Spiked seltzers haven’t lost their traction. We love a juicy IPA as much as the next guy, but sometimes you want a lighter alternative. If you’re already experiencing White Claw fatigue, know that there’s a big, beautiful world of spiked seltzers, hard teas, and canned cocktails you’ve likely never tried.
Summer 2020 is as good a time as any to try some standouts. You’re spending more time at home, leaving plenty of time to crack open a cold one after yard work, lazing by the pool, or enjoying a day on the lake. Better yet, pick up some packs of spiked seltzers and other canned concoctions for your Fourth of July festivities. Whether you’re anticipating a leisurely or boisterous holiday weekend, it’ll surely benefit from these five.
Not one is a flavored malt beverage. Each of these boasts premium alcohol and natural ingredients for a buzz that can’t be beat. Think of them as cocktails you’d make for yourself—only canned and ready to be toted to your favorite local beach, mountain, or buddy’s backyard.
The Best Spiked Seltzers, Hard Teas, and Canned Cocktails
1. Volley Sharp Grapefruit Spiked Seltzer
This newly launched line of spiked seltzers doesn’t rely on malt alcohol, nay. Volley utilizes 100 percent blue agave tequila in its easy-to-slug concoctions. But we urge you to savor every sip. Unlike other spiked seltzers that use sub-par tequila mixed with malt liquor and additives, Volley sources blue agave from the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, where the agave plant matures slowly, yielding sweet, floral, well-rounded tequila. Flavors include fan favorites like Sharp Grapefruit, Zesty Lime, and Tropical Mango, as well as a wild card: Spicy Ginger. And since they’re using premium tequila, they don’t muck it up with unnecessary ingredients. Volley uses organic juice and sparkling water—and that’s it! There are no concentrates, added sugars, or “natural” flavors, aka synthetic, lab-made essences that taste artificial (think watermelon seltzers that mimic Jolly Ranchers). The Sharp Grapefruit is refreshing with the tang and sharpness you’d get from a paloma. Available in New York, New Jersey, and Florida markets; online shipping available nationwide in all 50 states. Find the closest third-party retailer near you, here.
- ABV: 5.25%
- Calories: 100-110
- Carbs: 1 g
- Sugar: 0 g
[$13.99, 4-pack; drinkvolley.com]Get it
2. LQD Hard Peach Green Tea
LQD (“liquid reimagined”) is a line of craft beverages that comes from Anheuser-Busch’s Brewer’s Collective. The sector’s lineup includes Hard Agave Limeade, Hard Hibiscus Lemonade, Hard Passionfruit Green Tea, and Hard Peach Green Tea—best enjoyed while playing a round of bocce ball or lolling about on a porch swing (just our humble opinion). The Hard Peach Green Tea has a soft, mellow fruitiness. The flavor isn’t overt—more like the musky fragrance of sun-ripened fruit. LQD brews decaffeinated green tea leaves with pure cane sugar (and a little yeast), which naturally ferments into alcohol (the same process as beer and wine), then they blend in more green tea and add whole peach puree. There are no artificial sugars or additives, and we love the lack of malt liquor. It’s incredibly smooth and a nice alternative to seltzer. Find the closest third-party retailer near you, here; also available on drizly.com.
- ABV: 5.2-5.9%
- Calories: 150-185
- Carbs: 11-18 g
- Sugar: 8-12 g
[$10.99, 6-pack; drinklqd.com]Get it
3. JuneShine Blood Orange Mint Hard Kombucha
For some, kombucha is the magical elixir that calms stomachs and delivers sweet, sweet salvation from the worst hangovers. You can thank the probiotics and antioxidants from its gut-friendly yeast and bacteria; they, along with organic acids, actually detoxify the liver, per research published in the CyTA Journal of Food. Some brilliant minds have used kombucha as a mixer in cocktails. It’s naturally effervescent and sour, after all. But Juneshine has done one better and created a lineup of hard kombuchas. Blood Orange Mint is one of their most popular, touting real blood oranges, green tea, cane sugar, a touch of honey, mint, and Jun kombucha (a variety of ‘booch, which is fermented with tea and honey instead of cane sugar, lending it a lighter, smoother taste). Grab one while barbecuing. Better yet, keep a cooler handy while you man the grill, ‘cus it’ll go down fast. Other notable flavors include Midnight Painkiller (coconut, pineapple, orange, turmeric, and nutmeg) and JuneShine’s new 100-calorie offering: Pineapple Orange and Hibiscus Lime. Find the closest third-party retailer near you, here; home delivery available in some states; also available on drizly.com.
- ABV: 4.2%-6%
- Calories: 100-149
[$29.99, 12-pack; nyc.juneshine.com]Get it
4. Cutwater Lime Vodka Soda
Cutwater has over a dozen different canned cocktail options (Rum Mojito, Whiskey Mule, Tiki Rum Mai Thai, the list goes on…), so you’d be hard pressed to find something you don’t like. Their line of vodka sodas will definitely hit the spot on sweltering summer days. Choose from Lime, Grapefruit, or Cucumber—all are made with the brand’s very own Cutwater vodka, which is distilled six times from corn-based grains, then filtered 15 times (precision is the name of the game) with either naturally flavored lime, cucumber, or grapefruit soda water. It’s crisp, light and everything we want to be drinking on a body of water (or a hot-as-hell fire escape in Brooklyn). Find the closest third-party retailer near you, here; also available on drizly.com.
- ABV: 5%
- Calories: 99
- Carbs: 0 g
- Sugar: 0 g
[$12.99, 4-pack; drizly.com]Get it
5. Southern Tier Distilling Vodka Madras
Seeking a canned cocktail with some artisanal flair? Southern Tier‘s got just the ticket. Their Vodka Madras has more depth and complexity than your average ready-to-drink varietal. Cardamom is steeped in chamomile tea, providing zest and warmth to counteract sweet orange juice and tart cranberry and lime juices. It all gets mixed with their Southern Tier Vodka, which is made from 100 percent New York State wheat and distilled multiple times (read: it goes down smooth). This little beauty was a 2019 SIP Award Best of Class Platinum winner to boot. Other notable canned cocktails include Bourbon Smash (straight bourbon whiskey, ginger, mint, and lemon), Gin & Tonic, and Vodka Soda. Find the closest third-party retailer near you, here; also available on drizly.com.
- ABV: 8%
- Calories: 312
- Carbs: 41 g
[$12.49, 4-pack; southerntierdistilling.com]Get it
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