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 seltzer.
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 for everyone 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 per cent increase in sales of alcoholic sparkling water compared to 2018, with White Claw’s sales surging 320 per cent, too. If you've ever typed in ‘White Claw’ on Twitter, you might 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. It is now available to buy from Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury's, and Amazon. Find out more below.
Check out: the best hard seltzers UK in 2022
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 mango. It's no wonder this drink achieved cult status. It really up there as the best of the best. Love all the flavours? You can get the best of both worlds with the variety box, containing eight cans.
Or, buy 'em on Amazon in bulk here - it just makes sense.
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. 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 and lime, peach and raspberry (which we adored), or venture out with its brand new flavour, passionfruit and turmeric.
5. 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.
6. TWIST Hard Seltzer Can (4 pack)
TWIST's Hard Seltzer offering is so popular, that the bottles sold out on the Selfridges website within the first 24 hours of it being live. Thankfully, you can still buy it in canned form on the site. The pineapple flavouring may sound unusual, but it's incredibly refreshing. Natural and fresh, it's 5% ABV and 60 calories per bottle.
7. Kopparberg Hard Seltzer (4 pack)
With flavours like mixed berries, passionfruit 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.
8. 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. If you ask us, it's quite the bargain, too.
9. Grey Goose Watermelon & Basil Essences, Ready to Drink (12 Pack)
While Grey Goose's offering in't technically glassed as a hard seltzer, it does tick all the boxes. Refreshing, low in calories and low in alcohol, its ready to drink range is available in watermelon and basil, and strawberry and lemongrass. They're packed full of flavour, so if you find hard seltzers a bit too subtle, these will be right up your street.
10. 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.
11. 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.
12. 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.
13. 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.
14. Two Brooks Hard Seltzer (12 pack)
Two Brooks has brought its A-game to the market, with the divine Passion Star, Mango Hi-ball and Lime Cooler. These flavour combos are definitely memorable.
15. 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 or pineapple and passionfruit.
16. Whisp Drinks - Cucumber & Mint Hard Seltzer (24 Pack)
Whisp Drinks' offering is just 63 calories per can and contains minimal sugar. The cucumber and mint flavour is just perfect for a refreshing summer beverage, and the raspberry and elderflower is particularly moreish.
Where can you buy hard seltzers in the UK?
Hard seltzers have surged in popularity in recent years, with many of the big retailers getting in on the action. Here are some of the main places you can buy hard seltzers from in the UK, or you can shop on the brand's specific websites, too.
• Waitrose & Partners
• Marks & Spencer
Are hard seltzers good for you, though?
To figure out whether you'd be worth reaching for a seltzer rather than a beer/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.