By June Naylor
Photos by Meda Kessler
The best thing since beer in cans might be another refreshing adult beverage — in cans. The seltzer market has exploded, with the 4-year-old White Claw being the drink of summer in 2019 (and exploding on social media). Unlike other hard seltzers that strike us as too sweet and cloying, these three new spirited sparklers — all from Texas makers — offer subtle flavors and grown-up appeal. We also like the ease of tossing them in the cooler to enjoy by the pool, or to take to the lake or to a cookout. And the alcohol content is low, perfect for summer sipping. You can dress them up by pouring them into a glass and garnishing as you would your favorite cocktail.
All are available at local stores. — June Naylor
For those who love the tequila, Topo Chico and fresh lime cocktail by the same name, this spiked seltzer might be the next best thing. SMU grad Katie Beal Brown, who hails from the Midland-Odessa area and now lives in Houston, launched Lone River Beverage Company to create this special drink. Low in calories (80) and booze (4 percent ABV), this canned Ranch Water is sweetened with a hint of agave nectar and smacks of real lime juice. Seltzer water and a gluten-free alcohol base give it a little fizz-buzz punch. Up next, Spicy Ranch Water and Rio Red Grapefruit Ranch Water, to debut soon. It comes in a standard 12-ounce can, or pour it over ice and add a lime or grapefruit wedge and a mint sprig. Visit loneriverbevco.com for retail locations.
If you’ve tried Waterloo Sparkling Water, you know it’s made by somebody who understands pure flavor. The co-founder of the Austin-based seltzer maker teamed up with a co-founder of Deep Eddy Vodka, another Austin company, to create these spiked spritzers (5 percent ABV) that come in a slim 12-ounce can. While they bear fruit essence, the cans have just 4 grams of sugar and only 110 calories each. There are four flavors: cherry lime, watermelon mint, peach and grapefruit, our favorite. The website offers summer cocktail recipes such as mixing the peach with bourbon. Or, just pour your favorite flavor over ice and add garnish. Check out mightyswell.com for more info and availability.
From Deep Ellum Brewing Co. comes — true to the company’s in-your-face marketing — “a hard seltzer that doesn’t suck.” And they’re right: We first enjoyed this one as a cool beverage on a hot evening while grilling steaks. Named for “Blind Lemon” Jefferson, the Texas-born blues legend who frequented Dallas’ Deep Ellum neighborhood, this bubbly, lemony brew contains just a smidge of pure cane sugar (each can has 100 calories, along with 5 percent ABV). Packaged in 12-ounce beer cans, we like it over ice with a slice of lemon and a basil leaf. See deepellumbrewing.com for details.