Carbonated water is water that contains carbon dioxide gas. The gas creates small bubbles in the water, leading to an effervescent texture that some people find quite enjoyable. This product is also sometimes known as bubbly water, sparkling water, seltzer water, or club soda, and it comes in a variety of styles. In its simplest form, it is essentially identical to still water, except that it contains numerous bubbles, while other products may include additional ingredients that change the nutritional composition of the water.
Most of the carbonated water on the market is produced artificially by forcing carbon dioxide into the water at a bottling plant. It is also possible to purchase seltzer bottles and soda chargers, for people who want to make sparkling water at home with their own water sources. There are a few examples of naturally occurring carbonated water, however, some of which are bottled and distributed, and these products have been consumed for centuries by people who believed that they provided health benefits.
When people consume carbonated water, they consume the bubbles as well, and the experience is quite distinctive. Historically, some people thought that this water was beneficial to health, and some people continue to believe that it can settle an upset stomach. Some companies add minerals to the water, or carbonate natural mineral water to produce a flavored sparkling water. Tonic water, one variation, is classically made with quinine, a bitter substance that has been used to prevent malaria. The added minerals and salts can sometimes lead to health problems, such as tooth decay or high blood pressure, although flavored sodas are far more likely to cause health problems.
Some people enjoy drinking carbonated water plain, enjoying the bubbly texture and the mild flavor. Connoisseurs may even prefer waters from a specific spring or bottling facility, which is why some restaurants offer several sparkling water choices on the menu. The water can also be mixed with juice, flavoring syrups, and other ingredients to create a flavored drink.
As people who purchase and use carbonated water may have noted, the bubbles will gradually go flat once the bottle is opened, breaking the seal that holds the carbonation in the bottle. This can be prevented by using a seltzer bottle with a tight seal and a charger to maintain high carbonation levels, or by using a specialized soda tap that keeps the seal on the bottle tight so that the carbonation cannot escape.