Since Memorial Day I have been fortunate enough to attend a wedding, beachside barbeques, and neighborhood get-togethers. Though food options varied, I did notice hard seltzers were a common beverage. There were multiple brands, so I decided to rank the ones that I tried.

Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer can be credited as the first official can to hit the shelves in 2013. Or you can go back to Zima as being a pioneer in this carbonated alcohol space. Nowadays, it seems like every brand has their own variation of spiked seltzer. With limited creativity in terms of flavor options (most people would prefer a simple pineapple flavor to a green apple, cherry, celery mashup any time), now certain beverage companies are swapping out the vodka mix for tequila. Furthermore, funny commercials and vibrant cans allow different marketing angles on seemingly similar drinks.

Speaking of marketing, a thinner can is often associated with containing a lower-calorie drink. A CNN  op-ed speculates that most hard seltzers are displayed in these taller, skinny cans to distinguish themselves in a crowded liquor store.

My Methodology

In creating this ranking of the best hard seltzers, there were certain criteria that I considered to be most important. Taste is a broad category. It was imperative here that the drink was smooth, did not contain a syrupy aftertaste and actually tasked like the flavor it suggests. Then, I looked at the overall “nutrition” facts. Finally, I’d ask myself a question: “Would I drink another one, or would I buy a case of this repeatedly?”

It’s important to note that I disqualified top beer brands. While I applaud their efforts for the attempt at entering the hip space, I have yet to find one where their best product was not actually their beer. Lastly, I am not a big fruit juice person. Nor do I typically like citrus mixed with alcohol. In this case, however, there are four hard seltzers where I find the fruit flavor enjoyable. My top choice here is now a brand that I do keep stocked in my cooler.

  • #4 Truly

    What I liked most about Truly is that they are accessible. Many festivals, concerts and sporting events carry Truly. So there is consistency. They seem to stay in their lane and always deliver on their flavors the distribute at mass-events, as opposed to trying to reinvent their options. There are 100 calories in a Truly and it’s 5% alcohol by volume. Selected flavor: Wild Berry.

     

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    A post shared by Truly LA Tasting Room (@trulyla_)

  • #3 Wild Basin

    This is my favorite can of the bunch, but looks aren’t everything. Wild Basin certainly knows who they are visually, as their logo perfectly encapsulates the outdoor and chill vibe of hard seltzer. What holds them back is that they are not always easy to find in New England. Various liquor stores carry them, but not a ton of restaurants do. There are 100 calories in a Truly and it’s 5% alcohol by volume. Selected flavor: Lime Coconut (there’s good reason why this is part of their “paradise” mix pack.

     

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    A post shared by Wild Basin (@wildbasinhardseltzer)

  • #2 White Claw

    This is my hard seltzer OG. Fun fact: when I google “White Claw” a sponsored Truly option is the first result to pop up. I love a little friendly seltzer competition. In full disclosure, I am a surfer and White Claw has done a tremendous job inserting their brand into that community. Their tagline of “those who bring the wave,” has worked well. They say they are “inspired by the power, purity and potential of ocean waves,” and so am I. This is a simple explanation that centers around the fact that when I drink a White Claw I always enjoy it. There are 100 calories in a Truly and it’s 5% alcohol by volume. Selected flavor: Black Cherry.

     

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    A post shared by White Claw (@whiteclaw)

  • #1 High Noon

    There’s no complicated answer here. It has the best taste, is refreshing, and the brand I select when given the option. I like how you feel like carbonation base as opposed to fruit flavor completely taking over. That’s when I get suspicious of artificial additives. High Noon seems to have mastered the recipe of a natural fruit juice percentage to alcohol. Their new tequila seltzers are consistently enjoyable as well. There’s a slight dip in alcohol volume at 4.5%, but it too has 100 calories. Selected flavor: Watermelon.

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