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Best overall result: Quirk Spiked & Sparkling Selters at Drizly
The flavor combinations are unexpected, like Pear Yuzu and Blackberry Sage, and unusually tasty due to the use of real fruits.
Best low carb: Flying Embers Hard Seltzer at Drizly
With piquant flavors like Pineapple Cayenne, the Flying Embers line contains dry fermented seltzer with 0 grams of carbohydrates.
Best Low Calorie: Corona Hard Seltzer at Drizly
Corona’s hard seltzer are carbohydrate-free and sugar-free with vibrant flavors like mango and tropical lime.
Best spicy: Press Premium Blood Orange Chili at Drizly
The 110-calorie offer does not skimp on the Scoville units and mixes fragrant citrus fruits with a tingling, peppery flavor.
Best with vodka: High Noon Sun sips Seltzer at Drizly
Forget fermented sugar – the 100 calorie High Noon Sun Sips are made from vodka with sparkling water and fruit juice.
The best for Seltzer fans: Arctic Chill Weekender at Drizly
These mix Polar’s popular flavors, like Pineapple Pomelo and Ruby Red Grapefruit, with a 100-calorie alcohol base.
Best fruit: Willie’s Superbrew Mango & Passionfruit at Drizly
Willie’s Superbrew is very transparent about its ingredients and lists the percentage of the actual fruit juice that is used in each of its seltzer.
Best rosé: Decoy Premium Seltzer Rosé with black cherry at Drizly
This wine-based rosé seltzer integrates the tart, earthy taste of the black cherry for a well-rounded taste that belies the slim 80-calorie values.
Best cocktail-inspired: Beaches Hard Seltzer Cocktail inspired at Drizly
They are delicious and make you feel like you are on your favorite beach.
Best organic: Maha Organic Hard Selters at Drizly
Each strain contains a proprietary blend of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
Best black cherry: Vizzy Black Cherry Lime Hard Seltzer at Instacart
The taste that defined a category receives an update with the addition of light, lively lime.
In the past five years, Hard Seltzer has grown from a bubbly upstart to a category juggernaut sold in grocery stores, bars, and sports stadiums far and wide. Hard Selters appealed to customers looking for lower-calorie alcoholic beverages that still provided plenty of flavor and refreshment, one slim 100-calorie can after another.
It’s a tried and tested template that can make it difficult to distinguish hard seltzer, a bubbly mixture of damp water flavored with black cherry or grapefruit. However, not all hard seltzer are made equal. Some prefer real fruit juices or organic ingredients, while other brands look for cocktails or exotic fruits for taste inspiration.
To help you understand the effervescent options, here are the best hard seltzer you can drink right now.
Our top recommendation are Quirk Spiked & Sparkling Seltzers (view at Drizly), which bring both the taste and the carbonation to the point. For a keto-friendly alternative, look no further than Flying Embers Hard Seltzer (view at Drizly), which has zero grams of carbohydrates and sugar.
frequently asked Questions
What was the very first tough seltzer?
No, it wasn’t Truly or White Claw – today’s tough Seltzer category dates back to the 2013 launch of SpikedSeltzer, a brand that was acquired by AB InBev in 2016 and later renamed Bon & Viv (and eventually BON.) V! V). However, today’s hard seltzers owe at least part of their fault to ‘alcopops’ of the 1990s like Zima and Smirnoff Ice – although these products were far sweeter and were never specifically marketed as part of a healthy lifestyle.
What kind of alcohol is in hard seltzer?
Most hard seltzer get their wet kick from alcohol made from fermented cane sugar, although some are based on malted barley, just like their ’90s alco-pop ancestors. (This methodology explains why selters are typically categorized as “flavored malt beverages” or FMBs, even though many of them do not contain malt.) There are also some selters that use wine, vodka, or fermented juice to make up the “hard” element to add.
Why is Hard Seltzer so popular right now and is it just a fad?
The meteoric rise of hard seltzer can be traced back to the coincidence of two simultaneous trends: 1) the increasing popularity of non-alcoholic flavored seltzer and sparkling water as American consumers turned away from high-calorie soda in the 2010s, and 2) the wider interest in one “Health-conscious” lifestyle – driven by prominent influencers, presented and disseminated on social media, aimed at both women and men and advocates a gluten-free life and the acceptance of low-alcohol beverages. Hard Selters was the tailor-made drink for this particular crossbreed – and as long as consumers continue to be interested in gluten-free options and don’t go back to high-sugar or high-alcohol beverages en masse, Hard Seltzer’s market share should only continue to consolidate.
Why trust Liquor.com?
This round-up was edited by Jesse Porter, who has been a huge Seltzer fan since childhood (although much of that interest comes from seeing old cartoon characters spray one another). That said, he didn’t think he cared about tough seltzer until he researched this piece – and now there’s no going back for better or for worse.
Joshua M. Bernstein is a seasoned journalist specializing in beer, spirits, food, and travel. He is a regular contributor to The New York Times, Men’s Journal, New York Magazine, Wine Enthusiast and Imbibe, where he is editor-in-chief for beer coverage. Bernstein is also the author of five books: “Brewed Awakening”, “The Complete Beer Course”, “Complete IPA”, “Homebrew World” and “Drink Better Beer”. He likes to drink crisp pils and everything that has to do with lager beer.
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