Can You Smell Hard Seltzer On Breath? Science and experiment.

Hard seltzers are a huge growth market. You have White Claw and Truly leading the way but also Vizzy, Bang, Corona Tropical, Bud Light Seltzer, Mountain Dew hard seltzer etc. They have lots of benefits over other alcoholic drinks but the most marketed is the low calories and carbs they contain. One negative of certain other alcoholic drinks is being able to smell them on your breath, especially the next day but can you smell hard seltzer on breath?

Can you smell hard seltzer on breath?

You may be able to smell the hard seltzer flavouring on breath but you will not be able to smell the alcohol. Alcohol itself has no smell and what you associate with alcohol smell is the other aromas that make up the drink, like hops in beer.

Hard seltzers are just carbonated water with some low carb flavourings along with a shot of neutral corn spirit. So you cant smell the alcohol on someones breath.

Can you smell alcohol?

The crux of this issue and what most people want to avoid, is smelling of alcohol, but can you even smell alcohol?

The answer is no! Alcohol itself is basically tasteless and odourless. If someone is drinking a neat raw alcohol or something like vodka then you cant smell a thing. Vodka is just alcohol and water.

What you can smell is all the other ingredients. For a beer there is the hops and bitter aromatic compounds but what is there in a hard seltzer to smell?

What can you smell on someones breath?

A hard seltzer is just carbonated seltzer water with some light flavouring. The alcohol in it will be odourless.

There actually isn’t much to smell on someones breath from a hard seltzer as even the flavouring is light.

Is the alcohol in hard seltzer vodka?

If you had to guess what alcohol is in a hard seltzer, i think most people would guess vodka

Vodka is basically a pure alcohol from a distilled grain with water added to reduce the alcohol by volume. It is usually colourless and odourless, so is the alcohol in hard seltzer a vodka?

You could argue that it is a vodka used in hard seltzer but normally vodka is from rye, wheat or even potatoes. The name vodka means “little water” meaning water in integral to the recipe.

However, the answer is no. There is no vodka in basically all hard seltzers (with the exception of Smirnoff)

What kind of alcohol is in hard seltzers?

If it isn’t vodka then what is it?

There isn’t just one type of alcohol with the major brands going for different methods.

The alcoholic base in White Claw hard seltzers is a pure spirit which is five times distilled from corn. Corn is not an unusual base for a spirit but will initially make a pure and flavourless alcohol to mix with the seltzer flavours.

For more information read my article here

Topo Chico has an alcohol derived from agave, Truly and many of the others comes from a cane sugar base like rum is.

All you really need is something with sugars than can turn into alcohol and distill it to a pure form.

How much alcohol is in hard seltzer?

Hard seltzers (in the USA) usually have 5% ABV. That means it has 5% alcohol by volume. To understand what this means we can look at how much alcohol is in other standard drinks.

The USDA have devised a list of “standard” alcoholic drinks. Each one contains precisely the same amount of alcohol – 14g of alcohol (0.6 ounces).

Below is a list of the standard drinks, volumes and ABV that all give 14g of alcohol.

Drink and volumeAlcohol content
12fl oz Beer5%
5fl oz Wine12%
1.5fl oz Spirit40%
Standard Drinks

So as you can see, a standard beer is a 12fl oz and 5% alcohol by volume beer, which has the same alcohol as 5fl oz of 12% wine and a 1.5fl oz shot of 40% spirit.

Are hard seltzers the same as a Standard Beer?

In terms of alcohol and volume, hard seltzers are exactly the same as a standard beer. They both are 12fl oz in volume and 5% alcohol by volume. 

You generally don’t taste the alcohol in a standard beer. 

I have reviewed well over 100 non alcoholic beers and you often cant tell the difference. They main times you can is when they make a low carb and low calorie beer but that isn’t because you are not tasting the alcohol per say.

To see what the best non alcoholic beers in the world are, read my article here.

Can you taste the alcohol in hard seltzer?

You can tell a hard seltzer has some alcohol in it compared to standard flavoured water but the difference is not great. There is no alcohol burn in your throat and only a tiny “kick” from the alcohol as usually the flavour from a hard seltzer is not overpowering due to its low calories and carbs.

Content Growth

Hi im Phil. Im the sole writer on this site. For more info look at my about page

Recent Posts