4 hard seltzers you need to be drinking right now
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The hard seltzer category is taking South Africa by storm. Of all the trends and shake-ups in the alcohol industry over the past few years, none have been as dramatic or as exciting as the rise of hard seltzers.
A few years ago they were almost unheard of, but then, seemingly overnight, they became cultural mainstays and a dominant force in the alcoholic beverage market.
What is a hard seltzer?
Hard seltzer is a drink made from lightly-flavoured carbonated water but spiked with alcohol. Its rise in the global beverage industry has been nothing short of phenomenal and, while initial uptake was slow, South Africa is fast catching up to the curve.
Among a magnitude of flavours and choices out there, here are five favourites.
In the first quarter of 2021, Distell relaunched Vawter – a range of soda water spirit coolers made with vodka and infused natural fruit flavours. This drink is low in sugar and alcohol content (3.5%). This new range allows South Africans the opportunity to balance fun times with responsible choices. The range includes three deliciously fun and refreshingly light natural flavours – juicy grapefruit, refreshing cucumber and zesty lemon and lime.
Crafted by a small, independent local producer, Freely is a proudly South African sparkling water with a splash of premium distilled vodka and pure fruit taste tailor-made for living your best life. What sets it apart from other hard seltzers is its lower alcohol content (just 3%), lower calories (23 calories per 100ml), zero sugar, and, above all, premium taste. As a spirit-based drink, Freely is also gluten-free and vegan friendly, ticking all the right boxes. It is available in three flavours – zesty lime, perky peach, and a burst of wild berry.
The Skinny range from Cheeky RTD falls somewhere between a ready-to-drink (RTD) cocktail and hard seltzer, containing 4% alcohol and between 77 and 79 calories. It’s made with real lime juice, which gives it a cloudy look. The range includes the flagship Skinny B – the internationally celebrated mix of premium vodka, real lime, and soda; the Skinny M – a crisp mix of premium tequila, real lime, and soda; and the Skinny G, a refreshing alternative to a classic G&T, featuring gin, real lime, and soda. A big drawcard – all three offerings are free of artificial sweeteners and flavourings.
The first flavoured beer to be produced locally was Flying Fish, launched by South African Breweries (SAB) in late 2013. This year, in April, it launched a hard seltzer range under the same name. Made with water, alcohol, fine bubbles, and a dash of fruit juice, the 5.5% abv drink comes in a 300ml slim can with two flavour options – lemon and lime, and raspberry. Both drinks contain 1.5g of sugar and 115 calories per can. Made with water, alcohol, fine bubbles, and a dash of fruit juice – this drink delivers refreshment for any occasion.