I tried hard seltzers – the £1.68 winner was refreshing and perfect for summer nights

HARD seltzers – or spiked sparkling water drinks – have taken the US by storm

And now, the craze is picking up speed in the UK with many brands and retailers launching their own versions.

Lynsey Hope tried the canned drinks and found one perfect for summer

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Lynsey Hope tried the canned drinks and found one perfect for summerCredit: Darren Fletcher

There’s a huge array of flavours on offer from raspberry to lime and peach. Even Ellie Goulding has her own brand of the drinks.

Most hard seltzers target health-conscious younger drinkers as they cans contain less alcohol and fewer calories than other alcoholic beverages.

But do they taste any good and are they good value for money?  I put them to the test to find out.

Served hard seltzer

  • £15 for six cans at Ocado
  • £2.50 each
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 95

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The Served vodka and soda peach had a lovely crisp flavour

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The Served vodka and soda peach had a lovely crisp flavourCredit: Darren Fletcher

These cans are available in three different flavours: peach, raspberry and lime.

They are made with vodka, British sparkling water and wonky fruit that would have otherwise gone to waste.

I thought these had a lovely crisp flavour and were incredibly refreshing to drink on a hot day.

The raspberry was my favourite, as it was tart and sweet at the same time.

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You couldn’t really taste the alcohol in any of them, either – and it was great to know they are only 95 calories each.

However, they are pretty pricey at £15 for six.

  • Taste: 7/10
  • Value: 6/10
  • Overall score: 7/10
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White Claw hard seltzer

White Claw is one of the best-known hard seltzer brands

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White Claw is one of the best-known hard seltzer brands
  • £13.50 for eight cans at Sainsbury’s
  • £1.68 each
  • ABV: 4.5%
  • Calories: 95

A lovely variety of flavours including mango, lime, watermelon and black cherry. The mango was my personal favourite and very refreshing.

The black cherry was nice too, sweet, without being too sickly. I would have liked a bit more flavour in all of them and found them a little plain. 

They had a lovely fizz as you opened the can and again, a nice healthy option if you want an alcoholic drink without the calories or hangover.

One of the best value options too, working out around £1.68 a can. It’s my winner and perfect for long summer nights.

  • Taste: 10/10
  • Value: 10/10
  • Overall score: 10/10

Lemada

Lynsey found Lemada to be like a boozy lemonade

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Lynsey found Lemada to be like a boozy lemonadeCredit: Darren Fletcher
  • £2.25 each at Sainsburys, or 12 cans for £27 at Amazon
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories 143

This comes in two refreshing flavours, Tangy Lemon and Juicy Raspberry, and they are made with real lemon juice, 100 % natural flavours and no artificial sweeteners. 

Premixed in a can, it blends triple distilled vodka which gives you a real boozy kick with fizzy lemon.

The alcohol flavour came through more than I thought it would for a 4% drink.

It was basically a slightly boozy lemonade, with a lovely refreshing aftertaste.

  • Taste: 6/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Overall score: 6/10

Mulberry Street New York seltzer

  • £10.99 for six cans, Amazon
  • £1.83 each
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 70
Mulberry Street seltzers were easy and refreshing

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Mulberry Street seltzers were easy and refreshing

A lovely zingy flavour, I liked the bergamot and chinotto flavours which gave these slightly carbonated drinks an Italian feel.

This was easy and refreshing to drink.

At less than 70 calories per can, they are one of the healthiest options too and they contain no added sugar.

I especially loved them out of the can and served in a glass with a slice or orange.

  • Taste: 8/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Overall score: 8/10

Long Shot hard seltzer

Long Shot cans are great value for money

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Long Shot cans are great value for moneyCredit: Darren Fletcher
  • £30 for 12 cans at longshotdrinks.co.uk
  • £2.50 each
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 115

These are a little more calorific than the other options, but bursting with flavour – options include pink grapefruit, blackcurrant and raspberry and strawberry and rhubarb.

I loved the unusual flavours, especially the grapefruit and found them very refreshing. 

They do contain a little more sugar than others but it’s all from the real fruit juice used to make them.

The cans are bigger than all the others too and as you can buy in bulk, they are great value for money.

  • Taste: 9/10
  • Value: 7/10
  • Overall score: 8/10

DRTY vodka seltzer

Punchy and weest was Lynsey's verdict on DRTY vodka soda

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Punchy and weest was Lynsey’s verdict on DRTY vodka sodaCredit: Darren Fletcher
  • £12.75 for six cans at Ocado
  • £2.12 each
  • ABV: 4%
  • Calories: 93-95

These are a lovely range of quite unusual flavours including raspberry rose, white citrus and mango passion.

They had a nice fizz. The boldest was the white citrus flavour and the floral grapefruit was made with a fruit wine base which gave it a punchy flavour and lovely sweetness. 

All are tart and zingy without being too sharp and the raspberry rose has an appetising aroma.

Very simple and clean ingredients and not bad value for money at just £2.12 per 330ml can.

  • Taste: 9/10
  • Value: 9/10
  • Overall score: 9/10

Suntory -196 shochu, vodka and soda

196 drinks are perfect for cooling off in hot weather

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196 drinks are perfect for cooling off in hot weatherCredit: Darren Fletcher
  • £3, available in Co-op, WHSmith, Yo! Sushi and other convenience stores
  • ABV: 6%
  • Calories: 116-118

196’s drinks are made by freezing fruit using liquid nitrogen at -196 degrees.

The frozen zest, pulp and juice are then crushed into a powder and infused with vodka.

They brand was launched in Japan in 2005, where it has been a huge hit, and is now being rolled out around the world arriving in the UK for the first time in April this year. 

There are two flavours, lemon and grapefruit, and I felt both were quite unique flavours.

They are quite cooling and refreshing, and this one was perfect for cooling off in hot weather.

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They are perhaps a little pricey, but I enjoyed them and would buy again.

  • Taste: 7/10
  • Value: 5/10
  • Overall score: 6/10

How to save money buying alcohol

Alcohol can be pricey if you’re planning a party or hosting an event but there are ways to cut costs.

It’s always important to drink responsibly, here, Sun Savers Editor Lana Clements share some tips on getting booze for the best price.

Stocking up can mean big savings on drinks, especially if you want to buy wine or fizz.

The big supermarkets regularly offer discounts of 25% when you buy six or more bottles of wine. The promotions typically run in the lead up to occasions such as Bank Holidays, Christmas and Easter.  

If you know you are going to need booze later in the year, it can be worth acting when you see offers.

Before buying your preferred drink make sure you shop around to find the best price – you can use a comparison site such as pricerunner.com or trolley.co.uk.  

Don’t forget that loyalty cards can unlock better savings so make sure you factor that in too.

If you like your plonk, wine clubs can also be a good way to save money and try new varieties. You’ll usually have to pay a membership fee in return for cheaper price so work out if you will be buying enough to make the one off cost worthwhile.