Germans have a pretty big obsessions with 1) bubbly drinks and 2) mixing together beverages that most normal people would consume alone. It took me awhile to come around to sparkling water, but I finally managed with the help of Apfelschorle as a crutch. Apfelschorle is apple juice mixed with sparkling water. It’s not quite as sickly sweet as straight apple juice, but it covers up the bitter taste of the sparkling water. It comes premixed or you can make it yourself at home. The premixed ones are usually fifty-fifty water and juice, but when you make it at home you can make the ratio whatever you wanted. Our family doctor even suggested Apfelschorle that was 1/5 juice as an alternative to drinking diet soda – I supposed a smaller amount of real sugar was considered better than artificial sweeteners and caffeine.
This is unfortunately more difficult to replicate in the US. While apple juice is super common, it can be surprisingly difficult to find sparkling water. My advice is to avoid the water section of most stores – the sparkling water they have their is generally marketed as fancy and is waaaay overpriced. If you head over to where they keep the alcohol mixers, however, you will find much cheaper bottles of club soda or seltzer – I just buy whatever has only “carbonated water” listed as an ingredient. These are still more expensive than what you will find in Germany, when I was living in the middle of nowhere it cost over $1 for just a liter, but it will be much cheaper than picking up some bottles of Perrier or whatever brand they sell at Starbucks.
My high school students were very confused whenever I’d bring in a bottle of seltzer water and drink it straight from a bottle. One of the students who actually worked at the grocery store commented that she just thought people used it for cleaning. I wonder how they would have reacted if they saw me mixing it up with apple juice!