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The best sparkling water cocktails to rival hard seltzers

Like hard seltzers? You can make even more flavorful drinks at home with these great sparkling water cocktail recipes

Fresh spring sparkling water
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

With all due 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 have at least a few popular spirits. 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 many cocktails and having some soda water or club soda ready is always a good idea. Sparkling water can balance out ingredients, add some fizzy texture, and impart a pleasant sense 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 that can give any hard seltzer a run for its money.

Best vodka and sparkling water cocktails

Cold cocktail with lime, lemon, tonic, vodka and ice on vintage background
Pcholik / Shutterstock

Vodka soda

This is 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.

Ingredients

  • Ice
  • 2 ounces of vodka
  • Top with soda water
  • Squeeze of citrus

Method

  1. Fill up a glass with ice.
  2. Add your favorite vodka.
  3. Top with sparkling water and squeeze in your citrus juice of choice.

Watermelon spritz

On a hot sunny day, there’s nothing like a slice of cold watermelon. But what if you pureed that melon and then added some vodka and sparkling water? You get a refreshing cocktail with natural sweetness.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • Chunks of watermelon
  • Soda water

Method

  1. Puree some ice-cold watermelon.
  2. Add it to a glass with vodka and top with sparkling water.

Best whiskey and sparkling water cocktail

Bartender making a whiskey highball
Our Whiskey Foundation / Unsplash

Highball

The highball is another classic cocktail that’s nearly as simple as cracking open a can of seltzer to concoct. You can use just about any type of whiskey for a highball, rye, scotch, or bourbon. These cocktails are generally served over ice in a straight-sided glass. We’ll get you started with a very basic highball recipe and let you get creative from there.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of whiskey of your choice
  • 4 ounces of sparkling water
  • Squeeze of lemon

Method

  1. Add whiskey to a tall glass with ice, top with sparkling water, and a twist of lemon.
  2. Stir to combine.

Best gin and sparkling water cocktails

Refreshing gin Tom Collins cocktail with lemon
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

Gin rickey

A Gin rickey is one of those cocktails that sounds much fancier than it is. Simplicity, however, often just means tasty.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces of gin
  • 1/2 ounce of lime
  • Top with sparkling water
  • Garnish with a few wheels of lime

Method

  1. Add gin to a tall glass full of ice that’s lined with lime wheels.
  2. Top with sparkling water and a squeeze of lime.

Tom Collins

A Tom Collins is like a gin rickey, but change the citrus and sweeten it up a bit.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces gin
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup
  • Sparkling water

Method

  1. Add gin, simple syrup, and lemon juice to a tall glass of ice.
  2. Stir and top with sparkling water, garnish with a lemon wheel and maraschino cherry, if desired.

Best rum and sparkling water cocktail

Mojito garnished with mint and limes
Alejandro Photography / Getty Images

Mojito

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • 1/2 ounces simple syrup or 1 sugar cube
  • 1/2 ounces lime juice
  • Sparkling water
  • Several mint leaves

Method

  1. Add mint leaves, lime juice, and simple syrup — or sugar cube — to glass; muddle.
  2. Add rum and crushed ice.
  3. Top with sparkling water, and garnish with a lime wedge.

Best tequila and sparkling water cocktails

Paloma
Kateryna T / Unsplash

Ranch water

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 parts tequila
  • 1 part lime juice
  • Sparkling water (Topo Chico preferred)

Method

  1. Grab your vessel of choice; add ice, tequila, and lime juice.
  2. Top with sparkling water.

Paloma

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.

Ingredients

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce grapefruit juice
  • Sparkling water
  • Squeeze of lime

Method

  1. Add tequila and grapefruit juice to a glass with ice; stir.
  2. Add ice, top with sparkling water, and squeeze of lime.
  3. Garnish with a lime wedge or grapefruit slice, if desired.

Best white wine and sparkling water cocktail

White wine on summer day outdoor
Twin Design / Shutterstock

White wine spritzer

Wine is great on its own, but sometimes, like any spirit, it can be enhanced by a little extra. You can always change up the flavor profile by changing the citrus garnish or even going with flavored sparkling water. The possibilities are endless, and there really is nothing like a cold white wine spritzer at the end of a warm summer day. Relax, sip, and enjoy.

Ingredients

  • 3 parts white wine
  • 1 part sparkling water
  • Citrus garnish of choice

Method

  1. Add a splash of cold sparkling water to a chilled white wine.
  2. Garnish with a citrus slice of choice.

Best red wine and sparkling water cocktail

Red wine swirling in glass
Mauro Lima / Unsplash

Red wine spritzer

Yes, a red wine and sparkling water cocktail is a thing. While it’s not as widely known as the white wine spritzer, fans of red wine can mix their favorite wines with bubbly water for a fizzy drink of their own. One big difference is that you shouldn’t use flavored sparkling water for a red wine spritzer, as red wines mix much better with good old-fashioned unflavored soda water. This recipe is from Delish.

Ingredients

  • Red wine (Lighter reds like pinot noir work well. Try to avoid heavier reds like malbec and merlot.)
  • Vermouth (optional)
  • Soda water

Method

  1. Fill a large wine glass with ice.
  2. Pour the wine, vermouth (if using), and soda water over the ice.
  3. Stir with a cocktail stirrer.
  4. Garnish with a slice of orange.

Other sparkling water cocktails we love

Americano

Refreshing vold Americano cocktail with an orange garnish
Brent Hofacker / Shutterstock

It’s not the coffee version, but in a similar fashion, the sparkling water helps cut the intensity of the star of the show.

Ingredients

  • 1 part Campari
  • 1 part sweet vermouth
  • Sparkling water
  • Orange twist

Method

  1. Add Campari and vermouth to a tall glass filled with ice.
  2. Stir and add sparkling water to the top.
  3. Garnish with an orange twist or slice, if desired.

Aperol spritz

Aperol spritz cocktails in glasses with fresh oranges
Foxys Forest Manufacture / Shutterstock

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 the taste buds for whatever tasty plates are on the way.

Ingredients

  • 3 ounces sparkling white wine, preferably prosecco
  • 2 ounces Aperol
  • 1 ounce sparkling water
  • Orange slice

Method

  1. Add wine, Aperol, and sparkling water to a glass of ice.
  2. Stir and add an orange slice.

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Mark Stock
Mark Stock is a writer from Portland, Oregon. He fell into wine during the Recession and has been fixated on the stuff since…
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