All featured products are curated independently by our editors. When you buy something through our retail links, we may receive a commission.

Nutritionists tout that the key to a healthy lifestyle is hydration, which is precisely why we held a beverage taste test in the Chowhound office to determine which new drinks were the best on the market. You’ll just have to ignore the fact that the majority of these are alcoholic, though, which obviously defeats the purpose of upping your water intake. Nobody said we were perfect. Check out all of our hits and misses below!


The Hits

101 Cider House Canned Sour Cider

These were, by far, the best sips we had all day. Even if you don’t appreciate a sour cider (um, WHY?), these offered a welcomed departure from the hard seltzers and light beer that have dominated the alcoholic beverage market. They come in a variety of interesting flavors as well, which means there’s a sour for every personality (including ones that are, well, sour). The zero sugar and high ABV is also icing on the cake.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“These are crisp, not too sweet, and easy to enjoy. A great summer brew that I could drink a bunch of.”

“The smell is a bit funky, but if you can get past it, you’ll enjoy these. They’re awesome.”

“I like the subtlety of these flavors. They’re not too strong, but deliver. Gunpowder Guava is a strong favorite among the entire team.”

“I’m giving these a 10 because it’s the first time I’ve had a canned or bottled hard cider that I actually loved…and could see myself easily drinking more than a few. The ABV also feels right at zero sugar—the kind of buzz we (well, most of us) strive for.”

Kombrewcha Hard Kombucha

We’re already self-proclaimed JuneShine stans, so it’s no surprise that another hard kombucha placed high on our lists. Kombrewcha, which already boasts an adorable name, pleased palates with its easy-to-sip carbonation level and not-too-sweet flavors. Two very enthusiastic and basic bitch thumbs up.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“Lemongrass lime is SO good. It’s really fun and full of layered flavors.”

“Mild and tasty—perfect for daytime sipping.”

“I’m a big fan of boozy ‘buchas and they’ve done a really nice job.”

The Just-Fines

Pulp Culture Hard-Pressed Juice

Conceptually, these are fun idea with innovative (and trendy!) ingredients such as mushrooms, greens, and herbs, but they’re definitely for a very specific, health-minded audience who is really seeking to change up their (probably nonexistent) alcohol drinking habits. We can’t help but think they’ll be on Gwyneth Paltrow’s list of favorite things, but they’re worth a try.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“There is a lot going on with these, but I don’t mind.”

“These weren’t bad, but they have a weird smell. It’s probably from the ‘live cultures.'”

“Shout out to the blueberry-lavender one (Relax) for being balanced and tasty, especially for a floral-forward flavor profile. The packaging is cool and the branding does a very good job of front-loading the superfood ingredients that are surely the biggest selling point here.”

Lemon Perfect

We love a stevia-based bev that doesn’t taste artificial, and Lemon Perfect more than delivers. That being said, it’s hard to fall in love with something as simple as a healthy lemonade. We’re happy it exists, but it’s not going to excite the taste buds as much as its sugar-filled, crazy flavored counterparts. And yet, when presented with a cold bottle, this was one of the easiest to down in minutes. We’re so conflicted!

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“The peach raspberry flavor tastes like peachy rings, which I’m here for. The branding is also on point!”

“I think I’d rather have water with lemon squeezed into it.”

“I feel like Beyoncé would approve of these and, frankly, that’s the only endorsement I need.”

The Misses

Press Hard Seltzer (Blood Orange Chili)

Press has introduced a few flavors that we totally dig (pear chamomile and pomegranate ginger are the first that come to mind!), but we weren’t the hugest fans of their latest “spicy” iteration: blood orange chili. The bubbles, paired with the spice, were a bit overwhelming for most and the orange was pretty one-noted. That being said, we do think flavor combos like these are innovative and applaud Press for always thinking outside of the box—err—case.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“Something is off with the carbonation. Or is it the chili? It hits you right away, but isn’t pleasant. The orange is also too overpowering.”

“It made my throat feel fuzzy, but not in a good way. Very aggressive.”

“They’re on to something because a line of fruit and chili flavors could be a hit.”

Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzers

There is a deep divide in this nation over which hard seltzer reigns supreme, and Truly has certainly emerged as a frontrunner. Unfortunately, they missed the mark with this lemonade line that is simply too sweet, too syrupy, and too reminiscent of the torture we put ourselves through in college.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“Too sweet and medicinal.”

“Tastes artificial…almost like an alcoholic Minute Maid.”

“It tasted too much like candy water and brought me back to college days of sweet malt beverages.”

O2+ Hemp Oxygenated Recovery Drink

We like the idea of incorporating hemp, a healing ingredient, into a recovery drink, but woah…this was entirely too sweet (much like the Truly lemonades). These do boast 50 percent more electrolytes than leading sports drinks and seven times the amount of oxygen, so if you’re *actually* looking to hydrate and are bored of water, this may be the one for you.

Overheard at the taste test table: 

“You definitely get an earthy, funky flavor from the hemp.”

“Far too sweet. Tastes syrupy, almost like concentrate.”

“The hemp is very noticeable, but it’s not enough to counter the sweetness. I think this would actually make me feel a little sick after a workout.”

Header image courtesy of 101 Cider House.

See more articles