What Can I Use Instead of Club Soda in the UK?

In the United Kingdom, the concept of club soda – a carbonated drink used primarily as a mixer in cocktails and various beverages – is often referred to by different names, leading to a bit of confusion for those used to the American terminology. This guide aims to clarify what club soda is, its UK equivalent, and explores suitable alternatives available in the UK market.

What is Club Soda?

Club soda, a staple in bars and homes alike, is essentially carbonated water to which minerals have been added to enhance its taste. These minerals can include sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, potassium sulfate, and disodium phosphate. The result is a refreshing, fizzy water with a slightly salty taste, making it a popular choice for both drinking on its own and for mixing into cocktails.

The UK Version of Club Soda

In the UK, what Americans refer to as “club soda” is most commonly known as soda water or carbonated water. The term “seltzer water” is also used, albeit less frequently. British soda water is similar to club soda in that it is also carbonated and may contain added minerals, although the specific mineral content can vary by brand.

Sparkling Water as an Alternative

Yes, sparkling water can be used in place of club soda in the UK. Sparkling water in the UK is essentially the same as club soda, with carbonation and sometimes minerals. It serves as a perfect substitute in cocktails and other beverages that call for club soda.

The Difference Between Club Soda and Sparkling Water in Drinks

While the difference between club soda and sparkling water might be noticeable when tasted on their own – with club soda having a slightly saltier taste due to the added minerals – in a mixed drink, this difference is often indistinguishable. The choice between the two largely comes down to personal preference and availability.

Alternatives to Club Soda in the UK

For those in the UK looking for substitutes for club soda in their beverages or recipes, several options are available:

  1. Sparkling Water: As mentioned, a direct substitute for club soda, ideal for those who prefer a less salty taste.
  2. Tonic Water: Offers a bitter edge due to the quinine it contains. It’s a suitable substitute for cocktails, especially those with gin or vodka, but should be used sparingly due to its distinct flavor.
  3. Carbonated Water: For those with a home carbonation machine, such as a SodaStream, carbonated water can be made and then adjusted with a pinch of salt to mimic the taste of club soda.


Understanding the nuances between club soda and its equivalents in the UK, such as soda water or sparkling water, is crucial for both culinary and beverage applications. Whether you’re crafting a sophisticated cocktail or simply seeking a refreshing carbonated drink, the UK offers several suitable alternatives to club soda. Remember, the best substitute often depends on the specific requirements of the recipe and personal taste preferences. Experimenting with these alternatives can not only broaden your beverage options but also enhance your culinary creations.

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