If someone told you there was an alcoholic drink that was low in calories, might not give you a hangover, was affordable AND delicious, you’d have a hard time believing them, right? Well, ladies and gents, allow us to introduce… hard seltzers.
Now, seltzers aren’t a particularly new thing; no doubt we’ve all had a sip of a tasty, refreshing beverage made of sparkling water and natural flavourings. It was only a matter of time, though, before some genius devised the idea of adding alcohol to it.
Our top three favourites have to be White Claw Mango, Mike's Hard Seltzer Lime and Bodega Bay Hard Selzer Apple with Ginger and Acai Berry.
What are hard seltzers?
Hard seltzers are carbonated water with alcohol and natural flavouring mixed in. It’s as simple as that. Typically fermented with sugar instead of malted barley, they’re low in sugar and carbohydrates, meaning their calorie count is minimal. Bonus.
Containing 4-6% ABV and at under 100 calories per can, seltzers have become the drink of the summer and other seasons too for, well, everyone (it seems) in the US.
Led by brands like White Claw, Pura, and Truly in the US, hard seltzers hit the big time due to their portability, flavour and a little thing called the internet. A whole culture around hard seltzers came about, with parody videos and memes giving it true viral status. Popular brand White Claw even has Etsy merchandise carrying one of its fan-made mottos.
According to The Guardian, there has been a 210% increase in sales of alcoholic sparkling water compared to 2018, with White Claw’s sales surging 320%, too. Type in ‘White Claw’ on Twitter and you have seen news of shortages all over the US - this stuff is hella popular.
Can you buy White Claw in the UK?
Hell. Yeah. White Claw made its way across to the UK in June 2020 and is now available to buy from Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and on Amazon. Find out more below.
Check out: the best hard seltzers UK
Buy hard seltzers UK
1. White Claw Hard Seltzer
Hard seltzer fans, get excited! White Claw is available to buy in the UK. Available from Amazon, Tesco, Sainsbury's and Morrisons now, choose from Black Cherry, Raspberry, Natural Lime and the brand new flavour, Mango. It's no wonder this drink achieved cult status. It really up there as the best of the best.Don't miss out on the brand new Variety Box, containing eight cans, two in every flavour, they will be available to pick up in supermarkets from 4 June, priced at only £15 RRP.
2. DRTY Hard Seltzer, Case of 12
The perfect pre-drink partner, this Raspberry Rosé hard seltzer from DRTY is sweet, fruity and totally refreshing. Love vodka soda? Opt for the White Citrus instead. Zingy and zesty, it's like summer in a can.
3. Mike's Hard Seltzer (24 pack)
The fruit flavour really comes out with Mike's Hard Seltzer. Opt for Black Cherry, Lemon, Lime or a mix of all three from Mike's. These rank high on our list for drinkability.
4. Fountain Hard Seltzer Mango & Passion Fruit Mixed Pack
5. Bodega Bay Hard Seltzer Elderflower with Lemon and Mint (12 pack)
Refreshingly flavoured with Elderflower, Lemon and Mint or Apple, Ginger and Acai, each can of Bodega Bay contains just 73 calories and is 4% ABV. It's also vegan and gluten-free.
6. Berczy Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Berczy (formerly known as NATRL) is a true taste of summer. They're perfect for cocktails, or on their own. You can try Lemon & Lime, Peach & Raspberry (which we adored), or venture out with its brand new flavour, Passionfruit & Turmeric.
7. High Water Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Refreshing taste, cool branding and sound ethics - High Water has pretty much everything you can ask for from an end-of-the-day drink. We particularly rate the lemon and elderflower flavour and forgo the tinnie for a glass with ice and a slice.
8. Served Hard Seltzer (6 pack)
Served Hard Seltzers are not only a flavour sensation, but they're only 57 calories a can - that's a double win in our books. The fruit flavours come through so well in these drinks and they're SO very moreish. You wouldn't believe there's absolutely no sugar in these because the balance of flavour is so perfect. 10/10.
9. Long Shot Drinks Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Long Shot Drinks definitely gets our award for the most natural tasting. The flavours of the fruit really come through and they have a real small-batch vibe. Delish.
10. 58Gin Hard Seltzer, Pink Grapefruit (12 pack)
From 58 London Dry Gin comes two delicious flavours of hard seltzer, the first being Pink Grapefruit, which is refreshing, easy to drink but not too sweet. Next, we have Raspberry, which actually tastes like it contains real fruit - you can tell there's nothing artificial here.
11. CleanRum & Cola 0.5% (12 pack)
If gin's not your fave, you'll be pleased to know that CleanRum and Cola is also available. CleanCo's take on a Cuba Libre brings together the sweet caramel notes and cayenne pepper spice of Clean R, with delicious cola for a mixed drink that is only 0.5% vol, yet rich in flavour.
12. Sparkl Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Peach and Rose is a floral delight, while Lemon, Ginger and Chilli is a zesty, unique combination from Sparkl. Drinking from a glass bottle really does make a difference in making them feel special.
13. Two Brooks Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Two Brooks has brought their A-game to the market, with the divine Passion Star, Mango Hi-ball and Lime Cooler. These flavour combos are definitely memorable.
14. TWIST Hard Seltzer
TWIST's Hard Seltzer offering is so popular, that it sold out on the Selfridges website within the first 24 hours of it being live. It's the first hard seltzer in the world in an aluminium bottle, used for its sustainability. The Pineapple flavouring may sound unusual, but it's incredibly refreshing. Natural and fresh, it's 5% ABV and 60 calories per bottle.
15. Kopparberg Hard Seltzer (4 pack)
With flavours like Mixed Berries, Passion Fruit and Black Cherry you know it's a flavour explosion. Kopparberg's hard seltzers contain 93 calories per can and are available from Tesco and Morrisons. If you love the cider, you'll enjoy these, although they may be too sweet for some.
16. Barefoot Wine Seltzer Strawberry & Guava
Barefoot Wine Seltzers are a little sweeter than a typical hard seltzer, providing some much-needed refreshment on a warm summer day. With just 70 calories per can, choose from Strawberry and Guava and Pineapple and Passionfruit.
17. Topo Chico Hard Seltzer (6 pack)
Topo Chico, from Coca Cola, is so widely available it'll easily become a staple in your weekly shop. From Sainsbury's to Tesco to Ocado, this refreshing serve (without ANY of the bitter alcohol after taste) is exactly what you'll want on a hot day and, if you ask us, it's quite the bargain, too.
18. Lilo White Grape & Elderflower Hard Seltzer
Whether you're looking for low calories or low alcohol content, Lilo's got you covered. The hard seltzer is refreshing and light, ideal for any season. We also love that it's gluten-free and vegan.
Where can you buy hard seltzers in the UK?
Bodega Bay, which you might have spotted at Kendall Calling and Bluedot Festival, was one of the first brands to go mainstream in the UK. Choose from Apple, Ginger, and Acai or Elderflower, Lemon, and Mint; it sounds like a wellness guru’s dream.
The daddy of all seltzers, the brand that started the hype, White Claw is now available to buy in the UK. Choose from Black Cherry, Raspberry, and Natural Lime - available from Amazon, Tesco, Sainsbury's, and Morrisons now. The hype is real - they're that good.
Mike’s Hard Seltzer aims to be the drink of choice for those looking for an active lifestyle, gym-goers, or just those who want to have a fun night but still make their 9am meeting. It's available in three tantalising flavours: Lemon, Lime, and Black Cherry. You can also shop for them at Morrisons and Tesco.
Kopparberg has taken the delicious fruitiness of its cider and infused it with sparkling water and alcohol for its hard seltzer. Available in Mixed Berries, Passion Fruit (a BIG favourite of ours), and Black Cherry. Get yours from Tesco and Morrisons now.
Also created by alcohol giants, Kopparberg, Balans slid into the DMs of supermarket mogul ASDA and have been on shelves since mid-2019. At under £2 for a can of lime aqua goodness, you can't go wrong. These are perfect for those who don't like too much sweetness in their drinks.
Served Hard Seltzer is a must-try for hard seltzer fans. It's infused with fresh wonky fruit (which we love), natural spring water, and ultra-pure, four-times distilled, ServedPure™ gluten-free spirit. No sugar, no carbs, no sweeteners, no-nonsense, and an utterly delicious taste in Raspberry or Lime. Head to the website to buy.
Smirnoff is well known for its vodka, so it only made sense that it would jump into creating some refreshing seltzers. Available from Sainsbury’s and Tesco, and Waitrose, its two mouth-watering flavours, Orange & Grapefruit and Raspberry & Rhubarb come in at 4.7% ABV and each can is 72 calories.
DRTY drinks entered the game with a super-refreshing, very moreish offering. They're 4% ABV, zero carbs, and come in white citrus and raspberry rosè flavour. Get yours in a pack of six or 12 from the website or Amazon. YUM!
With glass bottles and some seriously interesting flavour combinations, Sparkl feels like a real grown-up drink. They're available in cases of 12, are 4% ABV and there are just 80 calories per serving. They're low carb, gluten-free and vegan-friendly and come in two flavour combos - Peach and Rose or Lemon, Ginger and Chilli. Head to the website to buy.
Founded by siblings Francesca and Fabio, Two Brooks is a newly established London-based independent alcohol brand. Passion Star and Mango Hi-ball are particularly enjoyable flavourings, setting them aside from some other brands in the market, and the Lime Cooler is refreshing and zingy. Head to the website to buy.
Created by three friends who sampled the delights of hard seltzer while travelling in Canada, Berczy (formerly known as NATRL) comes in three delectable flavours; Lemon & Lime, Peach & Raspberry and Passionfruit & Turmeric. For every can of Berczy you buy, the company gives 5% of its profits to causes that help the planet, like ocean clean-ups and reforestation programmes. Head to the website to buy.
Long Shot Drinks' flavour combinations are seriously good. You can choose from Grapefruit, Raspberry & Blackcurrant and Strawberry and Rhubarb. Fruity and delicious, they almost have a home-brewed quality to them, ringing true with the brand's stance on all-natural flavourings. The can's textured outer makes it oddly satisfying to hold, too. Head to the website to buy.
Lilo's hard seltzer originated in Brighton and is crafted in Glasgow, available in two different flavours - cranberry & rosehip and whitegrape & elderflower. These hard seltzers are brilliantly refreshing and lightweight.
Gerry's was born in New Zealand but is made in the UK, and its delicious hard seltzers blend real fruit flavours, sparkling spring water, and premium quality spirits. Fuelled by Kiwi energy, the brand is all about having good times and not sweating the small stuff. Each can is 5% ABV, between 99 and 102 calories per can, and is 100% vegan and gluten-free. The brand easily has one of the most diverse product offerings on the market - choose from vodka seltzer (Watermelon + Mint and Passionfruit + Lime), gin seltzer (Strawberry + Kiwi and Cucumber + Lemon), or rum seltzer (Apple + Lime and Pineapple + Coconut).
Whisp Drinks is a British brand, created by founder Harriet Cuming. Made from naturally and sustainably sourced British ingredients, they're 100% vegan and gluten-free, with no added sugar, sweeteners, or preservatives - plus, the packaging is plastic-free and 100% recyclable. At less than 66 calories per can and a hangover-free 4%, Whisp drinks also contain added milk thistle – the detox hero – helping to tackle inflammation and supporting a healthy liver. Choose from Cucumber & Mint and Raspberry & Elderflower and head to the website to buy.
Created by MIC's very own Spencer Matthews, CleanCo was designed for those who are seeking clean, low-alcohol substitutes to suit their healthy lifestyle. It offers consumers a range of delicious, full-flavoured cocktails with a fraction of the calories and alcohol - but 100% of the flavour. Its collection so far includes some of the nation's favourite spirits - gin and rum - which you can enjoy with zero hangovers and reduced sugar.
Wine brand Barefoot didn't want to miss out on the fun but has changed the game a little bit with WINE seltzers. Perfect for wine lovers who don't want the hangover, these fruity treats have got pre-drinks written all over them. They're available from Tesco in Strawberry and Guava and Pineapple and Passionfruit, are just 70 calories per can and are gluten-free.
Are hard seltzers good for you, though?
To figure out whether you'd be worth reaching for a seltzer rather than a beer or cider, we called upon a professional. Here's what Jo Travers, Registered Dietician and author of The Low-Fad Diet had to say.
"Hard seltzers are not exactly a healthy option, but there's little risk to consuming them as long as you follow the guidelines of a maximum of 14 units per week with a couple of consecutive alcohol-free days. They are easy to drink a lot of, as many of them are quite tasty, so this may be harder than it sounds. Having said that, they are a low-sugar, low-calorie alternative to spirits with full sugar mixers, ciders, and some beers.
"I'm not convinced they are better for you than wine though. Wine - especially red - has at least got some polyphenols which can have an anti-inflammatory effect, although this benefit can be outweighed by the negatives if you drink too much!"
So there you have it, as long as you don't go absolutely bonkers and drink yourself into a stupor, you should be all good. And if in doubt, trust wine. Always trust wine.
There’s no doubt that hard seltzers will be all the rage this year, so earn some serious cool points by being the trend-setter in your friendship group. Move over gin in a can, hard seltzer season is here.