I Tried 21 Brands of Spiked Seltzer and Was Shocked by the Winner
Bubbles make everything better, and that’s most certainly the case when it comes to happy hour. I’m not just talking about bubbly, either. Seriously, what did we all do before spiked seltzer, the now-ubiquitous alcoholic beverage category, came into our lives? Now that so many brands have thrown their hats into the spiked seltzer ring, there are countless options. How do you even know where to start? Someone needed to try as many as possible — and that someone was me.
To get the job done, I swung by a nearby liquor store and loaded my cart with every single option I could find on the shelves, from more mainstream beer brands to more boutique offerings. When all was said and done, I had amassed 21 different boxes. “I want to go wherever you’re going,” a fellow shopper said when she saw my towering cart.
Over the span of a single weekend, I tried them all. Some raised fierce debate, but there were clear frontrunners, and one overall winner that blew every other can out of the (fizzy) water.
How I Tested the Spiked Seltzers
My team of testers tried the contenders in flights of three, in alphabetical order. We noted fizziness, booziness, overall likability, and how true the taste was to the flavor listed on the can. Packaging design wasn’t a factor, but after the fact we definitely noticed a correlation between how pretty the cans were versus how much we liked them. (I guess you can judge a spiked seltzer by its cover … )
The Uncontested Winner: Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda
This fizzy water comes in four flavors — Clementina, Blood Orange, Limonata, and Grapefruit — and they were incredibly true to flavor. The nose on them is delicious, fruity, and bright and, upon tasting, they were subtly sweet with markedly festive fizz levels. I liked these so much that I had to try every single flavor in the variety pack. The real way that I knew Bravazzi was the winner, though? Everyone finished their cans when we were done with the official tasting business. Oh, and the cute, colorful, oh-so-Italian can design is the cherry on top.
Buy: Bravazzi Hard Italian Soda, $9.99 for six 12-ounce cans at Drizly
The Most Enticing Flavors: PRESS
As good as Bravazzi was, there were some strong runners up. I found myself going back to Press over and over again. This seltzer comes in some seriously enticing flavors like Pomegranate Ginger and Pear Chamomile, but I picked up the Lime Lemongrass. It turns out, that was exactly what it tasted like, in a clean, fresh, bright way. “This could soothe a tummy,” one tester said.
Buy: PRESS Premium Hard Seltzer, $17.99 for twelve 12-ounce cans at Drizly
The Most Refreshing: Green House
Next up was Green House, a wine-based spiked seltzer that comes in flavors like Mango Guava and Pink Grapefruit. I selected Cucumber Basil. This was straight-up like drinking cucumber and basil infused fizzy water. It was super refreshing, and so light that you could just keep sipping, and sipping, and sipping.
Buy: Green House Hard Seltzer, $7.99 for four 12-ounce cans at Total Wine
The One That Will Make You Feel Like You’re on Vacation: Crook & Marker
I have to give an honorable mention to Crook & Marker’s organic “super grain” alcohol. It’s sweetened with stevia, so it won’t be for everyone, but those who liked it really, really loved it (including that shopper with cart envy who told me that their tropical coconut was the best spiked seltzer she’d had). “I feel like I’m on the beach,” one tester said when they took a sip. This definitely channels vacation vibes.
Buy: Crook & Marker, $16.49 for eight 12-ounce cans at Drizly
Did your favorite spiked seltzer make the cut?