Your Next Seltzer Needs Some Jam

Your Next Seltzer Needs Some Jam
Photo: Shutterstock, Shutterstock

Seltzer, or sparkling water if you’re fancy (“spicy water” if you’re my kid), has been having a moment since at least 2016. At my Target, there is an entire wall dedicated to the many-faceted flavour combinations of LaCroix, Spindrift, Bubly, Waterloo, Aha, Polar, and Sparkling Ice, not to mention Target’s knock-off brands, Market Pantry and Good & Gather. With flavour profiles ranging from the basic (lemon, lime) to the complex (raspberry hibiscus, coconut pineapple, citrus+ green tea, blackberry mandarin, and beach plum, whatever that is), it seems there is no flavour of carbonated water one can’t buy.

And while they are indeed tasty, many of these prepackaged waters are formulated to bring only hints (“essences”) of their namesake flavours. That makes them amazing, not-overpowering mixers. And this spring and summer, we recommend you mix your seltzer with jam or preserves.

We’ve written before about the virtues of using jam to make any booze morning-appropriate, but for the purposes of this post — and because it’s currently 9:38 a.m. — I am foregoing booze for the moment. But please, feel free to tipple when you try this at home.

As you can imagine, there are many permutations of fruit jam and flavored seltzers that can make a tasty beverage. When this TikTok creator combined lime seltzer with raspberry lychee preserves, commenters chimed in with their favourite combos — most of which contain alcohol, which you don’t have to add: Cranberry jelly with rosé and La Croix in the wintertime; blackberry jam, raspberry sparkling water, and red wine; and plain old “gin and jam,” which is exactly what it sounds like and nothing more. One raved about a mix of tangerine and coconut creamer, and others suggested adding matcha.

Besides the taste, exceeding simplicity is the draw here. You get sugar, fruit, and tartness all in one pop, without having to muddle fruit or make simple syrup. (And you get to not waste the dregs of jam that have been taking up space in your refrigerator door for weeks.) While jam will give you more of a chunky, true fruit feel, jelly will probably mix more easily.

How to add jam to your seltzer

Simply add a heaping tablespoon of whatever jam you have on hand to a glass of ice, then pour in your favourite seltzer. Stir (not too much, or the seltzer risks losing its carbonation) and enjoy. If your jam lacks tartness, add a slice of lemon or lime juice, raspberry vinegar, or apple cider vinegar, which may lend it more of a kombucha kick. Experiment with different flavour combinations until you land on your favourite. It doesn’t matter if you mess up. It’s just a spoonful of jam!

In my house, I had Kirkland brand organic strawberry spread on hand, which I first tried with grapefruit La Croix (do not recommend). When I mixed the same spread with passionfruit La Croix, however, something delicious happened. Beware: the jam won’t fully mix with the water, and will likely leave some fruit chunks on the bottom — which you can or cannot eat, depending on how much of a sugar hankering you have. Even if you don’t consume all the fruity goodness, it will have done its job, and infused your seltzer with mellow, flavorful sweetness.

And for anyone tempted to say, “Who knew adding fruit and sugar to soda water would taste good?” Don’t hate. Participate. Anyone you serve a drink to this summer will thank you.

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