Skip to Content

Why is sparkling water bitter?

Why Does Sparkling Water Taste Bitter

I’m interested in learning why does sparkling water taste bad and the difference between sparkling water and regular water, and in particular, the differences in taste.

So I did some research to find out why sparking water(tonic water) tastes bitter. We all know sparkling water tastes bad.

So, why does sparkling water taste bitter?

Sparkling water is made by pumping carbon dioxide (CO2) gas into water.  Why does carbonated water taste bad?

CO2 or carbon dioxide gas is a mild acid (carbonic acid). Because CO2 is slightly acidic it gives the water a bitter and slightly sour taste.

It’s the same sensation that you get from lemon juice, which has a sour and slightly bitter taste because it contains citric acid.  So now we know why does sparkling water taste different.

You may be wondering how it’s made, how to make it taste less bitter, and the difference between the different types of carbonated water you can buy.

So, read on where I will answer all of these questions and more.

How do you make sparkling water less bitter?

How do you make sparkling water less bitter

You can make sparkling water less bitter by allowing the CO2 to escape from the water.

The CO2 will naturally escape from sparkling water if you let it in a glass or leave the bottle open.

You can also make it taste less bitter by adding sweet fruit juice, or syrup to it.

Popular soft drinks are made the same way as sparkling water and bubbly water but fruit juice, artificial sweeteners, or syrup are added to the plain water.

It’s added either before or after it’s carbonated.

This is a common way to get interested – and some might say the satisfying taste of carbonated water or tonic water, without the bitter and plain taste of regular sparkling water.

Therefore, one of the easiest ways is to add sweet fruit juice such as apple juice or pineapple juice. Which balances out the bitter taste.

Apart from adding natural sugar to give it a sweet taste, it also dilutes the amount of CO2 in the sparkling water.

Making it less acidic, and as a result less bitter. 

As you may be aware if you leave soda water in a glass, or leave the bottle open soda water or fizzy drinks will become flat.

This happens because the CO2 escapes from the surface of the water, and makes its way into the air – never to return.

This removes most if not all of the CO2 in sparkling water and removes the bitter taste.

Sparkling water also called soda water, and carbonated water is made by using pressure to force the gas or carbonic acid to combine with the liquid.

But, sparkling water is also naturally occurring, more on this later.

Is there a downside to drinking sparkling water?

Is there a downside to drinking sparkling water?

Many people drink sparkling water to replace popular fizzy drinks that can contain a lot of sugar.

One downside is that they don’t taste as sweet.

Carbonated drinks such as sparkling water, club soda, soda water, and seltzer can also upset your stomach and give you gas

But this varies from person to person. I would categorize sparkling water as an acquired taste much like oysters, and certain types of cheeses like blue-vein cheese.

Some people love it, whereas others dislike it.

Therefore, each individual person will experience different downsides or advantages to drinking sparkling water.

What is the best sparkling water to replace soda?

What is the best sparkling water to replace soda

According to, the most popular sparkling water brands are Pellegrino, Sparkling Ice, La Croix, Spindrift, Perrier, Voss Sparkling, Topo Chico, Poland Spring, Canada Dry, and Bubly.

Many of them offer sparkling water with naturally added fruit juice which makes them very delicious.

It’s up to you to try them to see which you like best.

I would add to the list the Schweppes brand, as I like their other sodas, and I have personally heard very good things about La Croix. 

Pellegrino is probably the most widely available sparkling water at restaurants, from what I’ve seen.

However, bars, nightclubs, and restaurants will typically also have a house soda that is almost identical to sparkling water.

But, to order it, you normally have to ask for soda water.

You can also make your own sparkling water using a machine that you can buy online fairly cheaply.

The most popular brand is a Sodastream 

It’s a small benchtop device that pushes CO2 and carbonic acid into the water.

It comes with special bottles that fit into the machine, and you buy canisters of CO2 for it.

There is also a range of specially made flavor concentrates that you can add to it such as cola, or ginger ale.

It’s always a balancing act to figure out how much to add so that it isn’t too strong or too weak.

How to make sparkling water taste better?

How do you make sparkling water taste better

You can make sparkling water taste better by adding different additives to it.

You can add anything you like from fruit juice to syrup – sometimes called cordial – which is a liquid concentrate.

Herbs such as mint, or peppermint, can also be added to balance out the bitterness.

You can experiment with a bunch of different flavors to see which you like the best.

And can even make one that tastes like lemonade by adding sugar, and lemon juice

Many people also use soda water as a mixer in alcoholic drinks.

A combination I like is one shot of tequila, a glass of sparkling water, and lemon or lime juice.

It’s very refreshing.

Is club soda the same as sparkling water?

Is club soda the same as sparkling water

Club soda and sparkling water are different. Club soda and sparkling water both contain which makes them fizzy.

But, they are manufactured in a very similar way, where CO2 is forced into water under high pressure.

However, club soda contains additional mineral salts that are added during production. 

The added mineral salts are sodium bicarbonate, potassium bicarbonate, potassium sulfate, or sodium citrate, according to Wikipedia.

However, some sparkling water manufacturers will add these to the water to make it taste closer to naturally occurring spring water.

There is also tonic water which is similar to both club soda and sparkling water. reports that tonic water is different though because it usually contains added quinine and sugar.

Is seltzer water the same as sparkling water?

Is seltzer water the same as sparkling water

According to, seltzer water is different from sparkling water because sparkling water can be naturally occurring.

Whereas, seltzer water is always created by adding CO2 after it has been collected.

But, some brands of sparkling water are made by adding CO2 to the tap water after it’s collected.

Even though, this technically makes it a seltzer and not sparkling water.

Therefore, it’s a good idea to read the label, and/or do some research into the company to see how it’s made.

Standard seltzer water and sparkling water are both fizzy, and don’t contain any additives to improve the taste.

And by and large seltzer water and sparkling water taste almost identical.

The major difference in taste occurs because of the different places the water is collected from.

Each source will taste slightly different based on what minerals and nutrients are present in the environment.

For example, spring water can flow through rocks.

All rocks have a distinct chemistry.

For example, volcanic rocks like basalt will produce a different taste, compared to water than has flowed through or over rocks such as sandstone. 

As the water flows over and between the rocks, the water washes off some of the surfaces of the rocks and the tiny particles get suspended in the plain water, modifying its flavor.


What does sparkling water taste like? Sparkling water tastes bitter because of the CO2 that is in the water. CO2 is a weak acid and gives sparkling water a bitter(citrus flavor) or sour taste.

Much like lemon juice which contains citric acid.  So we learnt why does sparkling water taste so bad.

You can make sparkling water taste better like Carbonated beverages by adding syrup, sugar, or fruit juice.

Also, if you leave sparkling water open to the air, such as in a glass, or leave the lid off the bottle, the CO2 will eventually escape from the water, and it won’t taste as bitter.