Best Hard Seltzer: Party Down with the 7 Best Tasting Hard Seltzer Brands

Looking for the best hard seltzer? We tried many, many, many cans (over 60) and we can confidently say these are the best seven to buy—both single flavors and mixed cases. The best tasting hard seltzer is just a scroll away. 

The best hard seltzer is hard to define because, after tasting through over 60 different cans of hard seltzer, I am more confused than ever as to what people are looking for in the category. What is hard seltzer? While some of the hard seltzer brands I tasted were essentially canned Vodka Sodas, others were straight-up flavor-blasted malt beverages. How is something that tastes like carbonated Dimetapp a hard seltzer? I can assure you, it didn’t make our list. Technically speaking, hard seltzer (or “mature seltzer,” according to Wikipedia) is simply a drink made with sparkling water, booze, and optional fruit flavoring that typically comes in around 5% ABV. 

That’s pretty vague. 

So, here’s what I looked for: A drink that tasted more like seltzer than juice or soda, pleasant flavor (it didn’t have to taste totally natural, but it did have to taste good), no prominent alcohol flavor, and a little something extra—an exotic flavor, nice packaging—certainly didn’t hurt. Here are the best hard seltzer brands to buy right now.

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best hard seltzer

Best of the Best

Spindrift Spiked

I love Spindrift’s non-alcoholic seltzers, so I had high expectations for this mix of Mango, Pineapple, Lime and Half & Half (the brand’s take on an Arnold Palmer). And, oh boy, Spindrift more than lived up to my hopes and dreams. Just like the original Spindrifts, these alcoholic versions are made with real fruit juice and no added sugar, so all you taste is that vibrant hit of real fruit flavor. The Mango is gentle and tropical. The Pineapple is zesty. The Lime is very tart and crisp (though, probably the least impressive of the bunch). And the Half & Half is genuinely the best hard seltzer I’ve ever tasted. “It’s the biggest format buster,” managing editor Gwynedd Stuart commented. “They did something interesting. I am so impressed.” I need everyone to drop what they’re doing and try these spiked seltzers right now.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

10/10

Sporks

best fruit flavor hard seltzer

Best Real Fruit Flavor

High Noon Sun Sips

If you like Vodka Sodas, this is the best hard seltzer for you. It tastes exactly like a blend of vodka and good flavored seltzer water. It’s just that easy to make a decent drink. (And yet so many fail! Why am I so angry about this?) The Pineapple, in particular, is, as Gwynedd put it, “so delightful.” It’s not too sweet and has a lovely, roasted pineapple flavor. The Grapefruit made a grapefruit convert out of Gwynedd. “This is the best iteration of that flavor,” she said. The Black Cherry actually has some tartness—something many black cherry flavored drinks lack. Even the Watermelon is good—it doesn’t just taste like a Jolly Rancher. It tastes like actual watermelon with a spritz of lime. Good job, High Noon!

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

9.5/10

Sporks

best hard selzter costco

Best Budget

Kirkland Signature Variety Pack

If you like the flavor of White Claw, save your money and just buy Costco’s hard seltzers instead. They taste like a mainstream, name brand hard seltzer but they’re cheaper. Essentially, they taste like spiked La Croix seltzers. The Grapefruit tastes like LaCroix Pamplemousse. The Lime tastes faintly of Lime Jell-O (a good Jell-O flavor). The Mango is refreshing. The Black Cherry is the best of all—it actually tastes like real cherry. This is the best hard seltzer if you’re stocking a giant cooler for a beach trip or a party. It’s cheap and it’s tasty.

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

9/10

Sporks

best white claw flavor

Best White Claw

White Claw Mango

Yes, this is the only White Claw flavor on here because it is the best White Claw flavor. While the others are fine and totally inoffensive, Mango is actually worth recommending. If you’re a White Claw Strawberry stan, I’m not going to change your mind. You like what you like. But if you’re coming into this taste test with an open mind and are genuinely looking for suggestions, then I can earnestly say that White Claw Mango is good. It tastes like a beach vacation, refreshing and crisp.

Credit: Liv Averett / Walmart

Rating:

8.5/10

Sporks

best hard seltzer not sweet

Best Not Sweet

Happy Dad Hard Seltzer

Do you feel emasculated when you drink hard seltzer? Then buy Happy Dad Hard Seltzer. Upon first glance, the cans look like run-of-the-mill beer cans. Look very closely, though, and you’ll see the words “hard seltzer” written very small. Happy Dad also contains electrolytes. So, I guess it’s the best hard seltzer to drink after a workout. It’s also a good hard seltzer brand for people who like their drinks on the tart side. The Lemon Lime has that good fake lime flavor and it is actually tart and tangy—you can’t say that for a lot of hard seltzers. The pineapple also has nice acidity. Even the Watermelon—though it certainly has that Jolly Rancher essence—finishes with a limey bite. 

Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart

Rating:

8/10

Sporks

best hard seltzer

Best Maybe Good for You

 Vizzy Hard Seltzer Variety Pack #1

I give Vizzy an A+ for packaging. I love the colors, I love the pop-art fruit, I love it. Vizzy hard seltzers also contain antioxidants—so it’s the best hard seltzer to drink during cold and flu season. (Please don’t only use hard seltzer to protect yourself from illness. Please get a flu shot.) But what about the flavor? It’s definitely a hard seltzer brand for people who want more flavor in their drink. These fall on the fruitier side of the hard seltzer spectrum. Out of the variety pack, Pineapple Mango was my personal favorite. It has a wonderfully tropical flavor and made me wish I was laying on a beach—or, in my case, hiding under a full-coverage umbrella with a giant hat and sunglasses and probably a coverup…on a beach.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

best hard seltzer

Best Widely Available

Bud Light Seltzer Classic Variety Pack

If you’re in a grocery store or convenience store that doesn’t have a wide variety of hard seltzers, they’ll still probably stock this one along with a few other big brands. Pick this one. The wide range of flavors (Black Cherry, Cranberry, Strawberry, Mango, Grapefruit, and Pineapple) means there’s something for everyone. And there’s nothing to complain about. It’s a fizzy beverage with a kiss of flavor. Most of them taste like watered down versions of New York Soda Company sodas—and that’s not bad at all. My pick was the Cranberry, which brought me back to my days of ordering a Vodka Soda splash of cran as a newly legal drinker.

Credit: Liv Averett / Target

Rating:

7.5/10

Sporks

White Claw Mango

Rhett & Link agree with us that White Claw’s Mango flavor is king (when it comes to White Claw, at least). “It’s the most effervescent,” Link said. “I can almost see it sparkling,” Rhett agreed. “Your eyes are sparkling after you drink it.” The duo also appreciated the design of the can and came to the realization in real time that a “white claw” is a wave. You know who else just realized that? Me!

Other hard seltzer brands we tasted: Mike’s Hard Seltzer, Ashland, Ranch Water, Bang Mixx, Corona, Flying Embers, Topo Chico, Truly 


About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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