Hard seltzers are arguably the drink of this summer. It feels like bottle-o shelves were stocked up with brand after brand seemingly overnight with this new beverage few of us had heard of prior to 2020.

What is a seltzer, you ask? We covered it off here, but in short it’s kind of a catch-all term for flavoured soda with alcohol, except unlike the alcopops of your (misspent) youth, seltzers are usually marketed as having very little to no sugar or sweeteners.

Sound good? Keen to get among the trend? Well, this is the tricky bit – see, there are at least 27 brands sold in Australia, which can make for a difficult decision over which to buy when you’re standing perplexed in the bottle-o aisles. To help you out, we tried most of the popular offerings to determine our five favourites.

This Aussie hard seltzer brand currently has three flavours: lime and soda, dry and lime and watermelon. The alcohol base is based on a brewing technique using rice and corn, giving a full-bodied finish. Our favourite is easily the lime and soda flavour.

Quincy seltzer is a bit sharper than some, using fermented rice as its alcohol base which gives a dry finish. It’s a refreshing sharpness, and the flavours are natural-tasting (they sell a passionfruit seltzer and a lime seltzer) and not overpowering.

Honeysuckle Distillery
Using vodka, these hard sodas are a good balance of flavour and soda, making them a strong favourite of ours. Natural lime does what it says on the tin (literally), delivering a zingy hint of lime, while natural berry tastes like raspberries.

Pure Bay
The rice-based alcohol in Pure Bay tastes similar to sake, but combined with fizz and a hint of lemon-lime, makes for a refreshing summer beverage. This seltzer has a great balance of acidity and sweetness – it's not too overpowering on flavour, but doesn't hit you hard with the alcohol, either.

Good Tides
From Asahi comes Good Tides, another crisp seltzer that leans harder on being refreshing than it does on flavour – likely thanks to the triple-distilled vodka used as the alcohol base. It’s also pretty light on flavour, but in a good way – especially if you’re not a fan of overly sweet beverages. These were the most sessionable seltzers we tried.

From the folks at Moon Dog, Fizzer is definitely the wildest seltzer offering in the Aussie market right now. Think flavours like strawberries and cream, which genuinely tastes creamy, somehow. It won’t be for everyone but with a collection of hyper-summery flavours (a stand-out is tropical crush, a blend of passionfruit, orange, mango and pineapple) these are definitely a bit of fun.

Rainbird is the booziest seltzer in Australia, so if you’re just looking to have a couple of bevs, this is our pick. It’s also one of the only seltzer brands here that has a “natural” option with no added flavour, if you’re a bit of a purist.