I Wasn't a Fan of Hard Seltzer, but Spindrift's New Spiked Seltzers Completely Changed My Mind
A few summers ago, questioning why I didn't just go for a beer after suffering through another sub-par spiked seltzer, I wrote them off for good. While non-alcoholic seltzers are a staple of my diet, I find most hard seltzers to be far too sweet and taste almost like medicine. Don't get me started on the black cherry flavors. Does anyone else get reminded of the cherry cough syrup you drank as a sick child, but watered down and carbonated?
Fast forward to March 2021. Spindrift, my all-time favorite sparkling water brand, had just announced they're making their debut into the hard seltzer market. Would I come back from my spiked seltzer retirement to try them? Absolutely. Spindrift, which launched in 2010, prides themself on being "America's first sparkling water made with just real squeezed fruit." And you really can taste the difference—Spindrift sparkling waters taste just like the fruit they're made with. No "all-natural" flavors, added sweeteners or additives to speak of. The cans contain just carbonated water, real fruit juice and, if they're spiked, alcohol from fermented cane sugar.
When my case of Spindrift Spiked arrived in the mail, I gathered a few friends to help me with a taste test. It's a tough job, I know. The first thing we noticed was the cute, minimalist can design, complete with a boldfaced message: "this one has alcohol ;)." Spindrift Spiked is currently available in four flavors—pineapple, mango, lime, and half tea & half lemon. Each can contains 82-95 calories, depending on the flavor. They're just 4% ABV (read: you can drink a few of them without getting ahead of yourself).
First up was the mango flavor, which happened to be the group favorite. The mango flavor was strong, thanks to real Alphonso mango puree. We thought it smelled like ripe peaches. It tasted fruity, fresh and juicy. The pineapple spiked seltzer, equally delicious, was just like the real fruit—nothing like the other overly-sweet pineapple flavors from other seltzer brands. We could easily picture ourselves drinking these on the beach come summertime. When we cracked the lime can, all of us had the same reaction: wow. The flavor was very natural, but also very strong. It was super refreshing, but if you're not a fan of overly-tart things, I recommend skipping this can. Last but not least, we tried the half tea & half lemon flavor—the least sweet can of the variety pack. With just 82 calories and 0 grams of sugar, it reminded us of a lighter, more carbonated Twisted Tea. Yes—that's a good thing.
Spindrift's new line of spiked seltzers are fresh, fruity and totally thirst-quenching. But the best part? They don't taste like alcohol. At all. Is it the fresh fruit flavors that overpowers the booze flavor? Us being accustomed to stronger drinks? Either way, the folks at Spindrift know what they are doing. These are perfect for those who love seltzer but like a drink that is less strong.
The only downside of Spindrift Spiked? A 12-can variety pack will set you back $25 in stores and $36 if you buy it online. For comparison, a Truly case hovers around $15. Hopefully the price will come down once they become more widely available. Right now, you can find them at stores around New England and Southern California.
Personally, Spindrift Spiked are the only spiked seltzers I'll be drinking from here on out. They're lightly carbonated, supremely refreshing—and you can barely taste the alcohol! If you're like me and are ready to swear off spiked seltzers for good, these might just change your mind.