The seltzer trend has blown up on the consumer market. And although the subcategory represents less than 10 percent of the total water category retail dollars for Coca-Cola, it drove nearly 35 percent of the water category’s growth in 2017. Here’s a roundup of a few favorite restaurant sparkles.
Topo Chico has proved itself in the significant Texas market, where it’s leading the flavored water category. Beverage professionals at Carnivale in Chicago, Harlowe MXM in Dallas, and J.W. Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa all recommended this sparkler, as many guests have started asking for it by name.
“As a mixologist, I use sparkling mineral water that is unflavored. It gives me the opportunity to make my own simple syrups with organic and sugar-free options,” says Maxx Kleiner of Carnivale. “I love Topo Chico the most. It has a beautiful story behind it, and, for me, it mixes great with a lot of the spirits I use.”
Alex Fletcher of Harlowe MXM shares Kleiner’s sentiment. “Topo Chico has taken over the bar culture,” he says. “It’s tough to beat those bubbles.”
A favorite at full-service restaurants at home and abroad, S. Pellegrino’s recognizable green glass bottle adds a sense of class to a meal. The brand is a favorite behind the bar at Crooked Branch Lobby Bar in San Antonio, where Christina Reyes, bartender, says it’s the best seltzer mixer for vodka.
In terms of popularity with bartenders we polled, Fever-Tree definitely wins the prize here. Bartenders rave about the dependability of the brand’s range of tonics and sodas.
“We love Fever-Tree, especially their Ginger Ale and Elderflower Tonic,” says Susi Zivanovic, corporate sommelier and beverage director at 14-location chain Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille.
“Fever Tree products have been our companion all along,” says Matt Harwell of Carson Kitchen in Las Vegas, calling the brand’s club soda exceptional.
While it’s not seltzer per se, professionals note the light, crisp, not-too-sweet qualities of Fever Tree’s products. “They make a clean impact on you drinks,” says Ben Rouse of Nashville’s Henley.
Another Coca-Cola product, this Swiss-made favorite is set to take over the U.S.—starting in Atlanta. Similar to S. Pellegrino, Valser is served in 750-ml glass bottles that provide a luxurious appeal to the table. “Valser is naturally infused with more minerals and less sodium than other import waters, creating a distinct taste profile that uniquely enhances fine food and wine,” says Spickert of Coca-Cola.
Similar to Fever Tree, Q is popular with mixologists. “As the cocktail culture evolves in Miami, we all look more and more for organic, fresh ingredients. The seltzer trend is also part of looking for a product of higher quality for your cocktails,” says Martin Matas of Miami’s Chotto Matte. He likes Q for the brand’s flavors and high-quality, well-priced product.