March 22 is National Water Day, so why not break out a bottle of H2O to celebrate? Whether you enjoy bubbly or flat water, it can be difficult to choose between all of the thousands of bottled water brands available. Try flat water from Fiji, sparkling water from France, or the water enjoyed by both Elvis Presley and the racehorse Secretariat.
We've created this primer on the top brands to take the guesswork out of your next trip down the grocery store aisle. Next time you're thirsty, why not try reaching for one of the ten best bottled waters around?
Voss Artesian Water
Two Norwegian entrepreneurs created Voss, a classy, designer-savvy tube of water from the crisp, frigid aquifers of their Nordic homeland. Shielded for hundreds of years from pollutants by thick layers of rock and sand, Voss water is bottled in Southern Norway, “naturally unfiltered” and served both still and sparkling. But its rugged purity is not Voss’ only selling point. The company’s designers painstakingly developed the bottle’s look and feel to reflect a brand that embodies both health and high fashion. Voss first became available mostly in upscale hotels and in health spas in Europe and in the United States but has since seen much wider distribution in gourmet food and retail stores on both continents.
Saint Geron Mineral Water
Saint Géron, known as "the queen of mineral waters," stems from an ancient spring in the Auvergne region of France. The light, sparkling mineral water in a bottle of Saint Géron is the product of an 1,100-year filtration process. This results in the water being cleansed of all bacteria and nitrates, which show up at less than .1 milligrams per liter. Unusually rich in calcium and magnesium, Saint Géron has long been used as a treatment for digestive problems, diabetes, anemia and even gout. Although the water was not bottled until the nineteenth century, the Romans patronized the spring long before — ancient coins from the Gallo-roman period (50 BC–486 AD) have been found scattered all around the source. The water comes in a modern, elegant glass bottle created by painter and designer Alberto Bali.
Hildon Natural Mineral Water
One of the UK’s most prestigious bottled waters, Hildon Natural Mineral Water is served at the House of Commons and the Royal Opera House (and is rumored to be the water of choice at Buckingham Palace). Hildon begins as rainfall, which percolates through the chalk hills of the Hampshire countryside. After a period of 50 years the water emerges at an underground aquifer beneath the nineteenth-century Hildon Estate. The chalk acts as a unique natural filtration system, protecting the water from pollution and endowing it with high levels of calcium. Once it reaches the source it is immediately bottled without chemical treatment. Naturally low in sodium, the water is prized for its purity and well-balanced taste. Hildon, which produces both still and sparkling varieties, was the first company in the world to sell a natural mineral water with a carbonation level below 2.9. This low level of carbonation makes their "Gently Sparkling" water ideal for sipping alongside fine wines and subtly flavored dishes, which risk being overwhelmed by more robust bubbles.
Evian Natural Spring Water
Discovered by a French nobleman during the French Revolution, Evian stems from a source that was thought to hold curative and restorative powers from the start. Evian begins as water that emerges from the Source Cache in France in a mountain tunnel at 52.88 degrees Fahrenheit. The source is fed from the melted snow and rain that filters through glacial sand from the Vinzier Plateau over a period of fifteen years. The glacial sand is surrounded by clay, which protects the water from pollution and gives it its mineral composition and taste. The water is bottled at a nearby bottling plant, which is highly automated and exceptionally hygienic.
Fiji Natural Artesian Water
FIJI Water, natural artesian water, began being bottled in 1996 at the source in the Yaqara Valley of Viti Levu, one of Fiji’s two principal islands, and is now the number one imported bottled water in the United States. FIJI’s natural artesian origins provide the water with a unique mineral profile, including its high silica concentration. FIJI Water is known for its iconic square bottle and its signature soft, smooth taste, which comes from the natural silica content and trace amounts of calcium and magnesium. As part of that strict commitment to quality, no human hands are allowed to touch it. Perfectly protected from outside air and external elements, FIJI Water is untouched until you unscrew the cap.
Gerolsteiner Mineral Water
Founded in 1888, Gerolsteiner Sparkling Mineral Water is the number one water export in Germany. In the German style of stringent purity and cleanliness, Gerolsteiner’s production follows strict purity protocols. Originating in springs from the area of Volcanic Eifel, Gerolsteiner flows from ancient, rocky volcanic reservoirs 200 feet beneath the earth’s surface. Minerals and carbonic acid leach into the water as it percolates up through the volcanic rocks, giving Gerolsteiner its exceptionally high amount of calcium, bicarbonate and magnesium. Gerolsteiner is a great source of essential nutrients that our bodies need daily and its natural carbonation gives Gerolsteiner its refreshing, neutral taste.
Ferrarelle Naturally Sparkling Mineral Water
Relatively unknown in America, Italy's number one brand of sparkling mineral water was established in 1893, though Italians have been drinking from its source for hundreds of years. This naturally effervescent water is bottled directly at a spring located in the protected Sorgeto di Riardo Park near the extinct Roccamonfina volcano in Italy's Campania region. Ferrarelle is extremely mindful of the quality of its products, testing them more than 600 times each day. Care is also taken to safeguard the habitat surrounding the spring, and the company's bottling plants are powered by solar energy.
Ferrarelle water, both sparkling and still, is bottled in glass containers rather than plastic, which protects its taste and purity and lessens the impact on the environment. Ferrarelle water begins as rainfall, which trickles through layers of rock in the ground, soaking up valuable minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and fluoride. Nevertheless, it has no mineral taste and no unpleasant saltiness. It does have the thirst-quenching, pure taste of simple water, with a pleasant amount of fizziness
Perrier Mineral Water
Perrier is a naturally sparkling mineral water sourced from a spring in Vergèze, France. Originally called Les Bouillens, the spring has been used as a spa resort since Roman times. The distinctive bottle shape is said to have been inspired by Indian clubs used for exercise by spring owner Sir Saint-John Harmsworth. The water and carbonation are captured separately and recombined in the bottling process to preserve the natural sparkling flavor of the original water from the spring. Today, Perrier is marketed as a healthy alternative to soda drinks and cocktails and is available in a variety of flavors, ranging from pink grapefruit to lemon and lime.
Mountain Valley Spring Water
Since 1871, Mountain Valley Spring Water has been praised by U.S. presidents, world-class athletes and even Hollywood stars for its refreshing taste and potent health benefits. Bottled at its source in the hills between the Glazypeau and Cedar Mountains in Arkansas, Mountain Valley Spring Water has a unique mineral composition that is believed to have medicinal properties that can help alleviate chronic disorders.
Elvis Presley, John Lennon and Joe Lewis were firm believers in the restorative powers of this water, and they weren't the only ones. Thirteen presidents (from Coolidge to Clinton) had Mountain Valley regularly served to their guests while they were in office, and the water is currently being served in the United States Senate. In fact, President Dwight Eisenhower drank the water medicinally following a heart attack. It was also served to a number of famous racehorses, including Nashua, Sunday Silence and the great Secretariat. This sparkling water is light and clean, with a delicate pH balance for premier taste.
Volvic Natural Spring Water
Volvic is bottled exclusively at its unique source in France and available in more than 60 countries. The basin supplying the Volvic spring source is located in the Regional Park of the Old Auvergne Volcanoes, a volcanic region that has been dormant for 10,000 years. The name Volvic refers to the town as well as a type of gray volcanic rock. The source of the water, the Clairvic Spring, was discovered in 1927. In 1965, the French Ministry of Health authorized the bottling of Volvic water. Volvic emerges year-round from its protected source at the constant temperature of 8.8 degrees Celsius.