It’s not just hard seltzers that are having a moment, non-alcoholic fizzy drinks are also equally as popular. While you have classics like LaCroix and Perrier coming out with new flavors like guava or blood orange and black raspberry, there are also a whole slew of new brands popping up. Some are closer to non-alcoholic cocktails, like in the case of Casamara Club and Rishi, while others are sparkling teas, like Minna and Sound, which feature black and green tea as the base of their beverages.
After taste testing 30 brands and storing hundreds of cans of this stuff in my apartment, I narrowed it down to my top 15. Yes, some of them are technically more like soda than true seltzer but everything here is relatively low in sugar, easy to drink, and very refreshing, especially in the middle of a heat wave. Read on to check them all out.
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The One That Pulls Double Duty
Keep these tiny cans on hand when you have friends over. Not only are they the perfect size for people who don’t drink, they also are ideal for making cocktails. The grapefruit one is my favorite for making Palomas or even just mixing with straight up tequila.
If You Want Something Tart And Refreshing
Tiktok recently discovered the wonders of freezing a mandarin orange and eating it -- it’s basically like sorbet. This new Topo Chico flavor is the drink equivalent of that. I felt a burst of tangerine in my mouth, without the sweetness, and it was extremely refreshing.
The Ideal Thai Food Companion
Being that I have a high tolerance for peppers, I decided to order my entire meal Thai spicy the other night. My mouth burned and even though you’re not supposed to drink anything carbonated, this sparkling tea infused with tangerine and lemongrass was so satisfying. While it didn’t put the heat out, it complemented the flavors of my green curry and Tom Yum soup perfectly.
The One For Mango Lovers
Alphonso mangoes are the best mangoes. This is not an opinion, it’s facts. And anything that features the juice of one, mixed with sparkling water, belongs in your fridge immediately.
The Ideal Post-Workout Refresher
One of the things I missed most during the pandemic was going to a sweaty workout class and drinking the cold fruit-infused water at the studio. This watermelon mint sparkling water reminded me of that experience after a particularly sweaty day running errands all over the city. It’s not sweet at all but I did feel like I was submerging my face into an ice cold tupperware of cut up watermelon, which is a good thing.
The One That Tastes Like A Tropical Vacation
With a combination of orange, mango, and black tea, this sparkling drink feels like I could be sitting poolside somewhere tropical, even if all I’m doing is pairing it with my favorite instant noodles.
If You Like A Raspberry Lime Rickey
I have a soft spot for raspberry lime rickeys since there’s a burger spot from grad school that I used to frequent that had them. Tart, sweet, and refreshing, the drink combined with some fries were just the thing for hangovers. This sparkling water has all of that energy, even if I didn’t rage the night before.
Truly The Best LaCroix Flavor
As much as I love mangoes and talk about them frequently, don’t sleep on guava. It’s delicious on donuts and its essence is just as good in sparkling water. If you told me to choose a favorite LaCroix flavor, this is the one I’ll buy in bulk.
If You’re Expecting Company
With flavors like dark cherry and pomegranate, strawberry and tangerine, and blood orange and black raspberry, you’re guaranteed to be a good host by buying a pack of this stuff. Fizzy and fragrant, they’re made for mixing with booze.
If You’re Into Uncommon Flavors
Prickly pear cactus isn’t exactly the most common flavor for seltzer, which is why this brand stuck out. They also make a watermelon mint that’s extremely minty, almost like an Andes mint, as well as a lemongrass coconut, which goes well with curries.
The Complex, Cocktail-Like Soda
Made with hibiscus, grapefruit, quince, lemongrass, strawberries, and yuzu, there’s a lot going on in this sparkling water. It has the right mix of bitter and sweet that reminds me of a well-balanced cocktail and would make for a great zero-proof drink on its own, or mixed with a smoky non-alcoholic spirit.
If You Like Negronis
Another option, if you’re not drinking, is this soda which tastes like a non-alcoholic Negroni. It has that citrus-y bite that you’d associate with Campari and there are also spicy notes in the form of allspice and clove. Offer it as a zero proof option during your happy hour spread in addition to your standard cocktails and wine.
If You’re Into Fruity, Not Too Sweet Sodas
Sometimes you want something sweeter than the average seltzer, which is where this soda comes in. Made with blueberry and peppercorn, this probiotic soda is gentle on the stomach and is a nice way to cut through all the heavy foods at your average cookout.
For Orange Soda Fans
My favorite drink during dimsum is not tea, it’s a can of Sunkist. Don’t ask me why, it’s just something I grew up drinking, and I will always order it. That said, sometimes it’s a little too sweet for me, which is where this orange nectarine soda comes in. It scratches that Sunkist itch, without getting me all hyped on sugar. It’s currently sold out, which is a testament to how good it is, but keep an eye out for it.
For Cherry Vanilla Coke Fans
My other soda craving is a cherry vanilla Coke, especially in a vanilla float. This probiotic soda reminds of that, except it’s kinder on my digestive system than a giant cup of dairy ice cream.