To kick tea up a notch, add in a touch of effervescence, and you’ve upgraded your regular ol’ iced tea to a sparkling one that can safely pass at any barbecue or summery pool party. This is just what a new wave of sparkling tea brands are serving up, in both boozy and non-boozy forms that are each incredibly refreshing.
“Canned teas have always been popular in the summer, but many older brands contain a lot of added sugars, which I’ve noticed the newer options do not.” —Keri Gans, RDN
When it comes to uber-trendy canned drinks, these sparkling teas present a fresh option for anyone who is fully seltzer’d out. (Nothing against seltzer, but it’s already had its literal and figurative moment in the sun.) While canned iced tea is nothing new, the latest sparkling tea brands bring new wellness perks to the table. “Canned teas have always been popular in the summer, but many older brands contain a lot of added sugars, which I’ve noticed the newer options do not,” says nutrition expert Keri Gans, RDN. Instead, they’re steeped with health benefit-boasting plants like jasmine and hibiscus, and infused with fresh fruits like blueberry and lime.
And of course, because they’re teas, they bring along some of the wholesome nutrition typically tied to the brewed beverage in a way that plain seltzer just can’t. “Tea is known for containing flavonoids which have antioxidant properties,” says Gans, “and research has shown that they may help decrease the risk for heart disease and even prevent certain cancers.”
That said, in terms of these particular sparkling teas, Gans adds that they likely won’t contain the same potency of tea leaves and healthy herbs as a regular cup of tea would, so you’re not going to be reaping the same level of rewards. And to be clear, alcohol is not considered a nutritious ingredient in any regard. So if you are reaching for one of boozy options, it’s best to view your bevvie as a low-sugar canned cocktail versus a wholesome iced tea or something that offers health benefits, and therefore should be consumed in moderation.
Even so, if you enjoy the taste and feel inspired to drink sparkling tea on a hot summer day, these lower-ABV (meaning alcohol-by-volume) teas will provide you with a new option that is far from the strong cocktails made with sugary mixers we have historically served at cookouts, says Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, the owner of Plant-Based Eats, in Stamford, Connecticut. “There are many hard iced teas emerging, and these are almost always lower in sugar and booze compared to the more decadent frozen cocktails that tend to be popular in the summer” she says. And again, as with any alcoholic beverage, the amount you consume matters, adds Gans. “In terms of the health profile, a hard sparkling tea is similar to a light beer or vodka soda, so when you’re choosing between those, it’s just a matter of which you enjoy most taste-wise.”
On that note, we have a few favorites—both boozy and non-boozy—all of which sport crisp bubbles, and herbal, fruity flavors that are just the right amount of sweet.
Here are five RD-approved sparkling teas for sipping your way through summer
Loverboy White Tea Peach 6-Pack — $14.00
While Loverboy has a few varieties of hard teas containing hibiscus and black teas, our favorite option taps white tea for a bright peachy, herbal taste. All the flavors are also lightly sweetened with monk fruit, which is a sugar alternative that won’t affect blood sugar.
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