I recently published an article about the healthiest summer beverages, and to no surprise, spiked seltzers made that list. Since the article went public, several companies have jumped on the seltzer bandwagon with their own versions of these refreshing alcoholic beverages. Even companies known for their popular beers, such as Corona and Budweiser, along with Smirnoff, which is popular for their vodka, have created their own hard seltzer concoctions. There are now over 25 brands of hard seltzer on the market today. Long gone are the days when there was only Zima with jolly ranchers.
Hard seltzers typically contain between 5 and 7% ACV (alcohol by volume) and 100 calories or less, making them a more favorable option for health-conscious individuals over wines, beers, and mixed cocktails. But while these may have fewer calories than beer, wine, and mixed cocktails per serving with no added sugar, they still have calories.
I decided to take one for the team and give several of these a try, so you are no longer forced to stare down the aisle of the local grocery store, unsure of which brands taste the most natural. Such a rough job, but someone has to do it. Since taste is subjective, I will just state my opinions and let you decide for yourself which one(s) would tickle your fancy.
Best Hard Seltzer For You
White Claw Hard Seltzer
Allegedly there are no laws when it comes to claws. This beverage was one of the first to be introduced and has been labeled a “basic girl” drink, even being made into parodies and memes. I can assure you there are plenty of very manly men who consume this drink, and there is nothing “basic” about it.
With 5% ACV, just 100 calories, and 2 grams of carbohydrates, this one is comprised of seltzer water, a gluten-free alcohol base, and a hint of fruit flavor. They even make a blend that is meant to remind you of a vodka and soda, which is the same base but sans fruit flavor.
Based on popularity alone, this one ranks pretty high, and I would agree. Some of the flavors are a tad too sweet for my liking, but if you are into heavily flavored waters and cocktails, these should be right up your alley. Black Cherry was my favorite out of the bunch. Not too sweet, not too tart—just right.
Bud Light Seltzer
With 5% ACV and only 100 calories, this unique beverage broke out mainly due to Post Malone repping the brand. The manufacturing process uses a 5-step filtration process, natural carbonation, and quality ingredients, including sparkling water, real cane sugar, and natural fruit flavors.
I would rate this one pretty high, even considering it is coming down the same pipeline as Budweiser. These are crisp and refreshing and come in a wide variety of flavors. I give these two thumbs up.
Truly Hard Seltzer
I truly enjoy this particular brand of alcoholic seltzer. Each of their 13 unique flavor combinations has 100 calories and only 1 gram of carbohydrates with 5% ACV. These used to be my go-to until I stumbled upon some of the others. I still rank these fairly decent, but a few of the flavors are too artificial tasting for my liking. If you stick with lemon or lime, they are great, but when you get into the more exotic flavors, they can be almost perfumey. That may not be a word, but I think you get the gist.
Henry’s Sparkling Water
I love that Henry’s markets their product as “hard sparkling water,” considering seltzer is just that—sparkling water (aka soda water). It almost screams HEALTHY with fewer calories than most of the other hard seltzers (just 88) and only 1 gram of carbohydrates with 4.6% ACV. Completely made from natural ingredients, these were pretty high on my list.
Even the flavors that would tend to be too sweet for my liking, such as Peach Mango, were pleasantly refreshing and didn’t have any crazy aftertastes like some of the others. I enjoyed every flavor they have and would definitely recommend them to friends and family.
Corona Hard Seltzer
Another beer company branching out with a lighter option is Corona. Despite Covid-19 (aka coronavirus), these beverages are flying off the shelves. These are one of the only hard seltzers that contain 0 carbohydrates, 90 calories, and 4 to 5% ACV. They are delightful and have a clean, fresh taste to them.
Corona also makes a second seltzer product called Corona Refresca. These contain almost double the calories with most flavors ranging from 150 to 170, still with 4.5% ACV, but a whopping 14 grams of carbohydrates. I gave these a try for the sake of comparison, and they are ridiculously good. But for the sake of my waistline, I would opt for the original over the Refresca.
Smirnoff Sparkling Seltzer
Creating a new and exciting ready-to-drink beverage is nothing new for Smirnoff, as they already have a hit on the market with their Smirnoff Ice malt beverage drinks. However, with seltzers being on-trend, they knocked another one out of the park with their sparkling seltzers. With only 90 calories, 4.5% ACV, and 1 gram of carbohydrates, this one was one of my favorites.
Smirnoff even created a variety of Rosé flavors to tap into the folks who prefer the taste of wine but not all the calories. I must say these even surprised me, and I like to think of myself as a wine enthusiast.
Spiked Seltzer Face-Off: Recap
If you have tried any other seltzers that you recommend, I am all ears. I would love to hear your favorites, and if you want to see how they stack up to the competition, drop a comment, and our Coaches will weigh in.
If you have any of your own recipes for lighter alcoholic options, we would love to hear them too!