What started as a trend has proven to be anything but fleeting. Gone are the days of “Ain’t no laws when you’re drinking Claws” viral videos, and yet you’d be hard-pressed to stop by a house party that doesn’t have a well-stocked cooler of hard seltzers. Today, White Claw is sharing the well-earned spotlight with a slew of brands, from Truly to the vodka-based High Noon to local favorites from neighborhood breweries.
Today’s market is so crowded that even the most avid sippers of all things light, fizzy, and boozy can easily feel overwhelmed in grocery and liquor store aisles. With new brands entering the market on what seems like a daily basis, we polled industry insiders and everyday seltzer enthusiasts alike for their takes on the best seltzer of the moment. While plenty chose from small brands, it’s clear that the era of the Claw is far from being behind us.
Here are the best seltzers of the moment, according to self-proclaimed connoisseurs.
The Best Hard Seltzers, According to Seltzer-Lovers
- Brewability Lab Champagne Seltzer
- Island District Guava Lime
- Triple Eight Distillery Nantucket Blue
- Matchbook Distilling Riley Watermelon
- Bronx Brewery Side Hustle Hard Seltzer
- Green Bench Brewing Paloma
- White Claw Orange & Lemon
- Truly Pineapple & Passionfruit
- Wild Basin Cucumber Peach & Melon Basil
- Cellador Tepache Seltzer
- High Noon Grapefruit
- Ficks Grapefruit
- Madre Desert Water
“We actually make an amazing Champagne seltzer brewed with Champagne yeast. It is pretty neutral and light, so it can take on other flavors easily. We mix it with locally made Sweet Action sorbet flavors to create a frozen Mimosa! We also blend it with fresh or frozen fruit in our slushie machine! It makes for a delightfully refreshing summer treat on the patio!” —Tiffany Fixter, owner and operator, Brewability Lab, Englewood, Colo.
“Currently drinking the Guava Lime Island District, a vodka-based coconut water brand. They are super packed with flavor and not highly carbonated, so it tastes like more of a cocktail. Plus, they’re packed with good electrolytes which help prevent hangovers. I’m obsessed with these — and it doesn’t hurt that the company is women-owned. The branding is cute as f*ck, and how could you not drink a can that sports ‘better tomorrows’ around the lid? Yum yum.” —Brienne Allan, co-founder, Brave Noise
“Nantucket Blue is the supreme canned seltzer option. It’s a little tart, super flavorful, and also low- ABV. To me, this is the ultimate hanging-all-day-with-your-friends-in-the-sun bev.” —Jake Cornell, comedian and podcast host, “Going Out With Jake Cornell”
“My favorite hard seltzer is Matchbook Distilling‘s Riley Watermelon, a sparkling watermelon eau de vie made with distilled watermelon juice. It’s 4 percent ABV with zero sugar and has a delicious light watermelon taste. I love that it’s not made with extracts or artificial flavors and is great over ice or mixed with juice or into a cocktail!” —Tara Hankinson, co-founder, Talea Beer Co.
“I actually have two seltzers that have a permanent residence in my fridge. The first one is Side Hustle Hard Seltzer by the Bronx Brewery. It’s got grapefruit and lime and helps me feel fine! I enjoy it because the flavor profile is bright, light, and delivers a 7 percent punch that you can barely tell exists. Another one I really love is Paloma Hard Seltzer by Green Bench Brewing. This one is 4.5 percent ABV and also includes agave. It has a nice and soft taste of grapefruit and is super easy to drink!” —Latiesha Cook, CEO, co-founder, and president, Beer Kulture
“White Claws have always reigned supreme in my book. Their crisp taste, high carbonation, and flavors are what keep me coming back. Unlike other hard seltzers, White Claws are consistent at 100 calories and 5 percent alcohol.” —Julia Winer, self-proclaimed White Claw-nnoisseur, NYC
“I am a hardcore seltzer lover. There are a few ways to enjoy them and make them a little more fun than just drinking them out of the can: They can top your Aperol spritz, or you can add a shot to the can to make it a little-higher ABV. Want a killer white wine spritzer? Just add a hard seltzer! But as I’ve gone through most of the flavors, four are my all-time faves: White Claw Orange, White Claw Lemon, Truly Pineapple, and Truly Passionfruit.” —Christine Wiseman, beverage director, Bar Lab, Miami
“Whenever I see Wild Basin on the shelf, that is the hard seltzer I’ll reach for. I especially like the Cucumber Peach and Melon Basil flavors because they are more complex than your typical seltzer. I think Wild Basin walks a line between a cocktail and a classic seltzer; I usually think of hard seltzer as a boozy sparkling water, but the flavor of fresh herbs or the distinct note of cucumber skin makes these more interesting to sip on. They’re still definitely light and easy to drink by the pool or on the rooftop.” —Mandy Naglich, certified cicerone & homebrewer, NYC
“Most hard seltzers I’ve had are way too sweet. My preference is tart any day of the week. Cellador has created a Farmhouse Seltzer that is similar to an alcoholic tepache. With pineapple and cinnamon, this extremely well-balanced hard seltzer is fermented in the brewery’s house cultures in oak barrels and then is naturally conditioned with local orange blossom honey.” —Ash Eliot, co-founder, Brave Noise, founder, Women of the Bevolution
“I’ll never sleep on an opportunity to enjoy Ficks hard seltzer. Made with real fruit juice, this brand has consistently shone brighter than its competitors when I’ve tasted seltzers for various VinePair articles and roundups. The only downside is that I don’t believe they currently have national distribution. So if I’m looking for something that’s easy to get a hold of and is consistently available, I’ll turn to High Noon. In both cases, Grapefruit is my flavor of choice.” —Tim McKirdy, senior staff writer, VinePair, NYC
“High Noons are made with real vodka and real fruit. Unlike many other seltzers, they are not malt-based. High Noons also have the cleanest taste out of all the other hard seltzers on the market. Because they taste like sparkling water with a hint of fruit, they are too easy to drink!” —Jimmy Freel, High Noon hype-man, NYC
“Sheesh, it’s seltzer season! I’m for sure stocking my fridge with Madre Desert Water. The mushroom, sage, and honey flavor is wild; earthy and aromatic and the honey just teases sweetness. But my favorite is the classic. It tastes like you took a swig out of a Vintage seltzer can and topped it off with mezcal and a squeeze of lime. Weighing in at 5 percent ABV, it’s the perfect summer patio pounder.” —Izzy Tulloch, beverage director, Hi Hi Room; bartender, Clover Club