Boozy sodas are all the rage again, but are now slightly more sophisticated than ever before. These drinks appeal to a wide demographic and have an exotic range of flavours. There’s also a wave of traditional sodas, like root beer, on the market that have been spiked with natural spirits. In fact, all of the root beers tasted were surprisingly flavourful.
Since boozy sodas aren’t our beverages of choice, we were particularly picky about what ended up on this list. Many didn’t make the cut, especially if they felt artificial from very obvious artificial sweeteners, were unbearably sweet or were too assertive. The best of the bunch were transparent and had few ingredients. They appealed to a changing market concerned more than ever with what we consume.
The criteria: carbonated, fortified with alcohol and is a good value. All have been taste tested just for you. Skeptical? So were we. But in the end, we were pleasantly surprised.
We tried all the boozy sodas at the liquor store so you don’t have to
Social Lite Lime GingerWithout a doubt, this cleverly named soda gets top marks. The refreshing bubbly's very similar to a vodka soda with no sweetness, but with the authentic flavours of lime and ginger. This felt the most natural and most refreshing of the group. It was also subtler; less manufactured-tasting than the rest. 100 per cent natural flavours and fortified with local Vodka. Price: $9.95/4x355-mL cans in Ontario.Social Lite
Jaw Drop Tickling Pink LemonadeIf you have a sweet tooth, this one's for you. There's an authentic sweet and sour candy flavour to this pink soda but with vibrancy and freshness to avoid a cloying sensation. What sets this apart from the other sweeties in this category is that there are no artificial sweeteners or chalky artificial flavours. Plus, the colour had a natural hue. $2.95/473-mL can in Ontario.LCBO
Crazy Uncle Hard Root BeerOf all the root beers in this boozy taste test, the Crazy Uncle was the least sweet, but was still very authentic with sarsaparilla spice (an actual ingredient) and hints of black pepper. This was the most pleasantly drinkable out of all the sodas due to an almost dry finish and plenty of freshness on the palate. Also, the root beer had no boozy taste. $2.95/473-mL can in Ontario.Crazy Uncle
Dusty Boots Hard Root BeerDespite having almost 6 per cent alcohol, the Dusty Boots' drink tastes like an authentic, non-alcoholic root beer, so watch out! With hops and malted barley, there's a light bitterness that pleasantly offsets the significant sweetness – think A&W. In addition, there's a malty character, nuttiness and even a little spiced chocolate to the palate. $14.95/6x355-mL bottles in Ontario.LCBO
Mill Street Root BeerThis one isn't as sweet as the others and there's a citrus flavour that adds some dimension and intrigue. It's spicy with flavours of caramel and white pepper along with macadamia nut. Of all the sodas, it's the most boozy tasting, likely because the sweetness is less apparent. $14.85/6x341-mL bottles for in Ontario.LCBO
Harry Brompton's London Ice TeaThere's a dominant, natural tea flavour, so bonus point for this genuine taste. The drink doesn't come off sweet, despite the likely high sugar content from the tart, lemony character. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea (excuse the pun), but it certainly has a more complex flavour than the rest of the sodas. $11.95/4x330-mL bottle at LCBO, $3.19/bottle in Manitoba and $12.99/4 bottles in Saskatchewan.Harry Bromptons
Seagram Green Grape CoolerIt's hard not to be charmed by the floral, muscaty character of this seriously aromatic soda. With flavours of lime, elderflower and an authentic white grape note, it's sweet, but still nicely balanced. There's just a touch of a chalky character to the texture, but it adds to the bubbly and piquant nature of the palate. $9.95/4x341-mL bottles in Ontario.Seagrams Coolers