What Kind of Alcohol Is in Hard Seltzer?

What Kind of Alcohol Is in Hard Seltzer?
White Claw (Kristen Norman/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images)
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We’re well into the summer months now, friends. Which means summer booze trends are on the rise. As many of you will likely know, hard seltzer or spiked seltzer is the latest ‘it’ drink in Aus, boasting low calories and fruity flavours.

What the hell is a spiked seltzer?

If you’re not familiar with these babies yet, allow me to introduce you.

There are loads of different brands selling spiked seltzer now, but the general idea is always the same. The drink is essentially boozy sparkling water, flavoured naturally.

Brands like White Claw, FELLR, Great White Hard Seltzer, Saintly, Sunly Seltzer (the list goes on) are slinging the refreshing drink in Australia (Dan Murphy’s stocks a bunch now). And while they taste innocent, be warned that they usually sit at around the 4 – 5 per cent alcohol range. Many are gluten-free and vegan friendly because of their simple makeup.

But what alcohol are these seltzers made with?

Good question. And one that’s asked often. (At least in our office it is.)

I did some digging in this area and what I found was that “true” hard seltzers are usually made with diluted pure alcohol.

According to White Claw:

“White Claw Hard Seltzer is made with sparkling water, triple-distilled spirit and a hint of fruit flavour.”

Still confused? Let’s look deeper.

Jeff Gobbels, co-founder of Aussie hard seltzer brand, Splash Vodka expanded on this point:

“A seltzer is simply soda water, alcohol and natural flavourings,” he shared with me.

“The brewing process begins with pure alcohol which is then watered down to the preferred alcohol percentage that the brand would like to go to market with. Once pure alcohol is watered down to 60% it can then be considered Vodka. The alcohol percentage of seltzers currently available in the Australian market range from 3.5% up to 8%. So, long story short, a hard seltzer is spiked with vodka (alcohol).”

Splash Vodka/Image supplied
Splash Vodka/Image supplied

Pretty interesting, hey?

He specified that Splash Vodka seltzers are 4.5% alcohol “meaning that 4.5% of our beverages is made of grained based vodka and the remainder is sparkling soda water and natural flavours – and that’s it!”

If you take a peek at the range of seltzers around, you’ll see that some state they’re made with a “malt alcohol base” (White Claw) or a “grain-free alcohol base” and so on. But in most cases, really, you’re basically drinking a fancy (and naturally flavoured) vodka soda.

If you want to keep learning about all things booze, check out this delish whiskey cocktail recipe we wrote up for you here.

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