Hard seltzers are the boozy embodiment of the Undertaker. You think they’re down, and they just keep getting back up.
This year will follow the trend of years’ past. The spring and summer will be loaded with new hard seltzer brands and flavors flooding the shelves of your favorite boozy shops. 2021 was the year of big brands jumping into the seltzer-y end of the pool. This year already has familiar seltzers finding fresh ways to stick out on the crowded shelves.
They’re leaning into “better for you” labels, edging toward ready-to-drink cocktails (itself booming), and finding fruity flavor combinations that veer away from the monolithic presence of familiar flavors like mango. (Seriously, we don’t need another mango hard seltzer. Skip it.)
If that perfect seltzer is a big part of your drinking sessions, we can lend you a hand. We’ve collected notes on many of the new hard seltzers hitting shelves in 2022, and gave them a try to see why you’d bother grabbing these instead of the crush of cans already lining liquor store aisles.
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Signature Margarita, Tropical Pineapple, Strawberry Hibiscus, Prickly Pear What it is: Topo Chico made a splash in 2021 with its entry into the world of hard seltzer. After releasing its Ranch Water Hard Seltzer in early 2022, it put together a variety pack of four margarita-inspired hard seltzers, each of which includes a hint of lime, salt, and tequila. Why you should give it a try: You love Topo Chico, most likely, but there’s some bad news if that’s the case. I didn’t really find these to have the magic formula of the original release. Topo Chico’s first hard seltzers were flavored, but also retained a connection to the original mineral water. The Margarita Hard Seltzers have a much sweeter profile and veer away from the light flavor most people are looking for from the brand.
Stats: 4.7% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Ranch Water What it is: One of the trendiest drinks of 2021 was Ranch Water, which many believe is only properly made with Topo Chico. It only makes sense that Topo Chico would enter the fray. Why you should give it a try: If you like Ranch Water, you’re getting the Topo Chico spin on it. It’s a light, fizzy canned version of a great warm-weather cocktail. I’m hesitant to say that any new hard seltzer “makes sense” because it doesn’t really make sense to add anything to that crowded shelf in many ways. But…well…this one is a very logical addition.
Stats: 5% ABV Flavors: White Freeze, Pink Freeze, Red Freeze, Blue Freeze What it is: The Hard Lemonade label joined the world of hard seltzer in 2021. Now, it is making a new suite of hard seltzers based on classic slushie flavors. Why you should give it a try: These flavors might be too intense, though I like the White Freeze, which is creamsicle flavored. So, if you’re trying these, it’s for one of two reasons. The first is just morbid curiosity. The second is also curiosity but for another reason. Mike’s says that, just like the slushies you drank as a kid, you can combine the colorful flavors. It recommends combining Red Freeze, Blue Freeze, and White Freeze for a fifth flavor: Purple Freeze. I tried this and can confirm it is purple.
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 90 calories Flavor: Ranch Water Classic Lime What it is: Dos Equis is putting its stamp (XX) on hard seltzer with a Ranch Water. Why you should give it a try: Ranch Water is on-trend for the spring, and this is a refreshing one with light flavors. It nods toward the original Topo Chico recipe with strong mineral water vibes. You could hang with a couple of these on the beach.
Stats: 5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Passion Fruit, Citrus Yuzu Smash, Tropical Pomelo Smash, Watermelon Lime Smash, Wildberry Acai Smash What it is: These are two separate releases. White Claw launched a new variety pack called White Claw Surf, which includes the four “Smash” flavors above. The other is the addition of Passion Fruit, which the company claims was added due to fan demand. You’ll only find that in the second edition of the variety pack. It replaced Mango in there. (Mango is still available outside of the pack.) Why you should give it a try: We’re not far afield here. This is just White Claw in different flavors. If any of these flavors interest you and you like White Claw, well, then you’ll probably give this a go.
Stats: 5% ABV Flavor: Verte Absinthe What it is: Oldknow is making a seltzer with absinthe. It claims this is the first absinthe-based seltzer in the US. Why you should give it a try: Do I need to say it? It’s an absinthe-based seltzer. If you like the herbaceous flavor of absinthe, you’re getting it here. If you plug your nose and toss back the glass when you drink absinthe, this will not be your cup of fennel. Verte is good. You signed up for absinthe, and you’re getting it in these cans. Though, it still manages to be light despite that unmistakable flavor.
Stats: 4% ABV, 90 calories Flavors: Strawberry Guava, Berry Hibiscus, Blueberry Watermelon, Kiwi Lime. What it is: This new line from Mich is made with coconut water. It’s also the first nationally distributed USDA certified organic hard seltzer. Why you should give it a try: You like organic seltzers and don’t have a local brewery making it. Or you just have to know what getting coconut water in the mix does for a hard seltzer. Or you saw the label and got confused as you were trying to buy a more malty Ultra.
Stats: 5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Strawberry Orange, Pomegranate Orange, Peach Orange, Pineapple Orange What it is: Vizzy has released a pack of four mimosa-themed hard seltzers. You’ve probably seen those commercials pushing the whole “with antioxidant Vitamin C” schtick hard. Same here. Why you should give it a try: Vizzy is finding a home with people who lean toward hard seltzer because it’s slightly better for you (at least lower in calories) than beer. So, antioxidants are the answer to the question. Though, these taste like you might imagine a seltzer with “Vitamin C” on the label to taste. They’re fruity, maybe a little too fruity. A couple of flavors also have an aftertaste that doesn’t leave that clean, crisp taste in your mouth.
Stats: 5% ABV Flavors: Raspberry Kiwi, Orange Mango, Pineapple Guava What it is: Svedka is combining its vodka expertise, tea, and tropical flavors. The Pineapple Guava is infused with green tea, while the other two are infused with black tea. It’s Vodea. Or Teaka? Ok, fine. Vodka Tea Spritz works. Why you should give it a try: There are a few things going on here. It definitely has a vodka-like profile if you need a seltzer with a little more bite (that’s still relative). It also brings tea and tropical fruit into the mix. It’s kind of a specific market that will be interested. You’d bother with it because you like vodka, you like tea, and those tropical flavors are your summer jam.
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Classic Lemonade, Strawberry Lemonade, Peach Lemonade, Blackberry Lemonade What it is: The Vodka Seltzer line owned by Anheuser-Busch has expanded with four lemonade flavors. Why you should give it a try: My best guess is you like lemonade seltzers, and it’s the lemonade variety pack closest to the door at your local shop.
Stats: 5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Tiger’s Blood, Pink Colada, Purple Magic, Rocket Pop What it is: These four flavors are part of the Swell’s new Keep It Weird variety pack. It says that the pack was inspired by its “Austin heritage.” Why you should give it a try: There’s a definite trend taking place this year with seltzer brands chasing sugary, over-the-top, nostalgia-inducing flavors. There’s only one that tripped that trigger for me. It was the Rocket Pop can, which is weirdly dialed in. It tastes a bit like a Diet Rocket Pop. It may be the only one of the four that I’d crack open a second time.
Stats: 8% ABV, 160 calories Flavors: Cherry Lime Chill, Pineapple Punch, Wild Watermelon What it is: The New Belgium-backed Fruit Smash is mixing things up by putting out an extra-strong seltzer with a high ABV. Why you should give it a try: Probably because you’re looking for a hard seltzer that isn’t sessionable. The flavors evoke the trend you saw above with Mighty Swell and Mike’s Hard. Though, these are a little less exciting, and they carry a more boozy taste than you generally find in a hard seltzer.
Stats: 5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Yuzu Lemon Squeeze, Mixed-Up Berries What it is: It’s a hard, sparkling tea. Why you should give it a try: The brief hard tea blip in 2021 hasn’t gone cold. Hard seltzer teas won’t go away, but they aren’t going to be a massive, industry-altering innovation like hard seltzer. So, if you like them, Lagunitas is doing one made with guayusa tea leaves.
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 90 calories Flavors: Passion Fruit, Coconut Mango, Blueberry Peach, Lemon Blueberry What it is: It’s a “lightly fruit-infused vodka water.” The description contains lots of marketing speak and suburban mom tropes, and I’m not sure if I’m interested in anything described as “vodka water,” but you get the idea. Why you should give it a try: It’s a spirits-based hard seltzer with no carbonation or sugar. So, if you love hard seltzer but hate carbonation, Mom has a drink for you.
Stats: 4.5% ABV, 100 calories Flavors: Guava, Kiwi What it is: The new pool pack contains four flavors, two of which are new additions. In addition to the new ones, Lime and Peach are packed away in the box for the pool. Why you should give it a try: You’re packing drinks for the pool and you think, ‘Hey! It’s a Pool Pack!’ Also, the Kiwi is surprisingly good.Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.
The cold weather in most parts of Australia coinciding with EOFY celebrations is the closest thing that we’ll get to snowy Christmas vibes. And if you’re in dire need of some festive cheer after the first six months of 2023, grab your ugly sweater and head to your nearest Red Rooster for Xmas in July deals.
From June 29 – July 31, 2023, Red Rooster is serving up free food items, a chance to win $10,000 or one of 10 merch packs valued at $400 and other fun prizes. All you have to do is sign up as a Red Royalty member and spend $5 on at a location near you or online.
Each week there’ll be new delicious deals and prizes to win. The week one deals have already dropped and they’re looking pretty tasty. You can get access to them via your Red Royalty account. The more you purchase, the more chances you have to win.
Spoiler alert: you can get 10 chicken nuggets for free, right now. Brb running to Red Rooster.