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What Makes Some Seltzers Sparkle?

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May 25, 2020

Over the past decade, seltzer has exploded. Sales have doubled, and companies like Coke and Pepsi are buying up brands and creating their own sparkling waters. A few years ago, everyone was drinking La Croix, but now people can't stop raving about Spindrift. So in this crowded field, which seltzer is the best one? We talk to the hosts of the podcast Seltzer Death Match to find out.

Also, what exactly is carbonation, and how does it affect the taste experience? Dan Souza, editor-in-chief of Cook's Illustrated, geeks out on the science of carbonation, and explains how bubbles affect what you smell and taste. He talks about his own home rig that lets him carbonate cocktails, and he reveals the secret to making the best seltzer with standard home devices.

If you want to make your own carbonation rig at home, Dan Souza recommends this step-by-step instruction guide.

And if you're looking for some seltzer recommendations, here are the favorites of our guests. Rachel Ward's favorite is Mountain Valley Spring, Travis Larchuk is a big fan of Black Cherry Schweppes, and Dan Souza's favorite is Polar Original.

Music in this episode by Big Dipper, Rak Salt, and Black Label Music:

"Star Shootin'" by Hayley Briasco

"LaCroix Boi" by Big Dipper

"Sippin' on La Croix" by Rak Salt

"Party Hop" by Jack Ventimiglia

"Slightly Carbonated" by Erick Anderson

"New Old" by JT Bates

Photos courtesy of Marshall Photography and Dan Souza.


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