Topo Chico is just sparkling water, but it has a loyal, almost obsessive, following these days. Sourced from a spring that bubbles out of an inactive volcano in northeastern Mexico, it comes in throwback glass bottles that are catnip for tastemakers at hotels and bars across the country. But the appeal is more than stylistic. Texans have been guzzling the fizzy water since long before it became a national phenomenon, so we asked five of them why Topo Chico is worth seeking out.
“I was born in Monterrey, which is where Topo Chico is made. Nostalgia is just part of the appeal, though. The carbonation stands out. That texture enhances all these other flavors. At one point, I froze Topo Chico and used it as ice for our old-fashioned—and the salinity and minerality of the water made the drink so good. I was shocked by how delicious it was.” —Alba Huerta, Julep, Houston
“It’s got more flavor, balance, and sparkle than other sparkling waters. I probably drink three or four a day. The minute I walk into one of my restaurants, the bartender gives me a bottle of it.” —Jack Gilmore, Jack Allen’s Kitchen and Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, Austin
“I love the saltiness. It’s so refreshing. I love the packaging. It’s bright and sparkly, just like the water. I love the effervescence. You can leave it out on your bedside table and it’s not flat the next morning. We actually use it in a riff on Carrots Vichy—a dish from Vichy, France, which is known for its mineral water. It adds a whole different dimension to it.” —Ned Elliott, Foreign and Domestic, Austin
“It packs a bigger mineral punch than other waters, which more or less taste like bubbled nothing to me.” —Chad Dolezal, The Hightower, Austin
“Topo Chico is the best mineral water in the world—with the biggest bubbles out there. Not only is it the perfect thing to drink on a hot day while sitting by the pit, it’s also incredibly tasty with some tequila and a squeeze of lime.” —John Lewis, Lewis Barbecue and Juan Luis, Charleston, South Carolina (formerly of La Barbecue, Austin)