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It wasn’t that long ago when the hard seltzer craze swept the aisles of grocery and convenience stores alike. Before we knew it, beers and once go-to cocktails were riding the bench as everyone reached for the slender cans of booze-infused sparkling water instead.

The summer of 2019 may have been dubbed, “The Summer of Seltzer,” but the craze shows no signs of slowing. With more and more brands creating their version of the flavorful fizzy drinks, it’s hard to keep track of all the options.

So, to help you stay seltzer savvy, we scoured the aisles, popped can after can, and put together this list of the 14 best hard seltzers. Cheers!

Best hard seltzers

The mixology may seem simple (seltzer + liquor + flavor), but it turns out not all hard seltzers are created equal. After all, there’s a lot of ways to make each ingredient.

Here’s what we looked for when curating our list of the best hard seltzers:

  • Quality ingredients. The more natural, the better.
  • Fun flavors. Because there should be a party in every variety pack.
  • Somewhat healthy. Most seltzers are naturally gluten-free, but the seltzers on our list go even further, from vegan and organic to mixed with adaptogens and antioxidants.
  • Variety. We took the term “seltzer” loosely and included some hard kombuchas, spiked teas, and even a hard seltzer smoothie.

Pricing guide

Based on average price per can.

  • $ = under $1.50
  • $$ = $1.51–$3.00
  • $$$ = over $3.00

Best hard seltzer overall

Flying Embers

  • Price: $$
  • Flavor options: black cherry rose, clementine hibiscus, passionfruit elderflower, watermelon chili, guava jalapeno, pineapple cayenne, grapefruit thyme, ancient berry, ginger & oak, lemon orchard
  • ABV: 4.5%–7.2%
  • Calories: 85–95
  • Carbs: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

When it comes to origin stories, Flying Embers has a cool one… or, errr, a hot one. When the company was in its infancy, the R&D facility in California was almost destroyed by a wildfire. Founder Bill Moses was legit watching the nearby flames and marveling at the power of a single ember when he came up with the name Flying Embers.

Campfire stories aside, why does Flying Embers win our top spot for best overall hard seltzer? Oh, let us count the ways.

  1. Low calorie, low carb, no sugar, vegan, organic, and gluten-free means they pair well with any diet.
  2. Made with adaptogens, superfruits, and whole plant botanicals so your bevvy comes with more than just a buzz.
  3. Creative flavor blends include ingredients like guava, thyme, and elderflower.
  4. The brand offers hard seltzer and hard kombucha.
  5. Out of gratitude for the firefighters who helped save the company, Flying Embers donates a portion of its proceeds to first responders.

Best hard tea seltzer

Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavor options: jasmine blueberry & lemon, Darjeeling tea & hibiscus flowers, breakfast tea lemon & lime, white tea raspberry & watermelon, matcha pineapple & chamomile
  • ABV: 4.8%
  • Calories: 100–120
  • Carbs: 4–10 g
  • Sugar: 3–9 g

Make your afternoon tea a party with Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea. The hard tea was founded by Jennie Ripps and Maria Littlefield, two tea experts who also like to booze it up and decided to combine the two.

The company wins best tea hard seltzer because it takes no shortcuts when it comes to brewing its tea. Each batch is made fresh using organic tea and botanicals steeped in giant kettles then topped off with real fruit juice and a pinch of cane sugar.

You can sip your tea with ease knowing it’s:

  • fresh-brewed with real ingredients
  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • made with antioxidant vitamin C

Cons: Using real fruit means higher carbs and sugar than other hard seltzer brands. Ugh, tradeoffs.

Our verdict on Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea

Move over Lover Boy, it’s Boozy Tea time.

I heard about Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea on Instagram long before Lover Boy started getting popular, but I hadn’t ever been able to find it in a store near me. My prayers were answered when I reached out to the brand and they sent me samples to test — I couldn’t believe I had been missing out on this absolute deliciousness. I also couldn’t believe anybody was drinking any other hard tea seltzer. Seriously, if you drink Lover Boy, it’s time to make the switch.

The flavor combos are fun and unique, like White Tea Raspberry and Watermelon (my fave), Darjeeling Tea and Hibiscus Flowers, and Matcha, Pineapple, and Chamomile. Every single flavor tastes clean and fresh. The fruit flavors in each tea-based seltzer give it the perfect amount of sweetness to make it a refreshing treat.

The only downside? It’s not in every liquor store (yet!).

Ruby Thompson, Market Editor

Best sugar free hard seltzer

Crook & Marker

  • Price: $$
  • Flavor options: blackberry lime, coconut pineapple, strawberry lemon, tangerine, black cherry, grapefruit, mango, peach, mojito, margarita, classic iced tea, cocolada, classic lemonade, raspberry lemonade, blueberry lemonade, watermelon lemonade
  • ABV: 4%–5%
  • Calories: 80
  • Carbs: 0 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

Founded by the same guy who created Bai antioxidant drinks (Ben Weiss), Crook & Marker was developed to give people a drinking option without sugary, shady ingredients. Here’s why the brand win’s top spot for health-conscious drinkers:

  • super low-calorie
  • no sugar or carbs
  • vegan
  • no gluten, soy, or peanuts
  • no MSG, artificial preservatives, or added sulfites
  • no artificial flavors or sweeteners

It’s not just about what’s not in the drinks. The company makes an organic grain alcohol using cassava root, quinoa, millet, and amaranth.

Cons: Heads up for anyone who’s sweetener sensitive — the company uses stevia leaf extract to sweeten the drinks and some reviewers complain the stevia taste is a little too strong.

Best seltzer in a hard seltzer

Arctic Chill

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: ginger lime, pineapple pomelo, ruby red grapefruit, raspberry lime, black cherry, fresh lime, strawberry watermelon, mandarin orange, cranberry lime
  • ABV: 5%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 3 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

If you were a seltzer fan before hard seltzers were a thing, then Arctic Chill may be for you. It’s made using Polar Seltzer, a seltzer company that’s been around so long it used to deliver by horse and carriage.

And no, we’re not exaggerating. Polar Seltzer has been family owned and operated in Massachusetts since 1882. The company uses locally sourced, triple-filtered water with no sodium or fluoride to make its seltzer. Hence earning Arctic Chill the award for best seltzer in a hard seltzer.

Our verdict on Arctic Chill

I wouldn’t consider myself a seltzer snob by any means, but as someone who has tried several different hard seltzer brands, I could taste the difference in Arctic Chill. It’s something about the fizz — there’s not so many bubbles that they punch you in the face with every sip, but enough that you know they’re there.

I tried a couple different flavors and have mixed reviews. The mandarin orange was good but a little too mild for my liking, while the cranberry lime was delicious and refreshing. As for the strawberry watermelon? Well, it was a bit like combining a jolly rancher (yum!) with Pepto-Bismol (not-so-yum).

Overall, I’d say it’s definitely a hard seltzer worth trying for those looking to up their seltzer game.

Kacie Main, Writer

Best woman-owned hard seltzer

PRESS

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: pineapple basil, lingonberry elderflower, blackberry hibiscus, pomegranate ginger, lime lemongrass, grapefruit cardamom, pear chamomile, apple cinnamon
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 110
  • Carbs: 7 g
  • Sugar: 5 g

Prior to boss babe Amy Walberg entering the scene in 2015, the alcohol industry was a mostly male-dominated world. But that didn’t stop this single mother of two from making a big boozy splash with her hard seltzer.

PRESS makes three promises to its drinkers:

  1. Delicious seltzer.
  2. Sophisticated flavors.
  3. Low ABV for responsible drinking.

And those promises are paying off. Walberg started PRESS in her own kitchen and now, according to the company, is one of the top 10 seltzer brands and the only one in that group owned by a woman. Cue award for best woman-owned hard seltzer.

Cons: If you’re looking to curb your sugar and carb intake, you’ll be limited in how many of these bubbly bevvies you can enjoy.

Our verdict on PRESS

Have you ever been to a nicer bar and wanted to order a hard seltzer, but the thought of drinking a White Claw while your friends sip on rosé and old fashioneds just… doesn’t sit right?

Enter: PRESS. Not only does the can have a more sophisticated look than most of its competitors, the flavors are on par with a delicious cocktail you’d order from an IRL bartender. The flavors are bold and totally unique, which makes them a perfect option for slower sipping — and they’re worth appreciating.

My fave flavor is the Blackberry Hibiscus. It’s the perfect balance of sweet and tart. I’m also a big fan of Apple Cinnamon — it tastes like the sophisticated older sister of a hard cider (helllllo cozy fall vibes).

The only downside is that they’re a little sugary, so if you’re looking for a Sunday-funday all-day type of seltzer, this might not be the one.

Ruby Thompson, Market Editor

Most natural fruit ingredients in a hard seltzer

Ficks

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: mango, blackberry, cranberry, grapefruit
  • ABV: 5%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 1–3 g
  • Sugar: 1–3 g

Ficks was founded by two college roommates who got tired of not knowing what was in their cocktails. So, they set out to make a drink from real ingredients. With flavors made from real fruit juice, the company lives up to its “farm to fizz” slogan.

But it isn’t just the actual fruit used to make the flavors that won this seltzer the award for most natural fruit ingredients. Even the alcohol comes from fruit. Ficks ferments cold pressed orange juice rather than grains to make its alcohol base.

Cons: Unlike the other hard seltzers on our list, Ficks has limited flavor options to choose from.

Our verdict on Ficks

These seltzers have a slightly thicker consistency than your average seltzer. I guess we have the real fruit to thank for that.

I tried all the flavors, and the mango was by far my favorite. Most of the flavors are made with pure fruit juice but the mango is made with a mango puree, and you can taste the difference. I’m a big mango fan to begin with and the Ficks mango seltzer tastes like legit mango.

Kacie Main, Writer

Best hard seltzer for outdoor activities

Wild Basin

  • Price: $$
  • Flavor options: yuzu pineapple, mango mai tai, citrus spritz, fruity sangria, habanero pina colada, yumberry, strawberry coconut, melon basil, cucumber peach, tangerine lime, blueberry mango, black raspberry
  • ABV: 5%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 1 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

Calling all lovers of the great outdoors: this hard seltzer brand needs to be on your radar. Pause for a quick geography lesson — the Wild Basin is an area of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The seltzer brand carries the name because it uses water from the St. Vrain River, which is fed by the Wild Basin.

And that’s not the only connection to Mother Nature. Wild Basin donates a portion of sales to support river and beach cleanups around the country. Throw vegan in the mix and it’s the perfect pick for outdoor enthusiasts who want to spice up their adventures.

Cons: Not everyone is on board with the unique flavor combos. Some reviewers complain the seltzers smell funny and have a bad aftertaste.

Our verdict on Wild Basin

In addition to the great outdoors vibe the company gives off in its name and philanthropy, the light and refreshing taste of this brand makes it perfect for sipping while canoeing, hiking, beaching, or anything else outside.

I sampled quite a few flavors on a beach day, and they paired well with the heat. I even let one sit for a little too long while I took a dip in the ocean, and it still tasted good warm. I’d have to say the Cucumber Peach was my favorite with Habanero Pina Colada and Fruity Sangria rounding out my top three. Citrus Spritz was my least favorite.

Kacie Main, Writer

Best woman-owned hard kombucha

Luna Bay Booch

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavor options: palo santo blueberry, ginger lemon, hibiscus lavender, grapefruit jalapeno, orange persimmon smash, lychee lime
  • ABV: 4.5%–6%
  • Calories: 110–130
  • Carbs: 0–5 g
  • Sugar: Not disclosed

Meet more boss babes making a mark in the alcohol industry! Luna Bay Booch was founded by a group of women who wanted to make a bevvy that was better for our health and the planet.

So, they created a hard kombucha that is:

  • low in sugar
  • gluten free
  • vegan
  • naturally fermented
  • made with ethically sourced ingredients

Plus, Luna Bay Booch donates a portion of sales to environmental nonprofits. The company says it is the first and only female-founded, female-run hard kombucha company in the United States, making it a no brainer for the best woman-owned hard kombucha title.

Cons: Availability is very limited. You must live in one of a few lucky states to enjoy this girl power hard kombucha.

Most sustainable hard kombucha

Boochcraft

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavor options: apple jasmine, ginger lime, grapefruit hibiscus, lemon maple, orange pomegranate, strawberry lemonade, passionfruit blood orange, spiced pear, watermelon chili, kiwi, peach, sangria, tangerine
  • ABV: 7–8%
  • Calories: 160–240
  • Carbs: 3–14 g
  • Sugar: 1–10 g

Boochcraft is the brainchild of three friends (Andrew Clark, Todd Kent, and Adam Hiner) who wanted to brew a kombucha that not only tasted good, but that people could feel good about drinking. And all signs point to them doing just that.

The hard kombucha brand:

  • is certified organic through QAI and the USDA
  • gets its fruit from organic farms and juices it in-house
  • doesn’t use purees, extracts, or artificial flavors
  • is completely plant-based and vegan

The company wins most sustainable because of what it does for the planet:

  • Composts all fruit scraps, tea, herbs, SCOBYs, and paper towels to be used by local farmers and gardeners.
  • Installed a water recapture loop that saves 1,116 gallons of fresh water each day.
  • Donates a percentage of sales to nonprofits that support environmental sustainability.

Cons: Again with the limited availability. Currently the brand is only available on the west coast and parts of the east coast.

Best berry flavored hard seltzer

Truly

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: black cherry, wild berry, blueberry & acai, raspberry lime, citrus squeeze, lime, grapefruit, lemon, passion fruit, watermelon & kiwi, pineapple, mango, black raspberry, peach mango, original lemonade, watermelon lemonade, strawberry lemonade, mango lemonade, lemon iced tea, raspberry iced tea, peach iced tea, strawberry iced tea, fruit punch, berry punch, tropical punch, citrus punch
  • ABV: 5%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 2–3 g
  • Sugar: 1 g

When it comes to mainstream popularity, Truly is still runner-up to hard seltzer giant White Claw. But the much loved brand is coming up with all kinds of fun ways to go after the #1 spot. In addition to its classic hard seltzer line, Truly also offers fun flavor varieties of lemonade, iced tea, and fruit punch.

The brand is one of our faves because of its truly out-of-the-box hard seltzer creations. In addition to the familiar thin cans, the brand also sells:

  • as lemonade freeze pops
  • as hard seltzer-infused candy
  • on tap at select bars

Our verdict on Truly

There are two groups of people: the White Claw people and the Truly people. I am a Truly person.

While I honestly can’t tell a huge difference between the citrus flavors of each brand, Truly’s berry variety pack is the best of the mainstream seltzer bunch. If there’s a fridge or cooler stocked with Trulys and White Claw, I will always grab a Truly Wild Berry.

The berry flavors are subtle, but delicious — they’re a lighter option that works for all-day/outdoor drinking escapades.

BUT I am not a fan of their lemonades or hard teas — the flavors taste artificial and give me flashbacks to the days I thought drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade was a good idea. 😖 Stick to the berry pack, people!

Ruby Thompson, Market Editor

Most popular hard seltzer

White Claw

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: black cherry, mango, watermelon, natural lime, ruby grapefruit, raspberry, lemon, tangerine, strawberry, blackberry, pineapple, lemon iced tea, raspberry iced tea, mango iced tea, peach iced tea, blood orange, cranberry
  • ABV: 5-8%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 1–2 g
  • Sugar: 1–2 g

White Claw is the “Kleenex” or “Xerox” of seltzers. When you want someone to grab you a seltzer, you say “Grab me a White Claw” — even if there aren’t any White Claws. And you will still receive a seltzer.

It isn’t technically the OG hard seltzer, but the brand was the first to gain major popularity and become a household (and party-hold, beach-hold, boat-hold, tailgate-hold) name.

The company launched in 2016 with 9 flavors, but it was 2018 when the brand took over social media with #ClawLife and catchy sayings like, “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking claws” (ahem, that’s not legit legal advice). The company now offers 11 flavors of its classic hard seltzer, 4 iced tea flavors, and 2 flavors of higher alcohol content White Claw Surge.

Our verdict on White Claw

White Claw is a crowd pleaser. You’ve got tons of options when it comes to flavors, they’re super easy to find, and there’s nothing to really dislike about the way they taste.

At the same time, they’re not the best hard seltzer out there. But I would never be mad if White Claw was my only choice in a stocked fridge. So if you’re hitting the liquor store to prep for a night with friends, White Claw is def a safe seltzer to spring for.

The only exception is the iced tea flavors. Those are kind of gross — stick to the regular seltzers!

Ruby Thompson, Market Editor

Best alcohol in a hard seltzer

High Noon

  • Price: $$
  • Flavor options: black cherry, grapefruit, lime, pineapple, peach, watermelon, mango
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Calories: 100
  • Carbs: 2.3–2.9 g
  • Sugar: 2.3–2.9 g

Most hard seltzers are considered a flavored malt beverage, but not this one. High Noon launched in 2019 as the only hard seltzer made with real vodka, making it a spirit as well as our pick for best alcohol in a hard seltzer.

Keeping with the real theme, in addition to real vodka, the brand uses real fruit in its flavors. As a result, High Noon has a slightly higher sugar and carb content than other hard seltzers.

Cons: Because it’s made with actual vodka, High Noon availability is restricted to places with a liquor license, not just a beer and wine license. That means you won’t find it in as many places (think some grocery stores and convenience stores).

Our verdict on High Noon

If you’re the type of person that can only drink one kind of liquor (and that one kind of liquor is vodka) — or you just hate hard seltzers but still want some sort of cocktail in a can — High Noon is for you.

TBH, the way it tastes isn’t groundbreaking. If you put me in a blind taste test, I’d probably guess that High Noon was just a regular old hard seltzer. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. They’re easy drinking, refreshing, and a great option for people that prefer liquor over malt beverages.

The biggest issue with High Noon is that it’s expensive $$$. If you’re trying to save a buck and don’t feel passionately about malt beverages vs. actual liquor, I’d suggest trying a different hard seltzer first.

Ruby Thompson, Market Editor

Best hard seltzer smoothie

Smooj

  • Price: $$$
  • Flavor options: strawberry banana, pina colada,
  • ABV: 5%
  • Calories: 240–300
  • Carbs: 28–41 g
  • Sugar: 23–33 g

If a fruit smoothie had a baby with a hard seltzer, the result would be Smooj. This hard seltzer smoothie blends together real fruit, alcohol, and just a hint of carbonation for that slightly seltzer feel.

Smooj is one of the few good things to come out of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. While the team at HOMES Brewery had been playing around with the idea of creating a hard seltzer, they have the lockdown to thank for giving them the time to develop the hard seltzer smoothie.

Seltzer may be in the name but make no mistake — Smooj is a full-on smoothie. The consistency is thick and rather than having a hint of flavor (like most seltzers), it’s full of flavor.

Cons: The spiked smoothie hasn’t yet made it coast-to-coast. Smooj is currently only available in Michigan, greater Philadelphia, greater Chicago, New York City, and the Hudson Valley.

Our verdict on Smooj

No joke, this tastes like a smoothie. It’s absolutely delicious and exists on another plane in the hard seltzer category — is it a smoothie? Is it a seltzer? Is it a tropical drink that belongs in a coconut? I honestly don’t know.

What I do know: It’s a delightfully clever twist on the classic seltzer, and nothing about it tastes medicinal or artificial. Also, how can you not love offering your friends a can of Smooj?!

Only problem is, it’s a sugar bomb. Like most blended fruit beverages, this drink is heavy on sugar and calories (23 g of sugar and 240 calories per can), making it a not-so-sessionable option. However, if you want to enjoy a sweet boozy treat by the pool or in a hammock, this seltzer is for you!

Ashley Sepanski, Lead Lifestyle & Market Editor

Best hard seltzer for the high life

BON V!V

  • Price: $
  • Flavor options: pear elderflower, raspberry dragonfruit, clementine hibiscus, coconut pineapple, grapefruit, black cherry, mango, cranberry
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Calories: 90
  • Carbs: 1–2 g
  • Sugar: 0 g

So, if White Claw isn’t the true OG hard seltzer, then who is? Meet Bon V!V. It all started back in 2012 when founder Nick Shields watched woman after woman order a vodka soda in a Connecticut bar. He had the idea to recreate the go-to cocktail in a can and BOOM! — the idea for hard seltzers was born.

Bon V!V first launched in 2013 as a different name. Shields then sold the brand to Anheuser-Busch who rebranded and relaunched it in 2016, just in time for the hard seltzer boom.

So why did we deem it best hard seltzer for the high life? Well, rather than fermenting grains or sugar for its alcohol, Bon V!V uses champagne yeast. Add in purified water and exotic flavors made from natural fruit flavors and you might as well drink it out of a champagne flute.

Fun fact: The two mermaids on the can are Bonnie and Vivian, the brands fictional founders.

Our verdict on Bon V!V

I’m sorry, White Claw, but I just don’t love you anymore. After jumping head first into the hard seltzer craze a few years ago, I now drink them very rarely. But I have found one brand that I can still enjoy: BON V!V!

I like BON V!V for its rich flavor. Instead of the hint of flavor that lots of popular seltzers feature, BON V!V almost tastes like spiked juice — but with zero sugar and only 90 calories.

Samantha Kostaras, Demand Editor

Hard seltzers are making a big splash in the drinking world, and they don’t appear to be running dry anytime soon. What started as the White Claw wonder has turned into a bevy of seltzer bevvies.

Companies are getting all kinds of innovative with their flavors and variations of the classic hard seltzer, including spiked teas, hard kombuchas, and even hard smoothies. No matter what your drinking goals or diet restrictions, you’ve got your pick of the cooler when it comes to hard seltzers.