High Noon hard seltzers

You might have noticed the tall cans with a golden yellow circle seemingly taking over your local liquor store. High Noon is a California-based company and one of the newest additions to the growing hard seltzer category. High Noon takes a different approach by using vodka, real fruit juice, and sparkling water — all without high fructose corn syrup or added sugars. High noon is also gluten-free, a mere 100 calories (if you’re counting that sort of thing), and has a refreshingly appropriate alcohol content of just 4.5%, so more like a domestic beer than a glass of wine.

Because we’re a dedicated team of taste testers, we sought out all 11 flavors of High Noon (as of writing this article). Our saving grace came from Pride Wine Spirits in New York City, where you can find variety packs, single-flavor four packs, and the elusive singles for sale. Truly a hard seltzer oasis.

We adjusted our High Noon ranking not only on personal (read: subjective) taste but also on how likely someone might reach for a particular flavor on a given night. One person’s kiwi fantasy might be another’s nightmare. And is it really worth buying what is essentially a premixed lemon or lime vodka soda? Well, we have the answer to all your High Noon questions.

11. Guava: best for a neutral sipper

Guava High Noon can

High Noon Guava very much tastes like guava juice. One taste tester didn’t like the smell because it’s pungent, which is true to the real fruit, and felt like the flavor was punching them in the back of the throat. Now, we’ll leave that one open to interpretation but reiterate we had plenty of other positive reviews. Another strike against this flavor is that the aftertaste is persistent and wasn’t described as enjoyable. The Guava High Noon also appeared to have a thicker consistency. While not quite syrupy like a White Claw or hard kombucha, the fuller mouth feel was noticeable compared to other flavors. It did occur to us that this might be from it not being as cold as the other flavors since it wasn’t in the fridge as long. These vodka and fruit juice seltzers are designed to be served cold.

Anyone in the group familiar with the taste of real guava — and we’re sorry to say those taste testers were in the minority — agreed the funky complexity is indicative of the real fruit. One tester mentioned it smells like guava jam yet couldn’t hold up to the concentrated, punchy flavor. The most significant strike against the guava? It’s forgettable mainly due to its neutrality. So, don’t be afraid to grab one from the High Noon tropical pack, but you might not remember what it was like after you’re done.

10. Watermelon: a nostalgic candy experience

Watermelon High Noon can

The first impression of the Watermelon High Noon is the strong candied smell — precisely what we remember of the pink Jolly Rancher. For some of us, this was a turn-off. For others, the jolt back to childhood was exactly the type of seltzer they would reach for at the liquor store. The watermelon flavor is more robust than other High Noons, but the taste drops off at the end resulting in a less than satisfying finish. One tester mentioned they noticed the same gut feeling as when they drank stevia — not a plus in our book. Of course, the brand doesn’t mention using sweeteners, even if there could be any mystery elements hidden under the guise of "natural flavors."

A true fan of the watermelon found it’s not the true artificial watermelon flavor that we’ve grown to love (fans of artificial cherry flavor will understand what we mean). Overall, despite the disappointment of not quite mimicking the artificial Jolly Rancher version — which one tester calls "peak candy" — we would still drink this High Noon hard seltzer over sucking on a hard candy any day. Like all High Noons, watermelon is made with real fruit juice and vodka, so your guess is as good as ours for why this flavor delivers a hint of "something’s off." Watermelon is also featured in the original variety pack, so it might be an addition to the mix, even if it’s not the first flavor you’d desire.

9. Pineapple: tastes like pineapple soda

Pineapple High Noon can

The first thing we noticed about the Pineapple High Noon is that it smells like real (canned?) pineapple. A tropical flavor can be tricky to capture, so we felt confident that adding real fruit juice sets this hard seltzer brand apart. We are lovers of pineapple soda, so anyone familiar will likely find this a stellar pineapple representation. In some ways, we found it’s the best of all the other flavors because it’s exciting but not overpowering and a bit citrusy. Pineapple is also a less common flavor in the general United States, so that some palates might find this off-putting or, at least, unexpected.

We also found this pineapple drink doesn’t have the tartness or tannic attributes of the fruit that can hurt the tongue. It’s a good flavor of the real deal but not something we would want to consume all the time. Also, the first sip has a bold pineapple flavor that tapers off toward the finish and falls slightly flat.

One taste tester mentioned a soapy aftertaste, and another said it burned their mouth. Overall though, this flavor grew on us and is a solid if unexpected addition to the tropical variety pack.

8. Mango: rivals White Claw Mango

Mango High Noon

Mango is a tough flavor to capture. We’ve heard rumors that Mango is one of the best White Claw flavors, while we think it fell short for true lovers of this stone fruit in the Sodastream bubly essence. We also found it’s one of the more divisive flavors.

This High Noon Mango iteration tastes a bit like a skittle from a tropical bag. One taste tester mentioned the smell is like a mango Hi-Chew candy. This mango adds a bit of sweetness at the end. Another tester mentioned the smell of the drink is like Rita’s Italian Ice. It’s also not strong enough for one of our more critical taste testers because the mango is more of a carbonated sparkling water than a hard drink (to be fair, we barely tasted alcohol in any of the drinks). However, we found Mango High Noon is one of the stronger flavors and even a little syrupy compared to the effervescence of peach or passionfruit.

After a mention of a hint of coconut at the end of the mango, it’s all we could think about. Not unpleasant, but not exactly a plus for mango purists. Perhaps a controversial take: Even though it’s hard to live up to a Mango White Claw, we would choose the High Noon thanks to the nostalgic taste of the coconut at the end. It’s an odd bonus, but the mixture of mango with a hint of complexity just works.

7. Kiwi: seltzer you’ll love or hate

Kiwi High Noon can

Having eaten fresh kiwi earlier in the day (a chance bonus for our taste testers), we can confidently say that this hard seltzer tastes like a real, and quite pungent, kiwi. The kiwi fruit is a bit sweet, a bit tart, and tender at the first bite. While this sparkling carbonated beverage doesn’t recreate the texture of the fruit, High Noon does the Lord’s work to imbue the hard seltzer with the bite of the ripened, fuzz-covered fruit.

We also found this is a love-it-or-hate-it scenario for most of the taste testers. One ardent critique of more of the flavors decided this was their favorite flavor. Another tester complimented that this flavor tastes the most accurate to the natural fruit flavor; even as someone who doesn’t like kiwis, they could appreciate the overall presentation.

The general consensus found Kiwi High Noon is still relatively mild, like all cans of vodka mixed with fruit juice and sparkling water. If you like kiwi, then this is a solid seltzer.

6. Lemon: classic flavor for grab-and-go

Lemon High Noon can

Let’s start by saying that we found the Lemon High Noon quite drinkable. This hard seltzer did, however, create a bit of division among our official taste testers. Due to the citrus flavor, it doesn’t need to be as sweet, so the overall tartness proved to be a nice balance. Before we could gain a consensus, one taste tester had already poured a second taste — certainly not a bad sign.

The zing from the lemon is reminiscent of a mild and wildly popular Meyer lemon, offering a pleasant aftertaste that lingers from the not sour yet too sweet flavor. The sweetness also tastes a bit like stevia. The consistency is thicker than some other High Noon seltzers, but we found it doesn’t detract from the refreshing effervescence. While it does taste similar to a La Croix or a Sodastream lemonbubly, it’s also pretty close to tasting like a fresh lemon squeezed into a glass of sparkling water.

The lemon loses some points just because it’s not unexpected, and it feels like the brand is going for the safe option. Still, while it might not be the first flavor to reach for in the cooler, it would make an excellent addition to one of the High Noon variety packs (just saying).

5. Peach: the sleeper hit

Peach high noon can

Let’s preface this review: We find anything peach-flavored to be highly suspect. Despite what the last name of our writer might suggest, we don’t typically find any artificially flavored peach items to be digestible, let alone exciting. We’re happy to say that Peach High Noon was the sleeper hit of this hard seltzer ranking. The clear carbonated liquid smells like real peach from the first approach — yes, we know the brand claims to use real fruit juice, but after sipping enough "natural" pre-made, gluten-free hard drinks on the market, you might excuse us for acting skeptical. The smell also is a bit like the peach rings candy and is very fruit-forward.

Oddly enough, the peach is best described as more like a peach pit than the fruit. We even found a hint of celery in the aftertaste. Many taste testers went back for seconds. From a group of peach purists, we’re pleasantly surprised by High Noon’s take on a peach seltzer. We might even add a bit more vodka to this pre-made drink for an extra bit of zing.

4. Black Cherry: a crowd-pleaser

Black Cherry High Noon

Similar to the often beloved artificial watermelon flavors of our youth, artificial cherry flavor is in a class of its own for delivering a more popular candied flavor than the real fruit.

Cherry can also easily become medicinal, but this hard seltzer tastes like a rich, black cherry ice cream. We did notice the smell evokes a slightly medicinal smell, but never fear: The flavor is much better. We also noticed Black Cherry High Noon appears to be a favorite flavor of the masses — it was the one flavor for which we had to go searching at multiple locations because it was sold out at Pride Wine & Spirits — and even our most skeptical taste tester enjoyed it. We also like that the flavor is a little more tart but doesn’t veer into a full pucker. You might agree that this seltzer leans more candied, but it’s still very drinkable.

We also found Black Cherry High Noon to be a little less interesting and refreshing than others like passionfruit, so it’s not going to top our High Noon ranking. Still, we are quite confident that this juice flavor with a little tartness is a hit for most seltzer fans.

3. Passionfruit: best for La Croix fans

Passionfruit High Noon can

We immediately noticed a fruity and enticing smell from the can, which wasn’t overpowering like some other High Noon flavors. Our taste testers found the passionfruit to be authentic but wished it tasted more like it smells, as in, this is a super mild option. We agreed it’s an ideal hard seltzer for fans of La Croix sparkling water because this High Noon is more like an essence of passionfruit rather than a full-on fruit attack. We also barely tasted the edge of the alcohol, which is a perk for easy-drinking seltzer without the aftertaste of grain alcohol of other seltzer brands.

Keep in mind that we found this taste might be more like flavored sparkling water, but it is sweeter while being less effervescent. So, a little bit of candied taste, but we could drink a whole can without problem. This would be a good High Noon option if you want something to take to the beach for a day sipper. We decided to rank it lower on the list because the passionfruit is borderline watered down but still refreshing and a top contender for one of the best High Noon flavors.

2. Lime: classic for a reason

Lime high noon can

A vodka soda with a lime wedge is a standard drink for many people at home or at a bar. And it’s a classic because the flavors offer a mild, refreshing taste with a hint of citric acid. We found the premade Lime High Noon to be one of the market’s best-tasting iterations of lime flavor. The bite of citrus fruit can go horribly wrong, but this one isn’t botched.

Our taste testers loved this take on a classic because it does have a bit of a sweet aftertaste. One taste tester mentioned the sweetness of honey instead of a stevia aftertaste. This lime citrus also leaves a flavor on the tongue, which lingers with a crispness.

We believe the Lime High Noon is an excellent example of what a hard seltzer should taste like. Unlike the safe option of the lemon (but still, we do love a Meyer lemon), this flavor was robust enough to make a case for buying a premade vodka seltzer, whether camping, at the beach, or sitting on the couch watching Netflix.

1. Grapefruit: citrus perfection

Grapefruit High Noon

How can we count the ways we love the Grapefruit High Noon? One way is that this is one of the few flavored hard seltzers that placed on each of our taste testers’ personal "top five" list. Right from the first crack of a can, the smell of ruby red grapefruit wafts into the olfactory glands (better than it sounds).

The first sip delivered the tartness of a ruby red with a robust flavor and hint of sweetness. We would compare this to an Ocean Spray flavor with plenty of bite and a bit of pucker in the mouthfeel. It’s also refreshing, so the full flavor does not detract from the goal of an easy-drinking hard seltzer. We also appreciate a hint of bitterness — without making the mistake of overpowering the overall taste.

For anyone who wants more than the 4.5% alcohol, grapefruit would make a solid mixer with a bit more vodka. Grapefruit High noon possesses the best of La Croix Pamplemousse but also leans in with a splash of Fresca. Truly refreshed by the grapefruit and even noticed more than a few testers who gave a bit of an "ahhhhh!" at the end of a sip. Enough said.