The last time I reached for a Mike’s Hard Lemonade, I had just recently turned 21 and was still in the phase of my life where I wanted my alcohol sweet and easy to drink quickly. As my taste buds matured, I moved on to honey whiskey, then IPAs, and eventually down the deep rabbit hole of handcrafted aperitifs. Now, you’ll catch me making old fashioneds at home and sipping on hard seltzer or tea on Sunday afternoons; Mike’s Hard Lemonade distinctly became a thing of the past.
So when the new Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzers came across my desk, I was surprised by the intense nostalgia that seeped through me. I suddenly remembered that carefree 21-year-old energy — the energy of someone who didn’t worry about saving for retirement and thought pandemics only existed in the past. I instantly knew I had to try them — if not for the me of today, then for my past self. So I pulled my editorial teammates together on a Zoom call and, collectively, we tasted and ranked each of the four flavors: lemon, mango, strawberry, and pineapple.
As always, please consume responsibly — both our rankings and your alcohol.
We started with the classic lemon flavor, and in the end, most of us liked this one the best. “It tastes like lemonade,” remarked Olivia Harrison, our Lifestyle editor. I agreed with her and added, “It’s what I want lemonade to taste like, bubbly, sour, and less sweet than the actual thing.” Clocking in at 5% ABV, 100 calories, and 1 gram of sugar, the lemon flavor checked all my boxes when it came to hard seltzer: light, refreshing flavor; not too sweet or full of sugar; and a low enough ABV to not feel the effects the next day. A few of my co-workers thought it had a strong aftertaste, but the general consensus was that if we were handed this at a party we would definitely drink it, and a six-pack would be a great addition to a beach outing. One of my co-workers, who famously hates White Claw, said she would much rather have a Lemon Mike’s Hard Seltzer than any other hard seltzer. I also mixed this one with vodka and it tasted exactly like a lemon drop. Admittedly, this was in a very dangerous “doesn’t really taste alcoholic” way, so do with that information what you will.
I personally love this one and think it smells and tastes like a strawberry-flavored Juicy Juice. But, a few of my coworkers didn’t like the smell. One claimed it smelled like medicine, but I pointed out it isn’t a wine — it’s not supposed to have a nose. We debated back and forth about whether this one was more or less sweet than the others, and landed somewhere in the middle, which eventually led to us ranking it in second place. Olivia said she would choose it over a White Claw and really liked that the can was black. (She’s right, the aesthetic is cool as hell). Molly Longman, our Wellness writer, described it best, “I would definitely drink this if I was in the mood for something fruity, it’s like less intense Kool-aid and alcohol.”
I knew I wasn’t going to love this one because I don’t like mango (I know, I’m a pariah), but it still took the bronze because our Senior News Editor, Leora Yashari, liked it so much. “I love mango-flavored things and this tastes very much like mango,” Leora explained. Notably the least sweet of the bunch, Molly said this one tasted like “making bad decisions in a basement,” which truly feels like the greatest description of any alcoholic drink ever.
Everyone loved the way this one smelled, but in terms of taste it was ranked last of the four flavors. “It’s just too sweet,” multiple people said. Those of us who particularly love hard seltzer decided we would definitely drink it at a party, but wouldn’t buy a pineapple-only six-pack. I could totally see mixing rum with this and making a piña colada, or simply drinking it as a lower ABV piña colada alternative, but I do think it’s a bit too sweet to be a staple in my fridge.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team, but if you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.