Difference Between Tonic Water and Soda Water (With Table)

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Although tonic water and soda water may appear to be the same, they are different drinks. Tonic water contains quinine, a crystalline alkaloid found in nature. Quinine has a variety of therapeutic qualities, including analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities. Sodium bicarbonate and potassium sulfate are commonly added to club soda or soda water; however, these substances have no therapeutic use.

Tonic Water vs Soda Water

The difference between Tonic Water and Soda Water is that the composition as well as the taste, distinct along with the effects and usage. This is why, while mixing cocktails, you can’t substitute one for the other because the final outcome would be different. 

Tonic water is a type of carbonated soft drink with quinine dissolved in it. Quinine is a bitter-tasting alkaloid that’s used to enhance the flavor of the drink. The distinct bitter taste became quite famous as a good pair-up for alcoholic beverages such as gin and vodka.

Soda water is also a type of carbonated soft drink. It’s a solution of carbon dioxide gas dissolved in water under high pressure. It also comes with add-on minerals such as sodium chloride, potassium sulfate, sodium bicarbonate, sodium citrate, and disodium phosphate. 

Comparison Table Between Tonic Water and Soda Water

Parameters of ComparisonTonic WaterSoda Water
OriginTonic water was developed in the year 1858 by Erasmus Bond, the owner of Pitt & Co. in Islington.Soda Water was developed in the year 1767 by Joseph Priestley. He created it by accident at a beer brewery in Leeds, England.
CompositionTonic water is made by combining water with pressurised carbon dioxide, quinine, and sugar.Soda water is made by combining water with pressurised carbon dioxide and added minerals.
TasteTonic water has a combined taste of bitterness and sweetness due to the presence of quinine and sugar.Soda water consists of hints of saltiness because of the add-on mineral salts.
ApplicationTonic water is often used to mix with alcoholic beverages such as gin and vodka.Soda water is often used to mix with hard drinks such as scotch to make it dilute.
Nutritional FactorsTonic water contains calories and carbohydrates. It also contains sodium but no fats or proteins. Soda water contains traces of minerals like calcium, zinc, magnesium, etc. 

What is Tonic Water?

Tonic water is a sort of carbonated beverage that is commonly used in mixed alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

The carbonated beverage contains a variety of flavoring botanicals, including quinine, which is produced from cinchona bark and gives it its dry, bitter flavor.

Tonic water, well known for its use in the gin and tonic, is a flexible, refreshing soda used in a variety of cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks around the world. 

Originally, tonic water was administered to those who were suffering from malaria. The addition of quinine to normal water proved to be an excellent tonic for sick individuals; therefore, the name tonic water.

The malaria remedy was eventually brought to British colonial India from South Asia and Africa, where the British population mixed the tonic with gin to dilute the strong tonics flavor.

The large doses of quinine in this sort of tonic water made it exceptionally bitter when it was initially introduced.

With the addition of sugar, the percentage of quinine is now purposefully lowered. Most people who drink tonic water do so because they like how it tastes.

Although it is unlikely that drinking tonic water may cause even minor negative effects, those who are taking quinine as medication should be vigilant and report any side effects to their doctor.

What is Soda Water?

Carbonated water is referred to as “soda water.” When you order soda water, you can choose between club soda and seltzer water.

It’s made up of a combination of highly compressed carbon dioxide, water, and mineral salts. The basic purpose is to add carbonation to the drink and make it effervescent.

This carbonated beverage contains 0 calories. There are no calories in soda water because there is no sugar or carbohydrates in it.

Soda water collectively includes both club soda and seltzer soda. It’s effectively just a combination of carbonated water with added mineral salts.

Soda water appears to have little effect on bone health and isn’t particularly damaging to oral health. Surprisingly, a carbonated beverage can help with digestion by aiding swallowing and minimizing constipation.

It’s also a calorie-free drink that gives off a pleasant bubbly sensation. It is preferred by many individuals over still water.

People who appreciate the taste of soda water might not intake the health disorders which it occurs, and at the same time, it also has the potential to benefit their overall health.

Main Differences Between Tonic Water and Soda Water

  1. Tonic water is used to enhance the flavor of the drink, whereas soda water is mostly used to create bubbles in a drink in order to make it more enjoyable and refreshing.
  2. Tonic water pairs nicely with a wide range of spirits, including vodka, whiskey, etc. Soda water pairs well with spirits such as tequila, gin, etc.
  3. Tonic water cannot be often consumed as a source of hydration, while soda water has mineral salts resulting in assisting with hydration.
  4. Tonic water has higher sugar content increasing the calorie count. Soda water has 0 calories.
  5. Tonic water has the presence of quinine which helps cure health issues such as leg cramps. Soda water has no medicinal usage.


Considering all the pointers, including composition and health effects, it can be stated that club soda is generally more on the healthy side because it can be consumed guilt-free. It also has 0 calories well as it can be consumed directly without mixing it with anything else. Though in conclusion, it depends on what you are looking forward to doing. If you want a crisp tongue-biting cocktail, then you can opt for tonic water, whereas if you want to make your drink fizzy and exciting to pop, then you can go for soda water as per your preference.


  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/article-abstract/289887.
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/0160932783900078

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