I don’t know when it started, but I jumped onto the hard seltzer bandwagon at some point last year. My husband and I were trying out a low-carb diet, and since wine wasn’t a part of that diet, I had to pivot.
Cue the hard seltzers.
Soon enough, every alcohol brand was catering to this new hard seltzer audience and a different variety seemed to arrive every week. It became a running joke on my Snapchat stories that I would buy it and rate it later that night every time I saw a new variety. One year later and I’ve tried so many that I’ve lost count at this point.
I feel the need to say that I don’t consider myself a fancy gal. My husband’s drink of choice is Busch Light, and I’m known amongst my friends as the resident Jello Shot maker. We are just some good ol’ Iowa folks looking for a fun time and an affordable adult beverage to boot. If you’re looking for tips on choosing upscale beverages or how to look stylish and cool while sipping on a seltzer, this is not that kind of article!
This list might ruffle a few feathers because if I’m being honest, two of my least favorite kinds of seltzers are White Claw and the regular Truly varieties. *Half of the audience audibly gasps*
So what are the judging criteria for hard seltzers, you ask? I’m taking into consideration three things: taste, cost, and presentation. And bonus points for low carbs and calories!
Here are my top five hard seltzers, in descending order:
5. Truly Iced Tea and Lemonade Seltzers
So…. the regular Truly seltzers are not my favorite. But when they came out with a Lemonade and Iced Tea variety, I was intrigued. I’m glad I tried them because the flavor is fantastic and it’s something different from just a standard seltzer. Think Mike’s Hard Lemonade or Twisted Tea, with much less sugar and wayyyy fewer carbs, and not such an overpowering sweet taste. Truly, hats off to you for starting the lemonade and iced tea seltzer trend that every other brand jumped on within months. Respect.
4. Natural Light Seltzers
I’m going to go ahead and call it: you did not see Natty Lite in the Top Five, did you? Hear me out: starting with the price, it’s hard to compete with $1/can and I’m all about seltzer sipping on a budget. The flavor names are ultimately hilarious from Catalina Lime Mixer, to Aloha Beaches, all the way to Zest I Ever Had. This brand tastes a little heavier, so if you’re a beer drinker and haven’t made the seltzer leap yet, maybe start with this one? And if any of your friends want to give you a little side-eye because this brand is beneath them, girl, you don’t need friends like that! Come on over to my house!
3. Crook & Marker
This is the most expensive brand in my Top Five, as I tend to shy away from hard seltzers that retail for anything above $2 per 12 ounce can. I still need money left over for food, ya know? But if you’re willing to spend the extra few dollars, the taste of this brand is just SO fresh and pure and smooth. The peach flavor tastes exactly like you’re biting into an actual peach (which I loved except I felt like maybe I could taste the core of the peach, too). I haven’t tried the Lemonade version of this brand yet, but I can’t help but think it’ll be phenomenal.
Antioxidants? Vitamin C? Sounds healthy, count me in! Aside from the perceived health benefits of this brand, I found the taste to be exceptionally unique. Of all the varieties, my favorite flavors are Pineapple Mango, Papaya Passionfruit, and Raspberry Lemonade. Low carbs, low calories, gluten-free: check, check, check! And with a 5% alcohol content, you’re getting a little more bang for your buck with these.
1. Bud Light Seltzers
I think domestics get a bad rap sometimes because they’re not as “classy” or “upscale” as a specialty brand. But girls, I’m just here to give credit where it’s due. This brand is constantly having great sales, instant rebates, and have a handful of different variety packs. I thought long and hard about who would obtain the top spot and once I realized that all my favorite variety packs came from Bud Light, there was really no question.
The Bud Light Tye Dye Pack gets a big thumbs up from me, with bonus points for the fun can aesthetic. I was SHOCKED to discover during the holidays that I loooved the Ugly Christmas Sweater variety pack. At the risk of being dramatic, I honestly felt nostalgic drinking the Apple Crisp and Gingersnap varieties.
And perhaps my all-time favorite tasting seltzer pack is the Out Of Office variety pack that Bud Light unveiled earlier this year. Mango Mai Tai, Strawberry Daquiri, Watermelon Mojito, and the Classic Lime Margarita all completely live up to their names. There is SO much flavor that I don’t know how they kept these to 100 calories, but I will not be asking questions!
-Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzers
-Coors Light Orange Cream Soda Seltzer (seriously it’s delicious)
-Bud Light Platinum Seltzers (watch out on these, the high alcohol content will GET YA)
–Press seltzers (because my mom loves these and I love my mom so I need to mention them)
-I like the Truly Fruit Punch pack, except one of the flavors tastes a bit like cough syrup, and I couldn’t get past that enough to make it Top Five.
-If you shop at Aldi, definitely try their seltzer brand Vista Bay; you won’t regret it!
White Claw, Michelob Ultra Organic, Smirnoff. To me, all three of these brands had the least amount of taste. I was PUMPED to try the Michelob Ultra Spicy Pineapple flavor, but it was about as spicy as the little moist towelettes you wipe your mouth with after eating wings. So, not at all. Sorry, Mich Ultra, but I still enjoy your light beer.
If you’re someone who orders extra ice in their soda at restaurants, or if you’re big into La Croix, you may like these brands a lot. But for me, if it starts to taste watered down at all, I’ll struggle to enjoy it.
I need to put some respect on White Claw’s name for starting this whole seltzer craze.
Although there ARE still laws while you’re drinkin’ claws, we appreciate what you’ve done for all us folks out here who never knew what to order at a restaurant because beer seemed too heavy, liquor seemed too aggressive, and a glass of wine seemed too expensive.
Hard seltzers solve these problems and provide a fun conversation piece as well.
Alright, ladies, let me have it. Am I crazy for excluding some of the most popular brands out there? Tell me your favorites in the comments below!
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