The FADER debates... hard seltzer

We answer the question that nobody was really asking: Is hard seltzer good?

August 15, 2019
The FADER debates... hard seltzer These paws need claws.   Art: Nalae White

Hard seltzer is, in a sense, just fizzy water with booze in it. But in another, slightly more unhinged sense, it is a cultural battleground, an insurgent force into our summer, and an opportunity to relive your worst high school decisions by buying Four Loko again. After almost melting down in the FADER Slack — an incident that brought on flashbacks to Sliced Bagel Spring — we decided to interrogate hard seltzer's place in society individually, sharing our thoughts mostly without fear of reproach. These are those thoughts:

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Salvatore Maicki, News Writer

First, let it be known that spiked seltzer has existed for years before White Claw went viral — if you’ve been in Connecticut anytime since Obama was reelected, you already know this. That being said, there is a time and place for a spiked seltzer. The time is daylight, and the place is anywhere off the Metro North, in the land of salmon-colored shorts. It’s like drinking a carbonated Juul pod. Spiked seltzers don’t quite get the job done, but they offer the suggestion that they might, which occasionally feels like enough of a promise. But I’m not trying to get fucked up on them, which is why Four Loko seltzers feel deeply antithetical to the ethos of a true spiked seltzer.

That being said, will I still drink them? Absolutely.

Will Gendron, News Writer

I’ve never had a hard seltzer. I view alcoholic beverages and carbonated beverages as two separate entities. I only drink beer that can be enhanced with a lime slice. If I want something carbonated, I drink Dr. Pepper or use the Coca-Cola freestyle machine to create a 14-soda concoction. If I ever order a hard seltzer at a bar, it will be a Four Loko hard seltzer. I will ask for it to be served with a slice of lime.

Larry Fitzmaurice, Editor-At-Large

"What's in this?" That's what my wife said when she had her first sip of White Claw Hard Seltzer (lime-flavored), eventually electing to swap drinks (I'd ordered the Claw) so she could finish it. It is indeed shocking how good White Claw tastes, possibly because we've been conditioned to accept alco-pops — Mike's Hard Lemonade, Four Loko, Sparks, and various gimmick-branded drinks past and present — as noxious to our taste buds but just sweet enough to suck down if you really hate the taste of regular alcohol or, more likely, are an underage drinker. And as refreshing as its most palatable form can be, that's the culturally insidious thing about hard seltzer: it's another goes-down-easy vessel for a drug that's slowly killing millions of people every day, sold by an industry profiting immensely off of the devastation in alcohol's wake. (Just imagine what they're going to do to weed.) But, hey — at least it tastes good.

Jordan Darville, News Writer

Anyone who drinks seltzer is a bigger clown than the ones who use the liquid for their trick flowers. Which, by the way, is NOT a funny joke anymore and is actually a pretty cruel thing to do when someone just wants to smell an enormous daisy.

Alex Robert Ross, Associate Editor

Hard seltzer is, spiritually, the Florida Georgia Line of beverages (apologies to Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey). This means two things: 1) It's kinda gross, and 2) I love it.

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Still, someone needs to have a word with this guy.

Nalae White, Social Editor

I feel like it's important to start by saying that I detest seltzer. The first time I tried a La Croix I felt my relationship with my tastebuds become undone. How could they trust me after I exposed them to such a sorry excuse for a beverage? It's not as refreshing as water, it's not as satisfying as juice, and it's weirdly bitter, like the stuff the dentist cleans your teeth with. I vowed never to try a seltzer again. It's been a point of contention in my friend group as everyone who was anti-seltzer before has abandoned me, but what can I say? I like my water flat.

Then I met Bon & Viv, two queens of the sea who understand the balance between bubbly and refreshing. Bon & Viv Grapefruit Spiked Seltzers quickly became my drink of the summer. I showed up to pre-games, rooftop parties, and barbecues with a pack in tow every time. White Claws began their brutish takeover of the trend shortly after I discovered it, and I'll admit they're good. But my girls Bon & Viv give me a bubbly, clean feeling that keeps me floating back to them every time. So I'm claws down, fins up all day. I'll never trust a La Croix though, and if that's what you're into I don't trust you either.

Lawrence Burney, Senior Editor

All seltzer is trash. The end.

Sent from my iPhone

Ava Trilling, Intern and apparent wine snob

Would much rather drink a refreshing, bright, tangy, angular, EFFERVESCENT glass of wine... with regular seltzer on the side to quench thirst as intended.

David Renshaw, U.K. News Editor

I live and work in London; hard seltzer has not made its way to these shores. The U.K. is more preoccupied with what, if anything, we'll be able to drink after a hard Brexit, so getting drunk off fizzy water hasn't been a priority this summer. The British equivalent of this trend would be cocktails in cans. These are things like a pre-made gin and tonic or mojito to go that are a mainstay of picnics and people pre-drinking before a music festival. These cans are so prevalent now that Marks & Spencer, a prim and proper company that reinforces many a British stereotype, sells their own brand of "Pornstar Martini." It's a bleak world we live in.

Ultimately, seltzer water tastes like drinking TV static and no macho name like White Claw or, like, Bear Juice can change that. Enjoy your hard seltzer summer, guys, I'm sitting this one out.

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The FADER debates... hard seltzer