The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

The weekly student newspaper of Bucknell University

The Bucknellian

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Spicy water: The bitter truth

Evelyn+Pierce%2C+Graphics+Manager+%2F+The+Bucknellian
Evelyn Pierce, Graphics Manager / The Bucknellian

My scornful thoughts on sparkling water have been bubbling up inside me like carbonation in a freshly opened can for years now. I mean, it’s absolutely ridiculous. Many people swear by its fizzy and bubbly taste, while others, like myself, find it to be a bitter disappointment wrapped in a pretty package.

Sammie Mariniello ’25 notes “I call it ‘spicy water’. I feel like it doesn’t have enough flavor”. 

There’s an undeniable trend towards commercializing water. Sparkling water, once a humble alternative to soda, has been elevated to a status symbol. Its sleek designs and upscale marketing tactics draw in consumers, luring them into believing they’re indulging in something sophisticated, refined, and healthier.

Yet, within the pretty, colorful can lies a beverage that often fails to live up to its sparkling reputation. Even this is a bit of an understatement. We, as a society, need to stop pretending that it tastes good. It’s bitter and fruity in a way that resembles perfume. The type of perfume that when someone walks past wearing it, you have to turn your head and breathe in some fresh air. I would not be this firm in my beliefs about sparkling water if it actually tasted good. 

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The fascination with sparkling water, particularly in beautifully designed packaging, is baffling. It’s as if society has collectively bought into the idea that carbonated water, when presented in an aesthetically pleasing manner, somehow becomes satisfying. This notion is absolutely absurd. Unlike regular water, which maintains its natural essence and purity, sparkling water feels unnecessary and excessive. 

It’s as if we’ve taken the simplicity of water – a fundamental necessity for life – and subjected it to unnecessary manipulation simply because people buy into it. Moreover, the fact that people eagerly embrace this trend and are willing to pay a premium for what essentially amounts to flavored bubbles in a fancy container just goes to show the power of marketing (and maybe mass delusion). 

Confession: I’m a soda enthusiast. A Diet Coke connoisseur, I may say. And I will admit that in all honesty it’s not very healthy. But I’d rather just crack open a can of cola than drink bitter ‘spicy water’. 

But even as someone who proudly drinks cola-flavored carbonated water, I can’t seem to understand why we, as a society, felt the need to tamper with water to this extent. Sparkling water seems like an unnecessary deviation, departing from both the purity and simplicity of plain old water and the familiar taste of a soda. 

Proponents of sparkling water point to its supposed health benefits over traditional sodas. It’s often adored for its hydrating properties and carbonated kick, providing a guilt-free alternative for those seeking to cut back on sugary beverages. But let’s be honest, if you’re craving some fizz, why not indulge in a soda? Moderation is important and an occasional sweet treat won’t derail your health journey.

Some counter this by noting that sparkling water serves as a healthier compromise, bridging the gap between soda and plain water. While it may offer a middle ground for those seeking some carbonation without the guilt, it still begs the question: why not simply choose between the two extremes? I mean, why complicate it with an option that often leaves a bitter and unpleasant aftertaste?

At the end of the day, sparkling water remains a matter of personal preference. 

“I love sparkling water because it’s a visceral experience, the coldness of the water and those playfully whimsical bubbles make it an unbeatable beverage. Don’t knock it till you try it,” says Jake Ratmansky ’24.

“I always order it when I go to any restaurant. It’s just better,” Eve Gendels ’27 adds. 

While some are obsessed with its bubbly charm, others find comfort in the simplicity of plain old water. I want to say that ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer —it all boils down to what satisfies your taste buds and quenches your thirst.  

But I just can’t and won’t say that. I urge you, please stop pretending like sparkling water tastes good. It just falls flat.

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