Perrier vs Tonic Water

By | February 5, 2020

Carbonated liquids are indeed very nice to drink, especially on a hot summer day. Chugging the bubbly water down your throat feels very refreshing. However, soda and carbonated drinks have become one of the major contributing factors to the nationwide obesity problem. That is not very surprising if you are aware that most carbonated drinks come with added fruit extracts, sugar, and quinine to boost their flavors. Even so, Perrier water and tonic water seem to be in a different class from the other soft drinks that we often think of when we talk about obesity.

Perrier vs Tonic Water

You may have encountered Perrier water products quite often. But, how are they different from the tonic water that you usually add to your evening cocktail? Below, we are going to discuss about Perrier water and tonic water, the differences between them, and whether they are healthier than the average soft drinks. (Read also: Pellegrino vs Perrier)

What is Tonic Water?

Tonic water is a carbonated soft drink that contains dissolved quinine. It is frequently used for mixed drinks and cocktails, especially for gin and tonic. Quinine is added to the carbonated water to provide a distinctive bitter taste. It may also receive added sugar or fruit extracts. Tonic water with lemon or lime flavor is respectively known as bitter lemon or bitter lime. If you put tonic water under ultraviolet light or direct sunlight, the quinine content will make it glow and fluoresce.

Originally, tonic water was used as a prophylactic (preventive medicine) against malaria – quinine is actually a medication that is used to treat malaria and babesiosis. Quinine is naturally acquired from the bark of a cinchona tree. The extracts have been used for malaria treatment since 1632. Today, quinine is no longer a first-line treatment for malaria, but still used when the generally safer artemisinins are not available. Compared to the original tonic water, the modern tonic water used in mixed drinks has significantly lower quinine content.

What is Perrier Water?

Perrier water is a French brand of natural mineral water which is acquired from the source in Gard departement in Vergeze. It is actually a type of sparkling water. Generally speaking, it is not often used as a mixer. It is usually complemented with just a squeeze of citrus or some cocktail bitters.

Sparkling water is different from tonic water. Sparkling water is like the natural cousin of club soda; both sparkling water and club soda contain minerals, but sparkling water gets its effervescence and minerals naturally from a natural spring. The FDA defines that mineral water (sparkling water) must contain at least 250 ppm total dissolved solids and originates from a physically and geologically protected underground water source. Due to the salt content, it tends to be more acidic with a pH usually between 5.5 and 6. The carbonation is usually added to the water during the treatment process, but the carbonation is nonetheless acquired from a natural source as well. In the case of Perrier water, the carbonation is collected from the same spring as the water.

Perrier water is famous for its natural carbonation. Interestingly, it actually has higher levels of carbonation compared to the other similar products. It is often sold in distinctive green bottles, and is available in several flavors. There is the plain, unflavored Perrier water, but there are also orange, lemon, lime, green apple, and pink grapefruit flavors.

Perrier vs. Tonic Water: Appearance

Perrier water is sold in distinctive green glass bottles. It is also sold in green cans and plastic bottles now. On the other hand, tonic water is sold in various types of bottles and cans, depending on the manufacturer.

But the most distinctive feature between Perrier water and tonic water in terms of appearance is whether they glow under sunlight or not. Perrier water does not glow under sunlight. Tonic water glows under sunlight and any other source of ultraviolet light.

Perrier vs. Tonic Water: Usage

Tonic water is often used as a mixer for mixed drinks and cocktails, especially for gin and tonic. It is the quinine content that creates the distinctive bitter flavor, which is the reason why people add tonic water to their liquids. Tonic water is rarely drunk alone.

Tonic Water

Meanwhile, Perrier water is quite the opposite. Sparkling water is not often used as a mixer, perhaps because it does not have quinine and therefore lacks the bitter taste. Instead, sparkling water is drunk alone. Sometimes people add a squeeze of citrus or some cocktail bitters.

Perrier vs. Tonic Water: Taste

Both Perrier water and tonic water are carbonated. However, the gas in Perrier water is quite stronger than the gas in tonic water. Perrier water, after all, is known for the higher carbonation levels. In addition, Perrier water is slightly more acidic than tonic water.

However, Perrier water does not have a bitter taste like tonic water. Perrier water does not contain quinine. Tonic water gets the bitter taste from its quinine content.

Both Perrier water and tonic water are available in various flavors. Both are available in plain versions, without any added flavor. There are also flavored versions.

Perrier vs. Tonic Water: Nutritional Values

Perrier water is a mineral water, and thus contains various minerals. One liter Perrier water contains 170 mg calcium, 6 mg magnesium, 4 mg potassium, and 36 mg sodium. It does not contain any sugar. It has zero calories. The flavored versions are made using essential oils that do not provide any calorie.

Tonic water usually contains sugar and calories. Due to the added sugar and fruit extracts, tonic water becomes more or less similar to soft drinks in terms of calories contained. The quinine content may cause mild cinchonism, which includes symptoms like headaches, vasodilation, sweating, nausea, hearing impairment, blurred vision, and sometimes dizziness and vertigo.


Perrier water and tonic water are both carbonated drinks, but they are quite different from each other. Perrier water is a type of sparkling water, and is not usually used as a mixer. It is not bitter, and has no adverse effects often associated with tonic water. It has zero calories and features various minerals. You can say that it is a healthy drink. On the other hand, tonic water is usually used as a mixer, and has a distinctive bitter taste due to the quinine content. Tonic water glows under ultraviolet light. However, don’t add too much tonic water to your cocktail because the calorie content is quite high and the quinine content may cause mild cinchonism.

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