Sunday, February 25, 2024

Jarritos Hard Soda – A Review

Rio Smith
Rio Smith
Rio Smith is a versatile writer with a wide range of interests and expertise. With a bachelor's degree in English Literature from UCLA, she has cultivated a talent for compelling storytelling and clear communication across genres. Rio's writing explores topics as diverse as travel, culinary arts, personal finance, parenting, and more. Her innate curiosity and diligent research enable her to tackle even the most complex subjects with depth and insight. Readers appreciate Rio's warm yet authoritative voice and her ability to find the fascinating angles in any story she tells. Her works invite audiences into new perspectives with openness and empathy

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Jarritos, the popular Mexican soda brand, has entered the hard seltzer and alcoholic soda market with their new line called Jarritos Hard Sodas or Cantaritos. I got the chance to try out these interesting twists on the classic Jarritos flavors and wanted to share my thoughts in a comprehensive review.

Overview of Jarritos Hard Sodas

Jarritos Hard Sodas, also marketed as Cantaritos, are alcoholic versions of the classic Jarritos soda flavors. They are made through a partnership between Jarritos, Anheuser-Busch and Novamex.

The hard sodas come in four flavors:

  1. Fruit Punch
  2. Pineapple
  3. Mandarin
  4. Tamarind

The sodas have an alcohol content of 5% ABV and launched in early 2023 in California and Texas. They are currently only available in select regions but Jarritos plans to expand distribution if they prove popular.

My First Impressions

I was excited to try these hard sodas as I’ve been a lifelong fan of Jarritos. The brand makes delicious, real sugar sodas with great fruit flavors.

Hard seltzers have taken off in recent years, so it makes sense for Jarritos to enter that market by making alcoholic versions of their sodas. I was curious how the flavors would translate with the addition of alcohol.

Upon cracking open my first bottle, I was impressed by the appearance. The Fruit Punch flavor had a deep red color just like the original soda. The aroma was fruity with a slight boozy undertone.

The carbonation level seemed spot on, with lively bubbles reminiscent of the classic soda. I dove right in to get my first taste.

In-Depth Flavor Reviews

Here are my thorough reviews of each Cantaritos hard soda flavor:

Fruit Punch

The Fruit Punch Cantaritos replicated the bright, tropical fruit flavor of the original Jarritos soda. I could taste notes of guava, mango, pineapple, cherry and orange. It reminded me of a boozy fruit punch with a pleasant tartness.

The aroma had fruity overtones along with subtle alcohol notes. On the palate, the flavor was well-balanced between sweetness and tartness. The 5% ABV provided a moderate warming sensation but remained subtle enough to enjoy the fruity flavors.

This would pair nicely with spicy Mexican food or barbecue on a hot summer day. Overall an accurate and tasty translation of the classic Jarritos fruit punch flavor into hard soda form.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Pineapple

Of all the Cantaritos flavors, the Pineapple hard soda stayed truest to its non-alcoholic counterpart. It replicated that distinctive fresh, tropical pineapple flavor Jarritos is known for.

On the nose, aromas of pineapple juice and pineapple chunks came through along with light boozy notes. The flavor showcased ripe, lightly sweetened pineapple that avoided being overly candied or artificial. There was a pleasant tanginess and the 5% ABV blended in subtly without overpowering the fruit.

This hard soda would pair well with Caribbean or Hawaiian-inspired cuisine. The pineapple flavor isn’t as assertive as some hard seltzers, but provides an easy-drinking tropical vibe. Fans of the original will certainly enjoy this boozy take.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Mandarin

The Mandarin Cantaritos packed the nostalgic mandarin orange soda flavor I remember fondly. The aroma conjured images of mandarin orange groves with fresh, citrusy notes.

On the palate, the flavor delivered a mandarin orange taste that leaned more towards orange juice than soda. It had a pronounced citrus tartness complemented by mild sweetness and a twist of lemon-lime. The 5% alcohol provided a gentle warming effect that highlighted the citrus.

This would pair excellently with seafood like ceviche or grilled fish tacos. Of the four flavors, I found this one the most drinkable and refreshing. It makes a nice lighter, fruit-forward hard soda option.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Tamarind

The Tamarind Cantaritos remains true to the unique sweet-tart tamarind flavor that Jarritos does so well. The aroma is dominated by tart tamarind with a slightly sour, fruity undertone.

On the tongue, the flavor has the familiar sweetness and tartness of tamarind candy or agua fresca. The 5% ABV adds pleasant warmth that melds with the tanginess. It’s sweet but not overly sugary, with a ripe tamarind flavor.

I’d suggest pairing this with roasted meats, chilies or mole dishes to complement the sweet-savory profile. Tamarind fans will find it as addictive as the original. The tartness makes it one of the more distinctive Cantaritos flavors.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Comparing Cantaritos to Other Hard Seltzers

Cantaritos Hard Sodas enter a crowded hard seltzer market with popular brands like White Claw, Truly and Bud Light Seltzer dominating shelves. However, Cantaritos differentiate themselves by focusing on fruit-forward soda flavors rather than malt beverages.

Here’s how Cantaritos stack up to the competition:

  1. Flavor – Cantaritos offer bolder, more authentic fruit flavors compared to some overly sweet hard seltzers. The flavors replicate the real juice profile of Jarritos sodas.
  2. Carbonation – Cantaritos have a medium level of carbonation, less fizzy than hard seltzers but more than wine or beer. This makes them smoother and more drinkable.
  3. ABV – At 5% ABV, Cantaritos provide a gentle kick of alcohol that integrates into the flavors instead of overpowering them. This makes them sessionable and approachable.
  4. Sweetness – Cantaritos aren’t as cloyingly sweet as some spiked seltzers. The flavors are bright and well-balanced between sweet and tart.

Overall, Cantaritos bring an appealing twist to the hard seltzer category with their authentic fruit soda flavors and moderate 5% ABV.

Who Should Buy Jarritos Hard Sodas?

Cantaritos Hard Sodas will appeal most to the following consumers:

  1. Fans of Jarritos sodas – People who already love the bright, fruity flavors of Jarritos will enjoy the hard versions. It’s an easy transition.
  2. Seekers of fruit-forward flavor – For those tired of artificial flavors in hard seltzers, Cantaritos offer much bolder, authentic fruit taste.
  3. Cocktail drinkers – These sodas can be used as a base for cocktails like the “Paloma Fuerte” or hard soda margaritas.
  4. Mexican food lovers – Cantaritos pair perfectly with Mexican dishes like tacos, ceviche, mole and more thanks to their fruit flavors.
  5. Moderation seekers – At just 5% ABV, Cantaritos allow you to enjoy the flavors and a gentle buzz without getting overloaded.

Cantaritos likely won’t appeal as much to hardcore seltzer drinkers seeking lower calories or higher alcohol content. But for fans of fruit flavor, these should hit the spot!

Where to Buy Jarritos Hard Sodas

Since they just launched in early 2023, Jarritos Hard Sodas are currently only available in California and Texas. Here are some of the best places to find them near me:

  1. Grocery Stores – Check Mexican specialty grocery stores as well as chains like HEB, Kroger, Safeway and Foodtown.
  2. Liquor Stores – Many local liquor stores sell Cantaritos, especially in Latino neighborhoods. Check with your local bottle shop.
  3. Convenience Stores – Jarritos sodas are commonly stocked at convenience stores like 7-Eleven, so keep an eye out for the hard versions.
  4. Online – Select online retailers like Handy and Instacart deliver Cantaritos in eligible regions.

Jarritos’ website has a product locator that can help find nearby stores carrying the hard sodas. Availability remains limited but should expand if these sodas grow popular.

Tips for Enjoying Jarritos Hard Sodas

Here are my tips for getting the most enjoyment out of Jarritos Hard Sodas:

  1. Chill thoroughly – Make sure to chill Cantaritos as cold as possible, at least 2 hours in the fridge or 30 minutes on ice. This helps the carbonation and flavors shine.
  2. Add lime – Adding a squeeze of fresh lime to each bottle enhances the flavors and adds extra citrus zip.
  3. Pair with food – Enjoy alongside tacos, ceviche, spicy wings, mole and more to complement the flavors.
  4. Make cocktails – Use Cantaritos as the base for margaritas, palomas or fruit punch cock

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