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This story originally appeared on foodandwine.com by Bridget Hallinan.
Over the past few years, spiked seltzer has quickly established itself as a summer staple—you’ve probably seen 12-packs chilling in the cooler at your friend’s barbecue, or stocked in the fridge at their beach house. And while you may be tempted to dismiss it as cloyingly sweet (after all, flavors like lime, grapefruit, and berry are fairly common), we’ve found several that are light, bubbly, and just fruity enough to be refreshing. Plus, they’re usually low(er) ABV at around 4.5 to 5 percent, and err on the side of low-cal. With such a broad market heading into this summer—there are Nationwide distributors like White Claw, as well as local brands like Vive Hard Seltzer, produced by Braxton Brewing Company in Covington, Kentucky—we decided a taste test was in order. You know, for science.
After sending requests for samples, we ultimately ended up with six different spiked seltzer brands and over 30 flavors. Mango was especially common between brands, as was lime and black cherry; however, there were also some wild card flavors, like prickly pear and melon basil. We diligently tried them all (well, as many as we could reasonably drink during a work day) and noted our favorites—read on to find out which spiked seltzer brands and flavors we’ll definitely be drinking this summer.
Flavor of choice: Melon Basil
“Not sweet at all, incredibly refreshing. Would love to drink this on a hot day. The basil is a great and unique touch.”
“I’m obsessed with Cucumber Peach and Melon Basil. Slightly sweet, actually tastes like the flavor it's supposed to be.”
Runner-up: Cucumber Peach
“Sweeter, a little tart—great.”
“Interesting and refreshing.”
*Bonus for sleek can design, which would definitely catch our eye and make us want to buy it at the store.
Flavor of choice: Piña Colada
“Really does taste like coconut! I’m shocked.”
“Not too sweet, definitely reminds me of the cocktail. Almost has a toasted coconut flavor.”
Runner-up: White Peach Rosé
“Not that sweet, light hints of peach. Easy to drink.”
Flavor of choice: Ruby Grapefruit
“Now I get why people love this stuff.”
“The Ruby Grapefruit is such a treat. Slightly bitter, lovely crispness, hint of sweet. Love.”
“Sharp, not too sweet.”
Runner-up: Black Cherry
“Nice flavor, not too sweet. Would definitely enjoy a few of these—flavor almost seems like it could be found in nature.”
“Fruity but good."
Flavor of choice: Prickly Pear
“Not too sweet, easy to drink.”
“Vaguely fruity, pleasant, and refreshing.”
Runner-up: Pear Elderflower
“Unique flavor, pear-forward but good.”
Flavor of choice: Grapefruit
“Flavor is close to Fresca.”
“Not too sweet, slightly tart. Would drink again.”
Availability: Select markets in Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee
Flavor of choice: Mango
“Fruity, very mango-y.”
“Easy to drink."
This article originally appeared on foodandwine.com