Keep a few bottles or cans of club soda tucked away in your fridge and know that if a friend drops by or you just had a bad Wednesday, an easy cocktail can be whipped up in no time. The bubbly water can turn just about any bottle of booze from your collection into a cocktail that's fit for whatever the occasion. Here are 10 of our favorites.
1. Sweet Vermouth + Club Soda
Sweet vermouth rarely gets play time on its own, which is a shame, because it's too tasty to simply be hidden in a Negroni or Manhattan. Carpano Antica is one particular brand that I love to sip alone, with nothing but a splash of club soda, and maybe an orange twist — it's sweet but dry, complex yet refreshing.
2. Campari + Club Soda
Bitter Campari makes for a bracing (aka boozy) Negroni, but it can also make for a light aperitif when enjoyed alone in a glass finished with club soda.
Related: 5 Classic Campari Cocktails
3. Sweet Vermouth + Campari + Club Soda
Or bring the above two cocktails together and you have a cocktail that even has its own name: the Americano. It's what I sip while pizza night is in the works in my apartment every week and I suggest you follow suit. The sweetness of the vermouth plays off the bitterness of the Campari, while the club soda keeps things light and effervescent.
Get the recipe: The Americano
4. Vodka + Cranberry Juice + Club Soda
Sure, a vodka-soda is a cocktail in its own right, but add a little cranberry juice in there and I'll argue what you have is something better. In fact, what you have is called a Cape Codder, particularly if you finish it with a lime wedge.
5. Gin + Lime Juice + Club Soda
This one also has a name. It's called a Gin Rickey, which is just fun to say and even more fun to drink because it's perfectly tart and refreshing.
Get the recipe: Gin Rickey
6. Lillet + Club Soda
The French wine-based aperitif comes in red, rosé, and white variations and they're all lovely. Each are light, citrusy, and just a touch bitter. They can be enjoyed all on their own with nothing but a few ice cubes, but I like to add a splash of club soda for the bubbles.
Read more: Yet Another Thing France Does Better
7. St. Germain + Apple Juice + Club Soda
St. Germain is an elderflower liqueur that is sweet and floral. Apple is a natural pairing for both of these flavors, while club soda keeps things from tasting too sweet.
8. Bitters + Club Soda
If you're looking for a cocktail that's exceptionally low in alcohol, look no further than bitters and club soda. A few dashes of bitters are usually added to a more classic cocktail like a Sazerac or an Old Fashioned, but bitters are complex enough to be enjoyed in nothing more than a cold glass of club soda.
Read more: Soda with Bitters: Simple and Refreshing
9. Tequila + Grapefruit Juice + Club Soda
The lesser-known cousin to the margarita, a Paloma can either be made with simply tequila and grapefruit soda or with fresh grapefruit juice and club soda. I prefer the second option, as nothing can beat the tang of fresh juice, which can be sweetened to taste with simple syrup if you're so inclined.
Get the recipe: The Paloma
Take your favorite jam — be it peach, apricot, raspberry, or even fig — stir a spoonful into a glass of your favorite whiskey — be it bourbon, rye, or Scotch — until it dissolves. Then top it with club soda. The jam and the club soda take the edge off of that brown spirit and makes it something more fruity and inviting.