Topo Chico photo by jonathan gayman

¡Viva Topo Chico!

On my list of passions that don’t matter, sparkling water ranks high. With passion come many gratuitous opinions on bubble characteristic and flavor quality, but in my daily eenie-meenie-miney-mo game of La Croix, Perrier, Pellegrino, I really just want one thing: Topo Chico.

It may seem like the next fickle hipster favorite, and it is. But Topo Chico has been around for more than a hundred years, bottled in Monterrey, Mexico, since 1895. I first encountered it at taco trailers and Mexican grocery stores in my Texas college town. After moving to St. Louis, I thought my love was lost and resigned myself to imperfect taco pairings forever – until Mexico’s favorite made it to the Midwest this summer.

OK, yes, at some level, water is water. But Topo is a sparkling mineral water with a rocky, salty undertone that makes your lips feel like you’ve been swimming in the ocean. In comparison, Pellegrino and Gerolsteiner’s barely there bubbles aren’t worth noticing. And the Italian Ferrarelle is so light on carbonation that it tastes like a can of La Croix left out overnight (we’ve all been there). Where La Croix has a harsh, almost spicy sparkle, Topo’s rush of big, round bubbles breaks on your tongue with exhilaration, not sharpness.

Topo Chico’s grapefruit and lime flavors are mild, naturally tart and taste real. As a general rule, if you hate fakey flavors, it’s best to stick with citrus versions of any bubbly. But Topo’s grapefruit blows even Perrier’s elegant, mid-sized bubbs out of the water. Where most waters lack any aroma, Topo Chico has sweet grapefruit on the nose, and a full fruit flavor without bitterness or sweetness on the palate. The lime is so mild and free of pithy bitterness it has a lemon-lime vibe with that same strong presence on the nose and across the palate from start to finish.

If you’re the kind of person who keeps a stack of La Croix boxes under your desk or has to leave for a bubble run after cracking open the last Dasani Tropical Pineapple (no judgment), it’s time to meet the Aztec princess.

Available at The Wine and Cheese Place.

Tags : Nonalcoholic