Tom Arena
So fizz is fun, but it serves a functional role, too. “Carbonated water lengthens and acidifies drinks,” explains Camper English, author of Doctors and Distillers: The Remarkable Medicinal History of Beer, Wine, Spirits, and Cocktails. “Plus, the bubbles help lift aromatics up out of the drink and tickle your nose.”
However, not all carbonated water is alike. “I know it’s a little funny to wrap your brain around thinking about water as an ingredient, but it’s so important,” says Jena Ellenwood, cocktail educator at NYC bar Dear Irving. “Bubble size and stamina vary with each fizzy water.” And it can make a difference when added to other elements in a drink, like spirits and citrus. In addition, some can add sweet, salty or bitter flavors, so it’s important to know which is which—here we offer this sparkling guide to the world of effervescent H2O.
A catch-all term for carbonated water.