Handpicked: With Citrus Hard Seltzer, Real Fruit Delivers Cocktail-Like Flavor | Wine Enthusiast
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With Citrus Hard Seltzer, Real Fruit Delivers Cocktail-Like Flavor

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Talk to drink makers who follow trends and they’ll be quick to tell you that citrus sells. This is nothing new, of course, but as hard seltzer continues to innovate with ingredients, there are still classic flavors that delight in the glass.

For single-citrus hard seltzers, makers stick to the familiar, with lemon, lime, orange and grapefruit getting the most attention. But not all are sliced the same.

Some seltzer makers focus on “natural flavorings” that can mimic real fruit, but also run the risk of smelling like a car air freshener or a cleaning product. These also usually finish quickly flavor-wise on the palate, setting up the tastebuds for a fresh hit on the next sip.

In contrast, the seltzers that make a point of using real fruit or juice often deliver bolder flavor and have a cocktail-like essence. From the peel and the pith to the flesh and zest, different parts of the fruit bring varied flavors and dimensions to the finished product.

Juice added to a seltzer typically results in a cloudier or colored beverage, a departure from the crystal-clear bubbly water that most look for. Haze is a feature here and fits into the changing nature of hard seltzers, which sees producers stressing authenticity. The visual component plays a part of that, although many consumers still drink directly from the can and may not immediately note it.

Smaller operations might zest or squeeze hundreds of pounds of citrus themselves before adding to a seltzer, while others might utilize purees or juices from orchards or other fruit companies. The addition of real fruit typically lends to longer-lasting flavor, and citric acid also helps tamp down sugar flavors—artificial or otherwise.

Citrus is what helped usher in flavored hard seltzers several years ago, and while the industry has evolved into exotic fruits and surprising combinations, the humble workhorse continues on bringing refreshment to each sip.

The 8 Best Citrus Seltzers

H2Roads Grapefruit (Hard Seltzer; Two Roads Brewing, CT)

89 Points Wine Enthusiast

Dusty orangepink in color with slight cloudiness and vigorous carbonation, this has a lot of the tart funky flavors associated with grapefruit with undertones of pith. Applause for its lowsugar content that lets the citrus shine. 110 calories.

$19.49/12oz Variety Pack Total Wine & More

Truly Lime (Hard Seltzer; Boston Beer Co., MA)

H2Roads Meyer Lemon (Hard Seltzer; Two Roads Brewing, CT)

85 Points Wine Enthusiast

This looks the part of lemonade in the glass with a hazy milky yellow hue. Small-citrus-fruit aroma with a pop of lemon on the first sip that morphs into pressed peel mid palate and on the finish. 100 calories.

$19.49/12oz Variety Pack Total Wine & More

Truly Grapefruit (Hard Seltzer; Boston Beer Co., MA)

85 Points Wine Enthusiast

The tart aroma is lovely with dried grapefruit and freshsqueezed peel. The body is thin and the citrus takes a back seat to the sugary punch that arrives with the first sip. 100 calories.

$ Varies Instacart

Truly Lemon (Hard Seltzer; Boston Beer Co., MA)

86 Points Wine Enthusiast

A bright candiedlemon aroma with a flavor to match. Clear, with strong carbonation, the lemon flavor tastes processed at times with an artificial sugar sweetness that peeks through at the finish. 100 calories.

$ Varies Instacart

Reuben’s Fruitfizz Grapefruit (Hard Seltzer; Reuben’s Brews, WA)

84 Points Wine Enthusiast

Light on the overall citrus this benefits from a mineral water base that adds some intrigue and earthiness to the sup. This is a good palate cleanser or break from heavier rounds. 100 calories.

$17.99/12oz Variety Pack Total Wine & More

Reuben’s Fruitfizz Orange Zest (Hard Seltzer; Reuben’s Brews, WA)

84 Points Wine Enthusiast

Effervescent carbonation showcases a mineral-water quality from the first sip that builds a nice base for the light orange flavor. The citrus is muted, giving this a spawater-like presentation. 100 calories.

$17.99/12oz Variety Pack Total Wine & More

Wormtown Orange Zest (Hard Seltzer; Wormtown Brewing, MA)

83 Points Wine Enthusiast

Plastic orange aromas arrive early and stay until the finish. Artificial citrus aromas have a slight mineral flatness on the finish. Crystal clear with robust carbonation. 100 calories.

$15.99/12oz Variety Pack Total Wine & More

Why You Should Trust Us

All products featured here are independently selected by our team, which is comprised of experienced writers and wine tasters and overseen by editorial professionals at Wine Enthusiast headquarters. All ratings and reviews are performed blind in a controlled setting and reflect the parameters of our 100-point scale. Wine Enthusiast does not accept payment to conduct any product review, though we may earn a commission on purchases made through links on this site. Prices were accurate at the time of publication.

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