With all do respect to the White Claw crowd, there are better hard seltzer options out there. Among them are the recipes you can tackle at home, provided you at least have a few popular spirits at your disposal. After all, while canned cocktails can be delicious, it’s tough to top one made fresh, especially when there’s citrus and other fruit involved.
Bartenders know that sparkling water is a key ingredient in a lot of cocktails and having some at the ready is always a good idea. Sparkling water can balance out ingredients, add some fizzy texture, and impart a pleasant since of minerality. Yes, it’s clear and neutral looking but it pops with energy and is just begging to be in your next favorite cocktail.
Here are the best sparkling water cocktails, ones that can give any hard seltzer a run for its money.
Probably the easiest and most well-known cocktail made with fizzy water. There’s no real recipe, it’s up to personal preferences. Like a lot of vodkas? Pour heavy. Like a pucker? Add an extra twist of lime.
- 2 ounces of vodka
- Top with soda water
- Squeeze of citrus
- Fill up a glass with ice.
- Add your favorite vodka
- Top with sparkling water and squeeze in your citrus juice of choice.
On a hot sunny day, there’s nothing like a slice of cold watermelon. But what if your pureed that melon, then added some vodka and sparkling water? A refreshing cocktail with natural sweetness.
- 2 ounces vodka
- Chunks of watermelon
- Soda water
- Puree some ice-cold watermelon.
- Add it to a glass with vodka and top with sparkling water.
Another classic cocktail that’s nearly as simple as cracking a can of seltzer.
- 2 ounces of whiskey
- 4 ounces of sparkling water
- Squeeze of lemon
- Add whiskey to a tall glass with ice, top with sparkling water, and a twist of lemon.
- Stir to combine.
Read more: Classic Whiskey Cocktail Recipes
A Gin Rickey is one of those cocktails that sounds much fancier than it is. Simplicity, however, often just means tasty.
- 2 ounces of gin
- 1/2 ounce of lime
- Top with sparkling water
- Garnish with a few wheels of lime
- Add gin to a tall glass full of ice and lined with lime wheels.
- Top with sparkling water and squeeze of lime.
A Tom Collins is like a Gin Rickey, but change the citrus and sweeten it up a bit.
- 2 ounces gin
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup
- Sparkling water
- Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a tall glass of ice.
- Stir and top with sparkling water, garnish with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry, if desired.
Read more: Classic Gin Cocktail Recipes
Few cocktails say a day at the beach like a mojito. The chilled mixture of rum, sugar, lime, and mint almost requires an “ahh” after each sip.
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1/2 ounces simple syrup or 1 sugar cube
- 1/2 ounces lime juice
- Sparkling water
- Several mint leaves
- Add mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup — or sugar cube — to glass; muddle.
- Add rum and crushed ice.
- Top with sparkling water, and garnish with a lime wedge.
Read more: Essential Rum Cocktails
It’s probably the cocktail of 2021 if you’re in the know. It sounds kind of weird, whether you think it’s water with ranch dressing or water from a cattle ranch. But really, the simple tequila cocktail is a delicious and refreshing way to imbibe on a warm afternoon.
- 2 parts tequila
- 1 part lime juice
- Sparkling water (Topo Chico preferred)
- Grab your vessel of choice; add ice, tequila, and lime juice.
- Top with sparkling water.
It’s like less boozy, more fruit-forward ranch water. While it’s supposed to be grapefruit, any citrus fruit will do, really. And while grapefruit juice and sparkling water is the best way, a grapefruit soda would work.
- 2 ounces tequila
- 1 ounce grapefruit juice
- Sparkling water
- squeeze of lime
- Add tequila and grapefruit juice to glass with ice; stir.
- Add ice, top with sparkling water, and squeeze of lime.
- Garnish with a lime wedge or grapefruit slice, if desired.
Read more: Classic Tequila Cocktails
White Wine Spritzer
Wine is great on its own, but sometimes like any spirit, it can be enhanced by a little extra.
- 3 parts white wine
- 1 part sparkling water
- Citrus garnish of choice
- Add a splash of cold sparkling water to chilled white wine.
- Garnish with a citrus slice of choice.
It’s not the coffee version, but in a similar fashion, the sparkling water helps cut the intensity of the star of the show.
- 1 part Campari
- 1 part sweet vermouth
- Sparkling water
- Orange twist
- Add Campari and vermouth to a tall glass filled with ice.
- Stir and add sparkling water to the top.
- Garnish with an orange twist or slice, if desired.
Nothing says a fantastic sunny meal on a patio is on the way like an Aperol Spritz. It has the perfect palate-cleansing ability to prep taste buds for whatever tasty plates are on the way.
- 3 ounces sparkling white wine, preferably prosecco for the Italian effect
- 2 ounces Aperol
- 1 ounce sparkling water
- Orange slice
- Add wine, Aperol, and sparkling water to a glass of ice.
- Stir and add an orange slice.
Read more: Spritz Cocktail Recipes
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