We Tried Hiball Energy Seltzers. Here's How It Went

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The seltzer revolution continues to transform the American grocery landscape. First, LaCroix started muscling in on Big Soda's territory. Then, White Claw totally upended the canned alcoholic beverage market, showing Americans that a fruitier, lighter alternative to beer could be delicious. Now it's the energy drink manufacturers' turn to face competition from an upstart seltzer maker.

Hiball Energy Seltzer aims to give you the caffeine jolt you need to get through the day without the questionable ingredients that you'll find in a lot of energy drinks. We love the idea of simply drinking a naturally-flavored, sugar-free seltzer to get through our 2 p.m. doldrums, but the virtuous ingredients don't matter if the product doesn't taste good. Hiball comes in seven flavors, and we were able to sample five of them (if you want to know about the Vanilla or Blackberry varieties, you're on your own). Read on to discover whether Hiball is worthy of claiming some of your valuable fridge space.

What's in Hiball Energy Seltzer?

Hiball Energy Seltzer basically has all the stuff you would expect to find in a normal energy drink sans the sweeteners. According to Hiball, the first ingredient is carbonated water. Next up on the list is the perpetually-mysterious "natural flavor," followed by caffeine, guarana, and ginseng. Those last three ingredients are all organic. Rounding out the list are vitamins B3, B5, B6, and B12.

The company notes that there are 160 milligrams of caffeine in each 16-ounce can, which is a fair bit. It's not as much as the 300 milligrams in a Bang, but it's the same as what you would get from drinking a can of Monster. We tasted the five flavors that were sent to us over the course of three days, and we felt like we were buzzing on caffeine the whole time. If you don't have a high caffeine tolerance, you might be set from drinking just half a can.

How much does Hiball Energy Seltzer cost and where can you buy it?

You can buy all seven flavors of Hiball directly from the manufacturer and have them shipped to your house if you live in the U.S. It's $23.99 for an eight-pack, which works out to approximately $3.00 per can. A can of Monster costs $2.79 at our local grocery store at the time of writing, so Hiball isn't much more expensive than other highly-caffeinated beverages. There's no quantity discount, although you do get free shipping if you buy $60 or more at one time. The Hiball site warns that you may potentially encounter shipping delays due to the pandemic.

You can also buy them from Amazon, though the price varies depending on which flavor you select. If going into a physical store is more your speed, there's a store locator on the Hiball website. Hiball Energy Seltzer is not a limited-time product, so it'll be available for the foreseeable future.


The most pertinent nutrition fact for Hiball Energy Seltzer is its calorie count: zero. That's a big difference from standard energy drinks that are loaded with sugar and/or high-fructose corn syrup. Of course, if you wanted a zero-calorie energy drink before, there were already options like Bang or the diet versions of Monster and Red Bull. However, diet drinks tend to be loaded with artificial sweeteners, which have their own potentially negative effects. If you're avoiding both sugar and sweeteners, Hiball might be just what you need to kickstart your day in a relatively healthful way.

One Hiball also includes 150% of your daily requirement of four different B vitamins, as well as the typical energy drink additives guarana and Panax ginseng. Guarana adds more caffeine to the drink, and it may have other benefits too, but the research is murky. Ginseng provides extra energy and can strengthen your immune system.

Watermelon Mint

We wanted to love this flavor because real watermelon and mint is one of the most refreshing flavor combinations on the planet. The sweetness of watermelon and the zestiness of mint complement each other so well that we had high hopes for this Hiball, but sadly, it didn't deliver. Watermelon is such a sugary, juicy flavor that it's hard to make a sugar-free, unsweetened seltzer taste convincingly like this summer fruit. Instead of tasting like watermelon, this had a generically sweet flavor with a mild aftertaste of watermelon candy. It was like drinking the memory of a Sour Patch Watermelon.

Strangely, we couldn't taste mint at all in this, even though we would expect mint to be an easy flavor to make in zero-calorie form. The longer we drank this, the more we noticed a savory, almost salty undertone to the flavor that reminded us of the Ocean Water variety of Sonic Hard Seltzers. While we wouldn't kick this Hiball out of bed if we needed something to jolt us awake in the morning, it was our least favorite of the bunch.


We have similar flavor notes for this one as for the Watermelon Mint. Once again, peach is a difficult flavor to translate if you aren't able to use sugar or at least some kind of artificial sweetener, so the peach flavor of this was quite muted. On the first sip, this tastes almost like unflavored seltzer and has the mildly bitter/sour flavor of CO2 from the bubbles. The peach flavor, which is reminiscent of gummy peach rings, comes in mostly at the end of the sip. We noticed that as this warmed up, it started to taste sweeter and peachier than when it was ice-cold, and we liked it more when it was closer to room temperature.

The Peach, Watermelon Mint, and Wild Berry flavors of Hiball all taste slightly chemically. We suspect that this is the taste of the caffeine, ginseng, guarana, and vitamins breaking through the natural flavorings trying to cover them up. In a standard energy drink, this isn't such a big deal, as those additives are masked by the intense Monster/Red Bull/Rainbow Unicorn/etc. flavor.

Wild Berry

It's time to get wild. The fruit flavoring of this one is definitely stronger than the previous two, which helps hide the energy drink/health supplement flavor a bit more. It's still present, but it's less noticeable. While the label said berry, this reminded us mostly of black cherry, which was definitely not a bad thing. It was both sweeter and less acidic than the Watermelon Mint and Peach flavors. On the aftertaste, we noticed a distinct bubblegum undertone. The aroma of this variety reminded us a little bit of SweeTARTS, with a balance of sweet, sour, and chalky.

Like all the flavors of Hiball, Wild Berry has a decent but not overpowering level of carbonation, with a generous amount of medium-sized bubbles. It has the same texture as a LaCroix or any other normal sparkling water, with no hint of thickness to let you know it has extra caffeine and nutrients mixed in.

Lemon Lime

On our first sip of Lemon Lime Hiball, we thought it would run away with the competition because it's a major improvement over the previous three flavors. It's a legitimately delightful and refreshing lemon-lime seltzer with no discernible off aftertaste. If we didn't know this was an energy seltzer, we'd think we were drinking a normal, non-caffeinated flavored seltzer. It's not sweet at all, but it also doesn't have the strange bitter and sour flavors we noticed in the other Hiball varieties. The lime definitely dominates the lemon, but that didn't bother us. The strongest flavor notes are lime peel and lime oil, and they taste real. We would guess that limes were actually used at some point during the making of this beverage.

Despite the lack of sweetness, this made us think of Sprite or 7UP. We can unreservedly recommend this to people who want a healthier alternative to energy drinks or who are looking for a zero-calorie caffeine boost that's not black coffee.


We weren't expecting to think highly of the Grapefruit Hiball, but you know what they say about assumptions. Often, grapefruit-flavored products taste overly bitter or medicinal to us, so we thought this would give us an unpleasant double-dose of puckery flavor from both the grapefruit and the energy supplements. Shockingly, this was even more delicious than the Lemon Lime. Clearly, citrus flavors do the best job at covering up the taste of energy drink ingredients, because the two citrus varieties of Hiball are in a totally different class compared to their siblings.

This Hiball tasted like real grapefruit with the bitterness surgically removed. It had a nice citrusy flavor with some surprisingly complex floral undertones. It had a mild sweetness to it that didn't detract from the fruit flavor, and it smelled like grapefruit juice. We enjoyed this more than we have enjoyed the grapefruit variety of several normal seltzer brands, which is a real achievement for an energy seltzer.