Founded in Monterey, Mexico in 1895 Topo Chico’s uber-bubbly mineral water is now a world-wide brand. The story of this seemingly innocuous sparkling water that was born in Mexico, raised in Texas and is now flourishing on multiple continents—thanks in part to its acquisition by Coca Cola in 2017—dates back over 125 years.
History of production and relationship with Coca-Cola
Speaking of its parent company Coca Cola, Topo Chico and Coca Cola have a relationship that dates back about 100 years. In fact, long before Coke acquired Topo Chico, Topo Chico actually acquired the licensing rights to bottle Coke in Mexico, roughly 100 years ago. Needless to say, they have been working with Coke for many years so it’s not a big surprise that Coke decided to acquire them.
When Topo Chico was founded in 1895, it sourced and bottled the water from a spring near a small mole-shaped hill that it was named after. “Topo” means “mole” in Spanish and “chico” means “small.” 127 years later, it still sources water from the very same “Cerro del Topo Chico” spring.
The minerals matter
Topo Chico is not just ordinary sparkling water, like seltzer or club soda. It is actual mineral water, containing naturally occurring minerals and electrolytes like Sodium, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium and Manganese. For comparison sake, “La Croix” sparkling water (another popular brand) is simply seltzer and does not contain any minerals. So what’s so special about these minerals? Sodium is needed for blood regulation (absence can cause serious impairment of bodily functions), regulates bodily fluids and transmits electrical impulses in the body; Calcium is an important nutrient and major component for bones and teeth; Magnesium aids in digestion, helps muscles recover and promotes a sense of calm; Potassium provides fuel for the heart and promotes kidney and nervous system function; Manganese is an antioxidant that benefits your bones and increases collagen production (healthy looking skin).
I’m not saying drinking Topo Chico everyday will solve any of your health problems but it certainly won’t hurt and the extra mineral intake could have some positive effects—if nothing else the electrolyte-laiden water will help keep you hydrated.
It now comes in 3 flavors but you may like the original
In addition to their original unflavored version, TC also comes in three litely flavored mineral waters; Twist of Lime, Twist of Grapefruit and Twist of Tangerine—all zero calorie.
While Topo Chico’s flavored versions are quite popular, their original unflavored water tastes quite good too. The naturally occuring carbonation, while plenty effervescent (more on this in a sec), has a softer mouthfeel than other sparkling waters, as if the bubbles are smaller but greater in quantity, leading to a texture that is mellow and inviting. Also, despite the minerals, TC also has a very mild, neutral aftertaste, if any at all—something I would imagine most people want in a sparkling water. I know I do. Less is more when it comes to a water’s taste.
It all about the bubbles
While less may be more on the aftertaste, more is more when it comes to carbonation. Yes, Topo Chico’s secret weapon—you guessed it—is in its bubbles. Simply put, the naturally occering carbonation in Topo Chico is more explosive and lasts longer than other brand I have tried. No wonder it is a cult-favorite for consumers and bartenders alike who like a vibrant Vodka Soda or Tom Collins with ferocious fizz that doesn’t go flat.
Leave an open bottle of TC out overnight and the next day it will taste like you just opened it. And while all mineral waters naturally contain sodium—which can be off-putting to some people—the sodium level in TC is fairly low and provides a thirst-busting sensation (Gatorade’s secret thirst busting recipe has ample sodium for a reason).
What is Ranch Water?
You cannot make an authentic Ranch Water cocktail without Topo Chico. What is a Ranch Water you ask. It’s simply a tequila and soda with lime—a popular drink these days due to its low calorie, low hangover appeal. It is only a Ranch Water though if you use Topo Chico. It is also the unofficial cocktail of Texas—which is the unofficial home-away-from-home of Topo Chico. Yes, Texans love their Topo Chico and likely have played a big part in TC’s meteroic rise in popularity over the past decade.
Photo Courtesy: Valerie’s Kitchen
In March of 2021 Topo Chico released a lineup of Hard Seltzers onto the market—hardly a surprise in today’s hard seltzer crazed world. The flavors include: Tangy Lemon Lime, Exotic Pineapple, Strawberry Guava and Tropical Mango. Almost a year later TC released a new lineup of hard seltzer “Margaritas” (with salt, lime and tequila flavors) in four tropical flavors including Signature Margarita, Tropical Pineapple, Strawberry Hibiscus, and Prickly Pear. Seperately, during the same launch campaign, TC released their highly anticipated “Ranch Water” Hard Seltzer. Inspired by the taste of the popular cocktail recipe made famous by Texas bartenders, Topo Chico Ranch Water Hard Seltzer features real lime juice and a refreshing, crisp taste.