White Claw Tequila Smash Vs Truly Lime Tequila Soda: Which Canned Cocktail Is Best?

Hard seltzers and tequila are popular in the alcohol market. Thus far in 2024, according to Statista, revenue of hard seltzers in places like supermarkets and convenience stores is up to $11.4 billion. In 2023, the sales of tequila met a record high, with more than 31.5 million cases sold.

Two of the most popular hard seltzer brands, White Claw and Truly, have met the demand for both seltzers and tequila with canned tequila-based cocktails. Truly's Tequila Soda Mix Pack has four flavors — lime, grapefruit, pineapple guava, and watermelon — all with 5% ABV, 110 calories, and 2 grams of sugar. White Claw Tequila Smash also comes in four flavors — strawberry guava, mango tamarind, pineapple passionfruit, and lime prickly pear — also with 5% ABV, 100 calories, and no added sugar. The two brands are always steep in competition with one another, with people ping-ponging back and forth between White Claw and Truly at local bars on nights out. 

With the brands so close in competition and the ongoing popularity of tequila hard seltzers, I tried White Claw Tequila Smash side by side with Truly Tequila Soda to determine which brand created the best tequila-based canned cocktail. These determinations were based on the balance of flavors in each drink, which was tasted straight from the can. These products were received via PR samples.

Pricing and Availability

Both the White Claw Tequila Smash and Truly Tequila Soda are sold in packs of eight, with two of each flavor in each pack. Truly's Tequila Soda is also sold in four packs of either the lime or the pineapple guava flavors. The product, which is sold in liquor stores nationwide, has a suggested retail price of up to $19.99 for the eight-pack and up to $11.99 for the four-pack, with prices varying based on your location.

White Claw's tequila product is available in Kroger, 7-Eleven, and Target. On par with Truly's pricing, White Claw Tequila Smash has a suggested retail price of up to $18.99 for the eight-pack. These price points are up to speed with the rest of the canned tequila cocktail industry, with brands like High Noon and Cutwater retailing their canned tequila-based drinks at around $14 for a four-pack and close to $20 for an eight-pack. Truly and White Claw sit in the middle of those price points, a balance that might benefit both brands.

Truly lime versus White Claw lime prickly pear

Lime is both a risk and a reward to have in a drink, as its sour, tart taste can overwhelm the other flavors in a cocktail, but its refreshing feeling can bring a much-needed cool down on a warm day. White Claw's lime flavor is poignant in its aroma but not intrusive in its flavor profile. The combination of both lime and prickly pear adds complexity to the drink, which tastes like a margarita with less of a bite of alcohol. It is sour and zesty, with a ripe finish that stays fresh so long as it's carbonated. Once this White Claw releases its fizz, it also loses its balance.

The lime Truly is just as refreshing, and lighter on the sweet flavor. The Truly is much more carbonated than the White Claw, striking the perfect level of bubbly to keep the drink fun while the lime flavor keeps it tart. I think Truly's lime flavor is a good drink for summer, one that will cool you down without making you feel too tipsy. If you're not a fan of carbonation in your seltzers, though, White Claw Tequila Smash in the lime flavor is probably going to be more your speed.

Truly pineapple guava versus White Claw pineapple passionfruit

Truly's pineapple guava flavor is a sweet can of two fruity flavors that blend completely together. Neither flavor prevails. Truly's pineapple guava reminds me of Juicy Fruit gum, with a tropical taste that is good for warm days or for when you want a drink that will make you feel like you're on vacation. It needs to be consumed ice cold; as it warms, it becomes a bit too tacky in the mouth.

The mash-up essence of Truly is comparable to White Claw's pineapple passionfruit, a can in which both flavors combine to create a rounded summer fruit flavor. However, there is a touch more distinction than Truly in that White Claw's canned drink has a slight smokiness behind the fruity flavors, likely due to the grilled pineapple the brand claims is the core of this flavor. It induces the feeling of heat, which makes the can even more refreshing when it's refrigerated.

The pineapple is the only thing that stands out from either can, which means both Truly and White Claw lean toward indecipherable fruity notes. This demonstrates an impressive balance, although they're not necessarily faithful to the promised flavors. With that said, I favor White Claw's pineapple passionfruit over Truly's pineapple guava, as Truly's is too far on the sweet side, more akin to a stick of gum than a refreshing cocktail.

Truly watermelon versus White Claw strawberry guava

White Claw's strawberry guava flavor is aromatic and wafts dominantly strawberry, in immediate contrast with the strength of the aroma of Truly's watermelon cocktail, which does not have a strong smell. Watermelon can be an overwhelmingly sweet flavor but it Truly overcomes this stereotype with a drink that is fruity without too much saccharinity. Truly's canned watermelon drink tastes very simply like watermelon, so it does well to live up to its name.

In comparison, the added flavor of guava, which sometimes can taste floral and pearlike, doesn't hold up well in the White Claw Tequila Smash. I imagine it's supposed to work to minimize the strawberry taste, but it does so to no avail, still leaving a very sweet cocktail with a dominance of strawberry. Still, neither the guava nor the strawberry flavor lasts too long in the mouth, and there weren't any lingering tastes of alcohol either, so you may need more than one White Claw can to have an everlasting flavor profile on your tongue. This wouldn't be the case with Truly — the watermelon flavor is one that sticks around even after just one can.

Truly grapefruit versus White Claw mango tamarind

The goal of White Claw mango tamarind is to combine a commonly tart fruit with one that's sugary sweet, allowing a drink that borders on tasting spiced and sour, or at least more than the other three White Claw flavors. Notes of spice are more prevalent in the aroma than the drink itself, but the mango tamarind flavor from White Claw does mimic its scent; the tamarind leans savory while the mango comes in for bits of sweetness on the finish — at least until the fizz wears out. Still, this can is good for anyone who doesn't like an overly sweet tequila-based drink.

Similarly, when you pop open a can of Truly grapefruit, there is an extremely strong fruity smell, yet it finishes with the typical aroma of tequila — fresh and vegetable-like, with just ever so citrus. The taste that follows the scent is really pleasant when you first sip it; not distinctly as sour as grapefruit, but quite fruity, which makes it fun and refreshing. The sweetness of the aroma is mimicked in the taste, so this canned cocktail might get too overwhelming if you drink multiple, but this flavor of Truly is perfect for getting the night started.

The verdict: Which brand makes the best canned tequila cocktail?

Choosing between White Claw Tequila Smash and Truly Tequila Soda is difficult. White Claw's lime prickly pear and pineapple passionfruit flavors are refreshing; the strawberry guava is overwhelmingly sweet. The same goes for But Truly's pineapple guava, which is too sugary. Yet Truly's lime flavor balances sweetness and carbonation while its watermelon flavor meets your exact expectations. Based on the fizz levels, the overall sweetness of each can, and which brand tastes good as it gets warm, Truly Tequila Soda takes it.

White Claw's Tequila Smash doesn't fall behind by much — there are refreshing flavors worth trying in its offerings. Its main downfall is that the flavors are too effervescent on the tongue; maybe it's a strategy to make you crave multiple drinks, but it doesn't make the profile memorable. If you want something a little more flat, there's a can of White Claw Tequila Smash for you.

Truly is carbonated at the right amount to keep each can fun; its flavors are simple enough to appeal to any preferences at your next gathering. For a refreshing drink to cool you down, go for the lime flavor. For a sweet flavor to hide the tequila, buy a can of pineapple guava. If you want a straightforward drink that tastes as it's labeled, try the watermelon flavor. And if you want a canned rendition of a Paloma to get your night started, the grapefruit flavor is the one to choose.