Gin and tonic may have been the drink du jour for the last few years, but there’s a new tipple on the scene and it was the drink of 2020: hard seltzer.
Hard seltzers have been a big deal in the US for a few years now, but they’ve only just migrated their way across the pond this year. However, they’re already being hailed as the latest boozy phenomenon.
What is a hard seltzer?
Seltzer is a catchall term for sparkling or fizzy water – so a ‘hard’ seltzer is simply carbonated water mixed with alcohol and fruit flavouring. It all sounds very delectable, extremely refreshing and highly drinkable, but the real draw comes from the low alcohol and low calorie content, which plays into the rising health-driven trend for conscious and ‘sober-curious’ drinking. It’s the perfect drink for if you’ve already fallen off the Dry January bandwagon but still want to keep your alcohol consumption fairly low.
Much like the boom of flavoured gins that propelled the spirit’s recent rise in popularity, hard seltzers come in a wide variety of fruity flavours and alcohol mixes, making the options endless and their appeal vast. They also tend to come in rather chic looking cans, which never hurts and only adds to our desire to crack one open at 5pm on a Friday.
With Google searches for hard seltzer in the UK already up 67 per cent in May last year, it’s no surprise that cult American brands such as White Claw (who make up over half of US hard seltzer sales) are making their way onto British supermarket shelves, while established names like Smirnoff and Kopparberg have been quick to jump on the hard seltzer bandwagon and launch their own versions, too.
But, unlike our US counterparts, us Brits aren’t quite connoisseurs of the booze-lite tipple just yet, so here are some of the top brands to sample.
18 of the best hard seltzers to try
Another new British hard seltzer brand, Whisp’s refreshing raspberry & elderflower and cucumber & mint canned drinks are 4 per cent alcohol content and contain added milk thistle, which helps tackle inflammation and supports a healthy liver. Buy Whisp online at whispdrinks.co.uk.
Made in the UK with triple distilled Vodka and Cotswolds spring water and no artificial ingredients, High Water flavours include cucumber & mint, lemon & elderflower and mango & peach. Get it online at drinkhighwater.com.
Brewdog might be known for their craft beer, but they’ve now entered the hard seltzer game with Clean & Press. Using only exceptional quality craft vodka distilled at the Brewdog brewery, their version of the low calorie, low-alcohol drink comes in white peach & mango, blood orange & pomegranate, pineapple & coconut and black cherry. Order a mixed 12-pack from brewdog.com.
Available in three flavours of Strawberry & Rhubarb, Grapefruit and (award-winning) Raspberry & Blackcurrant, Long Shot is one of the first British hard seltzer brands, cutting through the noise of the established American brands with ingredients nearly all sourced from within 20 miles of their Hertfordshire manufacturer.
The ultimate Instagrammable tin, with three refreshing botanical flavours to choose from: Cloudy Grapefruit & Thyme, Lime & Cucumber and Raspberry, and Basil & Lime. You can shop them online at haveagoodone.co.uk.
Two Days comes in two flavours – Vodka Lime Soda & Vodka Raspberry Soda – which are both made with five-times distilled British vodka, lightly sparkling water and natural fruit extracts. It’s a lower alcohol option and only 65 calories per (exceptionally pretty) can.
The king and queen of hard seltzers after first rising to fame in the US, White Claw is available in three natural flavours of raspberry, black cherry and natural lime. Available at Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.
Something & Nothing
Made using only natural ingredients, these Cucumber, Yuzu and Hibiscus & Rose flavoured seltzers are a balanced and refreshing drink created using sparkling water infused with natural fruit flavours and botanicals, inspired by the travels and experiences of the founders. Buy it online at somethingandnothing.co.
Made from a mix of Smirnoff No.21 Premium Vodka, sparkling water and natural fruit flavours, a 250ml serving of Smirnoff Seltzer is just 72 calories. Choose from Raspberry & Rhubarb or Orange & Grapefruit and purchase from Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose.
Served’s low-calorie and lower ABV sparkling alcoholic drinks are made with an ultra-pure spirit, which is paired with British sparkling water and infused with wonky, sustainably sourced fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste. Two tasty flavours are available, raspberry and lime, and they’re just 57 calories each. Served is available exclusively in Selfridges and at serveddrinks.co.uk.
Kopparberg Hard Seltzer
Kopparberg have also got in on the hard seltzer action and have launched there bold and fruity flavours reminiscent of their bestselling fruity ciders – mixed berries, black cherry and passionfruit. Available to buy across Tesco and Morrisons.
chase’s Gin Seltzer
Crafted in the UK with award-winning Chase Distillery gin, sparkling water and natural botanical flavours, this is the world’s first gin seltzer. Launching today, flavours include Seville orange, pink grapefruit and pomelo and London Dry and lemon and at just 89 calories a can, this is a delicious health-conscious swap for a regular G&T. Purchase via the Chase Distillery website.
Marketed as ‘a hard seltzer for healthy hedonists’, Bodega Bay is just 73 calories a can. With three flavours to choose from – apple, ginger & açai berry, elderflower, lemon & mint or cherry, mango & goji berry – pick up one of these classy looking cans at your local Morrsions or online on Amazon.
Mike’s Hard Seltzer
Mike’s canned mixes of water, alcohol and bubbles are infused with a hint of natural lemon, lime or black cherry for a refreshingly light beverage. Get yours at Tesco and Morrisons stores across the country.
Drty Hard Seltzer
Drty Hard Seltzer’s are not just sugar- and sweetener-free, they’re also one of the few low carb seltzers on the UK market. Personally, we just love the chic cans and the even chicer flavours – raspberry rosé and white citrus. Delicious. Available at Whole Foods, Amazon and Ocado.
An Aldi own-brand invention, Nordic Wolf is the supermarket’s first ever hard seltzer. The canned tipple comes in four delicious flavours including juicy lemon, tangy strawberry & lime, sweet yet sour cranberry & cherry and refreshing raspberry & blackcurrant. Available only in Aldi stores.
Topo Chico Hard Seltzer
Newly launched by Coca-Cola (and marking the brand’s first move into the alcohol market in Europe), Topo Chico is the Mexican sparkling mineral water brand that’s long been favoured by mixologists worldwide. Now, Topo Chico Hard Setzer adds alcohol to the mix, with three flavours: Tangy Lemon Lime, Tropical Mango and Cherry Acai. Available from Ocado and yourcocacola.co.uk.