Hard seltzers such as the market leader, White Claw, are all the rage these days. They combine the ultra low calorie and carb flavoured seltzer water with an alcoholic spirit base to form a delicious but light drink.
But if it is just a flavoured water with a shot of alcohol, will it not taste very strong? Will it be difficult to drink? Can you taste the alcohol in a White Claw?
Can you taste the alcohol in White Claw?
You can tell a White Claw 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 White Claw is not overpowering due to its low calories and carbs.
I have reviewed lots and lots of alcoholic and non alcoholic drinks so read on for all my insights into the alcohol in a White Claw.
What kind of alcohol is in White Claw?
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.
A full explanation is in my article here
Is the alcohol in White Claw 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 White Claw a vodka?
You could argue that it is a vodka used in White Claw but normally vodka is from rye, wheat or even potatoes. The name vodka means “little water” meaning water in integral to the recipe.
The corn based distilled spirit added to White Claw is added neat, without water added but in a small quantity to keep the ABV to 5%
How much alcohol is in White Claw?
In terms of alcohol and volume, White Claw is exactly the same as a standard beer. They both are 12fl oz in volume and 5% alcohol by volume.
This is true for US/Canada, however in the rest of the world, White Claw is 4.5% ABV, so a little less.
What is a standard drink?
It can be difficult to compare different types of drink so it is lucky for everyone, 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 volume||Alcohol content|
|12fl oz Beer||5%|
|5fl oz Wine||12%|
|1.5fl oz Spirit||40%|
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.
How many White Claws to get you drunk?
The CDC states it takes the average 160lb adult male, 4 standard beers to get drunk. A standard beer is 12fl oz and 5% ABV which is the same as a White Claw. The 4 White Claws have to be drank over 1-2 hours. If you are a female or lighter then it will take less White Claws, if you are a significantly heavier male, it may take 5+ White Claws to get drunk.
My full math can be found in this dedicated article.
What does a White Claw taste like?
One of my White Claw reviews (Natural Lime) can be read here. This is a short exert…
“With any hard seltzer, you have to dial yourself in to exactly the amount of flavour you are going to be getting.
It is the nature of the beast or lack of a sugary carb beast, that the flavour might be mooted and slightly thin. A seltzer water is supposed to take like that not a hugely sugary lime soda.
This actually has a pretty decent amount of flavour and it is tasty too.
It certainly isn’t too sweet but you are looking for more sugar either.”
Can you taste the alcohol in a hard seltzer?
From my tasting of White Claw natural lime, i thought you could just about pick up the alcohol in a White Claw but it is very subtle.
From the same review i thought…
“Can you taste the alcohol? Ever so slightly. It has a tiny edge to the flavour so you can pick out it has been spiked but not so much that you would need to avoid a big gulp. In fact, after a few drinks even this sensation starts to fade.”