What started as a trend turned out to be anything but fleeting. Gone are the days of viral “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws” videos, and yet you’d be hard-pressed to stop at a house party that didn’t have a cooler stocked with hard seltzers. Today, White Claw shares the well-deserved limelight with a host of brands, from Truly and vodka-based High Noon to local favorites from neighborhood breweries.
Today’s market is so crowded that even those most avid for all things light, bubbly and boozy can easily feel overwhelmed in the aisles of grocery stores and liquor stores. With new brands hitting the market on what seems like a daily basis, we polled industry insiders and everyday seltzer aficionados for their views on the best seltzer around. If many have chosen among the small brands, it is clear that the era of the Griffe is far from behind us.
Here are the best seltzers around, according to self-proclaimed connoisseurs.
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The Best Hard Seltzers, According to Seltzer Lovers
- Champagne Seltzer brewability laboratory
- Island District Guava Lime
- Triple Eight Nantucket Blue Distillery
- Matchbook Distilling Riley Watermelon
- Bronx Brewery Side Hustle Hard Seltzer
- Paloma Brewery Green Bench
- White Claw Orange & Lemon
- Really pineapple and passion fruit
- Wild Basin Cucumber Peach & Melon Basil
- Cellador Tepache Seltzer
- Grapefruit at noon
- Grapefruit Ficks
- Madre Desert Water
“We actually make amazing seltzer champagne brewed with champagne yeast. It is quite neutral and light, so it can easily take on other flavors. We mix it with local manufacturing Gentle action sorbet flavors to create a frozen Mimosa! We also mix it with fresh or frozen fruit in our slushie machine! It’s a deliciously refreshing summertime treat on the patio!” —Tiffany Fixter, owner and operator, Brewability laboratoryEnglewood, Colorado.
“Currently drinking Guava Lime Island neighborhood, a vodka-based brand of coconut water. They’re super full of flavor and not very carbonated, so it’s more like a cocktail. Plus, they’re packed with good electrolytes that help prevent hangovers. I’m obsessed with these – and it doesn’t hurt that the company is female-owned. The brand is cute as shit, and how can you not drink from a can that sports “better tomorrow” around the lid? Yum yum.” —Brienne Allan, co-founder, brave noise
“Nantucket Blue is the ultimate canned seltzer option. It’s a little tart, super flavorful and also low ABV. For me, this is the ultimate bev hanging out all day with your friends in the sun. —Jake Cornell, comedian and podcast host, “Dating Jake Cornell”
“My favorite seltzer water is Match Distilling‘s Riley Watermelon, a sparkling watermelon brandy made from distilled watermelon juice. It’s 4 percent ABV with no sugar and has a delicious light watermelon flavor. I love that it’s made with no artificial extracts or flavors and is great over ice or mixed with juice or in a cocktail! —Tara Hankinson, co-founder, Talea Beer Co.
“I actually have two seltzers that have a permanent home in my fridge. The first is Side Hustle Hard Seltzer by the Bronx Brewery. It contains grapefruit and lime and helps me feel good! I like it because the flavor profile is bright, light and packs a 7% punch that you can barely tell exists. Another that I really like is Paloma Hard Seltzer from Green bench brewing. This one is 4.5% ABV and also includes agave. It has a nice, smooth grapefruit flavor and is super easy to drink! —Latiesha Cook, CEO, Co-Founder and President, Beer Kulture
“White claws have always reigned supreme in my book. Their crunchy taste, high carbonation, and flavors are what keep me coming back. Unlike other hard seltzers, White Claws contain 100 calories and 5% alcohol. —Julia Winer, self-proclaimed connoisseur of White Claw, NYC
“I am a hardcore seltzer fan. There are several ways to enjoy them and make them a little more fun than just drinking them from a can: they can top your Aperol spritz, or you can add a shot to the can to make it a little higher ABV. Want a killer white wine spray? Just add hard seltzer! But since I’ve gone through most of the flavors, four are my all-time favorites: White Claw Orange, White Claw Lemon, Truly Pineapple, and Truly Passionfruit. —Christine Wiseman, Beverage Manager, BarLabMiami
“Every time I see wild basin on the shelf, I’ll look for hard seltzer water. I particularly like the Cucumber Peach and Melon Basil flavors because they are more complex than your typical seltzer. I think Wild Basin is somewhere between a cocktail and a classic seltzer; I usually think of hard seltzer water as alcoholic sparkling water, but the flavor of fresh herbs or the distinct note of cucumber skin makes them more interesting to sip. They are always light and easy to drink by the pool or on the roof. —Mandy Naglich, certified cicerone and homebrewer, NYC
“Most of the hard seltzer I’ve eaten is way too sweet. My preference is pie any day of the week. Cellador created a Farmhouse Seltzer that resembles an alcoholic tepache. With pineapple and cinnamon, this extremely well-balanced seltzer water is fermented in the brewery’s in-house cultures in oak barrels, then naturally packaged with local orange blossom honey. —Ash Eliot, Co-Founder, Brave Noise, Founder, women of the revolution
“I will never sleep on an opportunity to take advantage Seltzer Hard Ficks. Made with real fruit juice, this brand has always shined brighter than its competition when I sampled seltzers for various VinePair items and roundups. The only downside is that I don’t believe they currently have national distribution. So if I’m looking for something that’s easy to find and always available, I’ll go to High Noon. Either way, grapefruit is my go-to flavor. —Tim McKirdy, Senior Writer, VinePair, NYC
“High Noons are made with real vodka and real fruit. Unlike many other seltzers, they are not malt-based. High Noons also has the cleanest taste of any other hard seltzer on the market. Because they taste like sparkling water with a hint of fruit, they are too easy to drink! —Jimmy Freel, High Noon, NYC hypeman
“Sheesh, it’s seltzer season!” I’m sure to fill my fridge with Madre Desert Water. The mushroom, sage and honey flavor is wild; earthy and aromatic and the honey just teases the sweetness. But my favorite is the classic. It’s like taking a sip from a can of Vintage Seltzer and topping it up with mezcal and a squeeze of lime. With an alcohol content of 5%, it is the perfect pestle for the summer terrace. » —Izzy Tulloch, Bar Manager, Room Hi Hi; bartender, clover club