Kitchn Love Letters

The New Sparkling Water Brand I Can’t Stop Buying

published Jul 16, 2022
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whole foods beverage section

I’m a sparkling water groupie. It’s a regular stand-in for my daily H2O intake, a go-to mixer, and a perpetual resident of my fridge — where it holds prime real estate. But despite my longtime affinity for the bubbly beverage, my favorite brand is relatively new to the mainstream scene. I recently discovered it when the cool cans caught my eye at my local Whole Foods. And once I took a sip, I realized these are the flavors I’ve been waiting for.

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

Sanzo, the company behind the first Asian-inspired sparkling water, was founded in 2019 by Sandro Roco, a Queens-born Filipino American, who noticed the sparkling water sector lacked Asian flavors. The original roll-out included three flavors: Calamansi (starring the Philippine’s favorite citrus), Mango (made with India’s treasured Alphonso variety), and Lychee (infused with the mildly sweet, floral fruit grown across Southeast Asia). In April, Sanzo released a new variety featuring yuzu, the small but powerfully sour citrus predominantly grown in Japan.

The seltzers are made with fruit and that fact is pleasantly obvious as soon as you crack open a can. There are no added sugars or mystery ingredients — just carbonated water and fruit purée or juice. Unlike other brands, Sanzo lets the fruit take the lead, adding just enough fizz to enhance the natural flavors instead of competing with them. I’m all about that light carbonation approach. (Don’t @ me, but I usually shake up my seltzers prior to opening them in a DIY attempt to curtail brazen bubbles. With Sanzo, I get to skip this exercise.)

The very first time I spotted the Sanzo collection at Whole Foods, I genuinely exploded with excitement. Not just because these are all my favorite flavors, but also because I’m not used to seeing these flavors displayed in Western grocery stores (an experience I’m thrilled to see changing). I bought a single can of each and decided I wasn’t going to wait to get home before trying at least one. I grabbed a cup of ice, cracked open the pale pink lychee can, and watched the liquid fizzle softly as it rushed through the frozen cubes. It was crisp and refreshing, with just the right amount of lychee’s tropical, berry-esque flavor in every sip. I went back through the checkout for the second time, my cart filled with colorful cans. 

Credit: Arlyn Osborne

Since then, I’ve tried every flavor and each one is a knockout. With summer and a new beverage obsession here, I’m gearing up for prime seltzer season with restored enthusiasm and plenty of cocktail recipes I can’t wait to mix up. Sanzo is available at various retail locations across the U.S., including Erewhon, Thrive Market, Target, and Panda Express. The vibrant cans locked in nationwide shelf space at Whole Foods in April and Sprouts Farmers Market in May. If there isn’t a retailer near you, you can order directly from Sanzo’s website or buy it on Amazon.

Buy: Sanzo Calamansi Sparkling Water, $2.49 for 12 ounces at Thrive Market

Is there a new beverage you’re buying on repeat? Tell us about it in the comments below.