Are you like me? Not a big fan of beer but don’t want to be the one always bringing liquor to social events? Then this list is perfect for you. The only qualifications are the beverage cannot be beer or liquor (sorry Jameson, you know you’re my favorite). DISCLAIMER – I will only be listing beverages I have tasted personally. If you feel your favorite beer alternative is left off this list, please feel free to send some my way.
White Claw Hard Seltzer
Probably the most popular beverage on this list, White Claw also happens to be one of my personal favorites. Coming in at 5% alcohol and 100 calories per can, this drink has a great balance of taste without being too filling. While not the first beverage of its kind to hit the market, White Claw’s popularity has definitely contributed to the new hard seltzer trend. White Claw has also announced two new flavors Pineapple and Clementine, both having 3.7% alcohol and 70 calories per can for those looking for something lighter.
Mike’s Hard Lemonade / Mike’s Harder
Regardless if you choose the original Mike’s Hard (5% alcohol) or Mike’s Harder (8% alcohol), you are almost guaranteed to find a great tasting flavor. Coming in several different variety packs and different size cans, there are countless different ways to enjoy a night of Mike’s. You’ll probably only enjoy the night, however, as these drinks contain a lot of sugar that is bound to leave you with a brutal hangover. Don’t be fooled by the sweet taste, drink these in moderation if you want to be productive the next day.
After partnering with Barstool Sports, High Noon became a household name in the world of spiked seltzers. While most of their competitors use a combination of malt liquor and seltzer, High Noon uses 4.5% vodka instead. Matching the 100 calorie precedent set by White Claw, High Noon is not a filling beverage by any means. Offering a variety of fruity flavors, “Nooners” are definitely one of my favorite spiked seltzers. If they cost a little less and were available at more locations they would easily hold the top spot.
Do you hate carbonation? If yes, we should definitely drink together sometime and enjoy ourselves some Twisted Teas. Not too many though, as one of my main gripes with this beverage is the heaviness of it and its ability to make you feel bloated after a few drinks. Coming in at only 5%, Twisted Teas have no business being as filling as they are. Despite their variety of flavors, this is not a drink I have had great experiences with. Like Mike’s Hard, Twisted Teas taste great in the moment but if it is your only drink option for a night out you will surely be tasting them again later that night or in the morning.
Arnold Palmer Spiked
Easily my favorite beverage on this list, this carbonation-less drink has 5% alcohol and tastes almost 100% like original Arnold Palmer. Available in iced tea, lemonade, and of course half and half, this drink blows away its competitors with its ability to be very light and not nearly as filling. This is the drink Twisted Tea and Mike’s Hard wish they could be. If there is ever an Arnold Palmer Spiked shortage, you can look to me as the culprit.
The only hard cider on this list is actually the only hard cider I’ve ever had. Maybe that’s not too surprising as I almost exclusively purchase alcohol from the Speedway near my house, but that’s irrelevant. Matching the standard 5% of most other drinks on this list, a couple of these hard ciders will definitely do the trick. I advise getting a mixed pack of crisp apple, green apple, pear, and rose´. Angry Orchards are definitely a good option if you’re tired of the same old seltzer flavors.
Truly Hard Seltzer
Despite often being compared to White Claw, Truly offers many different flavors not usually found in hard seltzers. Blueberry Acai, Raspberry Lime, Wildberry, and Orange are just a few of the different options along with the standard set of flavors. Unlike White Claw, Truly has recently ventured into the hard lemonade and hard iced tea game as well. While I’ve never tried these newer drinks personally, I definitely give credit for trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Bud Light Seltzer / Corona Selzter
You may be wondering why these two different brands of hard seltzer are grouped together. This is because they have one thing in common, they’re simply not good. I really wish I could say these are the best hard seltzer options, but I would be lying to you. As much as I love Corona for their beer, I cannot defend their poor tasting seltzer and their lack of variety. The same goes for Bud Light, as their hard seltzers are nothing special and certainly do not match the flavor of White Claw or Truly. Bud Light is trying to improve as they recently announced new holiday flavors including Cranberry, Apple Crisp, Ginger Snap, and Peppermint. While I have yet to taste these, my expectations are not very high.
Smirnoff Ice / Smirnoff Smash
Similar to Mike’s Hard, Smirnoff offers a 5% alcohol option as well as an 8% option. Smirnoff has perhaps the craziest flavors on this list, as Smirnoff Smashs are labeled as “mixed” between two different fruits with my personal favorite being Strawberry and Lemon. These drinks definitely contain a decent amount of sugar to achieve these great tastes, so be mindful of how many you’ve had if you want to feel good the next day. And of course, don’t get iced.
“Beer alternative” is a loose term, as Four Lokos certainly do not fit in the same category as the rest of the alcohols on this list. While the previous drinks can be enjoyed casually if desired, nothing is casual about Four Lokos as they come in at a whopping 14% alcohol. I will not tell you to avoid these entirely, as that would make me a hypocrite, but I strongly advise having no responsibilities the following day if you decide you’re up for the challenge of a night of Four Lokos.