Looking for something refreshing, bubbly and not too sweet? Oh, and alcoholic? We've got just the thing: hard seltzer. Yes, your boozy LaCroix dreams have come true.
In 2013, SpikedSeltzer, er, bubbled up onto the scene, and several imitators have since followed suit, each with an array of fruity flavors (like lime, grapefruit and black cherry) and fun perks, like alcohol content comparable to beer (4.5 to 6 percent) but with less sugar and fewer calories and carbs. Which means, of course, milder hangovers.
But are these drinks any good? We had four people blind-taste various hard citrus seltzers to determine which combination of bubble strength, sweetness, fruitiness and booziness yielded the most balancing, pleasing drink. Here’s the verdict.
This malt beverage from Wachusett Brewing Company had more of an “artificial" taste than the others, with a stronger alcoholic kick if that's what you're going for. Nauti was the mildest in terms of carbonation, scoring low on the bubble-strength scale; additionally, it left our mouths with what felt like a sugary film.
Truly Spiked & Sparkling, produced by Boston Beer Company, Samuel Adams’ and Angry Orchard’s parent brewer, proved polarizing among the bunch; those in favor thought it tasted the least sugary and the most like traditional seltzer, thus crowning it as one reviewer’s favorite. Others noted an interesting smell about the can that divided the group.
SpikedSeltzer from Anheuser-Busch offered the strongest, least subtle fruit notes of the five we tested. A few said they enjoyed the “bold flavor,” describing its taste as “water with lime—in a good way.”
Made by Mark Anthony Group, whose portfolio includes Mike’s Hard Lemonade, White Claw was one reviewer’s favorite and several people’s number two. Sweet, with a slightly tart aftertaste and average bubble strength, it tasted, according to one reviewer, “almost like juice.”
Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Water took top place, described as “balanced” with a “slight alcoholic aftertaste.” Although the drink scored low on bubble strength, its flavor proved lightly fruity and not too sweet, making it a crowd-pleaser for the majority of the group.
During In Good Spirits month, we're going behind the bar to find out what separates aperitifs from digestifs, which It cocktails the world's top bartenders crave and how to turn your home into the hottest speakeasy in town.
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