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Review: Not a Fan of Spiked Seltzers? Revel Hard Seltzer Will Completely Change Your Mind

Taste-testing Revel’s flavoured alcoholic sparkling water.




Summer is here and ’tis the season for fruity seltzer. When hard seltzers first became a thing in South Africa, I was quick to hop on the bandwagon. I’m always on board for another convenient, canned drink option to enjoy in the warmer months. While the hard seltzer’s popularity is relatively recent in South Africa, the beverage craze has taken over the US in the last couple of years. From June 2019 to June 2020, hard seltzer sales reached $2.7 billion in the US and made up for more than 10% of non-liquor alcohol sales. To say this flavoured alcoholic sparkling water is having a moment is indeed an understatement.

Fast forward a few months, and it looks like the low-calorie drink is set to become a firm favourite in South Africa as well. Over the past year, hard seltzers have exploded onto the South African market, bringing forth tons of convenient options for those looking to enjoy the light, crisp, and fresh flavours of spiked sparkling water. Hard seltzers have given people who don’t like beer, or wine, a low ABV option that’s oh-so-drinkable and low on calories, and I’m here for it.

Let’s Revel in summer

One of the latest brands to throw its hat into the hard seltzer ring is Revel Hard Seltzer. Proudly produced in the Western Cape by VG Beverages, Revel is refreshing, light and low-calorie, with 4,5% alcohol per 300ml can. At first glance, the drink may look like any other hard seltzer on the market, but there’s a lot that sets the Revel range apart from the rest. If you’ve tried hard seltzer and are pretty confident you would never drink hard seltzer again, then I implore you to try Revel before swearing off the beverage for good.

Not only is Revel the lowest calories per unit hard seltzer on the market (at just 77 calories per 300ml can), it also has the lowest sugar content per unit on the market (at just 0.3g Sugar per 300ml can). The seltzer is also vegan friendly and gluten-free. Most importantly, Revel is currently the only grape-spirit-based hard seltzer on the South African market, which is probably why it’s so damn delicious.

The Revel hard seltzer range offers three flavours — Grapefruit, Mixed Berry, and Lime — so there’s a flavour to suit every taste. While Revel markets its hard seltzer as having “only a hint of flavour’, all three options are flavourful and refreshing with a gentle carbonation. The flavours are lightly sweet, in the pleasant way sparkling water garnished with real fruit might taste sweet. While some other spike sparkling water options on the market have an off-putting clawing sweetness, overly intense flavour, or a lingering artificial after-taste, Revel has got the flavour profile just right.

The recipe was developed by Nina van Niekerk, Director at VG Beverages. After studying Oenology and Viticulture at Stellenbosch University Nina completed her PHD in Oenology before cutting her teeth at some of the biggest local and global names in beverages. And, where many have failed at bringing a delicious hard seltzer to market, Nina and the Revel team have hit the nail on the head.

The first taste

My favourite of the bunch is the grapefruit, which recalls a brighter version of the fancy-pants pamplemousse LaCroix flavoured sparkling water. It’s thirst-quenching, highly quaffable, and subtly bitter with juicy citrus notes and carbonation bubbles that are soft on the palate and utterly refreshing. I loved sipping on this tasty drink straight from the can, but it’s also great when enjoyed in a glass with fresh grapefruit slices and a few mint leaves. The flavour profile is beautifully balanced, and you can barely detect the alcohol.

The Lime, was a close second for me, it’s a flavour I would be thrilled to throw back while relaxing poolside. It’s Revel’s best-selling flavour, and it’s easy to see why. The great thing about Revel’s alcoholic sparkling waters is they taste just like the fruit they’re made with. When I cracked open the lime can and took my first sip, I was beyond impressed. The flavour is very natural, but also much stronger than expected. It’s super refreshing, and will no doubt be a winner for anyone who is a fan of tart flavours. If you’re a brave soul, then the Lime flavour will prove to be a great mixer for an easy vodka, lime, and soda (with an extra quick, of course!) on a hot summer’s day. I’ve tried, I loved it; and so will you!

When compared to other hard seltzers on the market, and I’ve sampled my fair share at this point, Revel’s Hard Seltzers are no doubt the most flavourful. The flavours are still subtle, but they’re infinitely better than most of the hard seltzers options on the market, where the flavour on the can is a mere suggestion. With Revel, you can clearly taste the fruit flavour and appreciate it.

All three flavours make for great mixers; if you’re the type of person who loves mixing spirits with soda water, then this range of sparkling waters with a kick will take your basic vodka, whisky, or (dare I say it), gin and soda to new taste levels.

Revel’s line of spiked seltzers are fresh, fruity and thirst-quenching. But the best part? They don’t have a strong alcohol taste. These are perfect for anyone who loves seltzers but is looking for a drink that tastes ‘less strong’.

And, if you were ready to swear off spiked seltzers for good, these might just change your mind. Lightly carbonated, supremely refreshing, and delicious, Revel Hard Seltzer is certain to be the only spiked seltzer you’ll be drinking this summer.

Revel Hard Seltzer is available in South Africa at a recommended retail price of R22 per can or R450 per 24 case (R18.75 per can). Revel Hard Seltzers are available to purchase online from Susan Stanleys as well as select stockists. For stockist info contact Revel Hard Seltzer on Facebook or Instagram.

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