Spiked seltzers are definitely trending at the moment, but it's more than just a passing fad. Crisp, refreshing, sparkling, and gently flavored, hard seltzers offer a convenient alternative to soda mixed drinks.
Hard seltzers are primarily malt beverages—some are fermented from fruit juice, others have an actual vodka base. The flavors range from simple fruits to intriguing combinations and the carbonation levels vary greatly. With all the options, there's sure to be a spiked seltzer that's perfect for everyone's taste, whether you're drinking them straight or using them as cocktail mixers.
Though touted as diet-friendly, all hard seltzers are similar to the average light beer. They have around 100 calories and 2 grams of carbs per 12-ounce can, though they have less sugar (from zero to 2 to 5 grams). The majority are gluten-free and 4.5 percent to 5 percent alcohol by volume (ABV).
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It's safe to say that White Claw is responsible for bringing hard seltzer to everyone's attention. These cans are so popular, there have been shortages—it even outsold Budweiser during the 2019 summer season. This seltzer has appealed to both wine and beer drinkers. The flavors are basic—black cherry, lime, mango, raspberry, and ruby grapefruit—yet very well done and nicely balanced with the sparkle. "Pure" is their unflavored seltzer.
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Credited with starting the trend, Bon & Viv is a perfect introduction to spiked seltzer. Originally called "Spiked Seltzer," it was created in response to vodka-soda drinks. It has brilliant carbonation similar to sparkling wine, which is not surprising because it's cold-fermented using champagne yeast. Bon & Viv offers an unflavored seltzer, grapefruit, prickly pear, and cranberry. The flavor combos bring herbs into the mix with pear elderflower, clementine hibiscus, and black cherry rosemary and they're all quite sippable.
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Unlike the majority, High Noon is made with vodka. The ingredient list also includes "real fruit juice," sparkling water, and natural flavors. If you're looking for a convenient way to replace that vodka and soda, it's a great option. These seltzers have a nice fruit flavor that's more pronounced than some others. Grapefruit is a fan favorite and they also offer black cherry, pineapple, and watermelon.
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Just as readily available and popular, Truly is a must-try on the seltzer scene. It's definitely different than White Claw and many people find that they prefer one or the other. Truly is like drinking flavored club soda that's not too sweet. Its base is "beer made from cane sugar" and includes natural flavors and sugar cane. The berry and citrus flavors (particularly lime) are the most popular, though the tropical fruits are good, too.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
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Smirnoff entering the hard seltzer market should not surprise anyone. The biggest difference between these and Smirnoff Ice is that the seltzers are sugar-free. Don't expect the company's vodka in Smirnoff Sparkling Seltzers—they're malt beverages and they're rather good, especially if you like a bolder fruit. Smirnoff offers some unique naturally-flavored options: cranberry-lime, lemonade, and piña colada. The pink cans of rosé seltzers are where they really shine. Mixed with pink apple, raspberry, strawberry, or white peach, you get a taste of sparkling rosé wine in a lighter, more convenient form. All are "crafted to remove gluten."
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Press was designed to be a session seltzer (4 percent ABV) and one that can be paired with food. On both of those points, it hit the mark perfectly. The flavors are natural and the seltzer is refreshing, bright, and gently sweetened. It has a malt base, but goes through a filtration process designed to remove gluten. Anyone who loves to explore flavors will appreciate the blend of fruits with herbs or spices: blackberry-hibiscus, pomegranate-ginger, lime-lemongrass, and grapefruit-cardamom. Apple-cinnamon is an autumn release perfect for seasonal dinners.
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Most seltzers opt for the slim can, but SeekOut goes with the traditional beer can style. Rather than a malt or sugar base, they're fermented with actual fruit juice that's naturally gluten-free; water and apple wine are the common ingredients. They're remarkably refreshing and flavors like raspberry-Meyer lemon and pineapple-passionfruit seltzers are perfect for summer. The key lime-mint is much like a light mojito. For gin lovers, there's cucumber-juniper, which is simply impressive.
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Sound Craft keeps it simple and that's a good thing. From the people behind Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider Co., the drink ferments organic fruit juice to create thirst-quenching beverages that are a joy to sip on. The distribution is limited, but it's one to check out when you see it. The flavor line-up is short and sweet: cucumber, grapefruit, and rosé (made from blackberries). They have a striking natural flavor, perfect when you want some oomph in your seltzer.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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A Colorado brewery (Oskar Blues) hopped on the hard seltzer bandwagon with their sugar-free Wild Basin. Made with water from the St. Vrain River, it's a Rocky Mountain delight that will catch your attention—if not the bright cans, then with the fresh flavors. Designed with a food-driven, younger crowd in mind, Wild Basin is fun and funky. Enjoy their cucumber-peach, melon-basil, or lemon-agave-hibiscus, or go with tried-and-true lime. All are naturally flavored and boast a pleasant sparkle.
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Sparkle not your thing? Pura Still has you covered, as it's literally spiked water. It's made with coconut water, fermented malted barley extract, sugar, and natural flavors. The process and results are surprising and the still water is pretty good. Sold in bottles and cans, you may find it in your local beer case. There are three flavors—blackberry, mandarin orange, and mango—with the first being a favorite. They have just enough flavor to keep things interesting and they're refreshing and definitely worth tasting.