The name seltzer water is one that originated in the 1950s for carbonated water or soda water as it was then called. The name comes from the effervescent water which is obtained from natural springs in Nieder-Selters in Germany, and is now bottled and sold under the brand name, Selters. Today, seltzer refers to the carbonated drink that is made by dissolving carbon dioxide (CO2) in water through a process called carbonation. It is the CO2 that gives the drink the characteristic fizz and taste. Carbonation may take place naturally in spring water which has absorbed CO2 at high pressures underground. It is also a by-product of fermentation, as in beer or wine.
Carbonated water also forms the basis for many carbonated beverages including sodas. Club soda is carbonated water that contains minerals like sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, sodium phosphate and sodium citrate. In 1767, an Englishman, Joseph Priestly, stumbled upon carbonation when he held a bowl of water above a beer vat in Leeds, England. Priestly liked the taste of the water and offered it to his friends. However, it was only commercialized in 1807 by Benjamin Stillman, a Yale University chemistry professor.
Seltzer water was first used as an aid in digestive problems. Today, the fizzy tablet is still used by many for that purpose. Mineral water which comes from mineral springs is also believed to have some health benefits. Evian, a popular brand, has gained a reputation for relieving stomach upset, but can also be drunk for refreshment. Sparkling mineral water contains the gases and minerals naturally present in springs, or it may be artificially carbonated.
Soda water, a carbonated beverage, can be easily made at home using equipment that is readily available. Making your own soda at home has several advantages. You can control the taste and the amount of fizz, you know what goes into it and it costs less. Nowadays, with a home sodamaker anyone can make soda at home. Concentrated sodamix diet flavors give a healthier drink than the store-bought varieties, many of which contain aspartame. By adding these flavors to your seltzer machine or sodamaker, you can have a refreshing, low calorie pop just the way you like it.
There are many brands of soda siphons and chargers – the basic equipment for making seltzer – at varying prices and capabilities. There is the type that allows you to use the bottle only once, then it is thrown away, or you can get the more sophisticated one that allows you to reuse the bottles, and costs only cents on the dollar to make. And with special hermetically-sealed caps, the fizz stays in the bottle so your soda does not become flat as soon as it is opened.