13 Spiked Tea Brands, Ranked

Various cans of spiked tea
Various cans of spiked tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

There are few beverages more refreshing than good old iced tea, and as it turns out, the same can be said for spiked iced tea, too. There's a good chance you've seen Twisted Tea at the grocery store, and perhaps if you're a big iced tea fan, you've even dabbled in a popular hard tea brand during the warmer months. Well, for those who are huge iced tea enthusiasts, you'll be pleased to know that there's actually a decent variety of spiked iced tea out there, some of them coming from brands that you might not initially expect.

To pinpoint the perfect summer beverage, I've sampled 13 hard tea brands and have ranked them from worst to best. While some brands have several flavors of hard tea out there — like Lipton, Loverboy, and AriZona, to name a few — I only sampled one flavor from each brand to get a fair picture of representation. Basing this ranking on flavor and how easy the tea was to sip (because some of them were distinctly hard to choke down), I've compiled a definitive ranking of spiked tea that you can use as a guide for summer sipping and beyond.

Some recommendations are based on first-hand impressions of promotional materials and products provided by the manufacturer/distributor/etc.

Read more: 15 Popular Hard Seltzer Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

13. VooDoo Ranger Hardcharged Tea

VooDoo Ranger hard tea can
VooDoo Ranger hard tea can - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

As someone who has enjoyed VooDoo Ranger beer in the past, when I saw that the brand also offered a hard tea — or a hardcharged tea, rather — I was pretty stoked. What could possibly go wrong with a hard tea, and one infused with a fresh lemon flavor at that?

Unfortunately, quite a bit can go wrong in a single can of hard tea, and much to my dismay, VooDoo Ranger earned the dead last spot on this list. The problems first arose the moment I took a sip; even the smallest of sips perplexed my taste buds, as I was expecting something that tasted like tea and instead was met with a sweet, cloying flavor that was almost impossible to get off of my palate. The lemon flavor completely overpowers this tea, which wouldn't necessarily be a problem if it tasted like actual lemon juice. After a few sips, I was finally able to pinpoint what the lemon flavor reminded me of, which is Lemonhead candy — you know, those overly sweet, rock-hard candies that boast an artificial lemon flavor.

A win, very possibly, for those Lemonhead fans out there. But for those who are looking for a smooth beverage to enjoy, VooDoo Ranger's hardcharged tea just isn't it.

12. Hoop Tea

Can of Hoop spiked tea
Can of Hoop spiked tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

I hadn't heard of Hoop Tea before, but once I saw the spiked iced tea cans, I was instantly intrigued by the brand's minimalist approach. The can itself looked harmless enough, and there was no sign of any added flavor other than straight spiked tea — no lemon, no peach, not even necessarily excess sugar. So, I had moderately high hopes for Hoop Tea, but it didn't take long before those hopes were crushed.

Despite not boasting additional flavors on the can itself, there was plenty of lemon flavor in the actual tea — and similarly to VooDoo Ranger, it was a very cloying, overly sweet kind of lemon. At the very least, Hoop Tea doesn't taste like Lemonhead candy, hence earning a spot slightly above its predecessor. That's not to say that this hard tea is good, however, because I was struggling to get through even half a can — and these are small cans.

If there's one positive I can give to Hoop tea, it's that it does have a distinct tea flavor at first sip. That tea flavor is immediately destroyed by the lemon aftertaste, which is then followed by an artificial taste that I found hard to pinpoint. Needless to say, there's a big clash of flavors going on in such a tiny can, and there are simply better hard teas out there.

11. Captain Morgan Long Island Iced Tea

Captain Morgan iced tea
Captain Morgan iced tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Yes, yes, we know — a Long Island iced tea is a cocktail, and one that doesn't actually contain real tea. That said, it still felt appropriate to include a few Long Island iced teas on this list, particularly for those who want something tea-adjacent in a can but perhaps want something a little stronger. Coming in at 8% alcohol by volume (notably higher than most teas on this list, which typically hover around 5%), Captain Morgan's sliced up Long Island iced tea certainly delivers on the higher alcohol content. But does it deliver on flavor?

Unsurprisingly, no, this Long Island iced tea did not deliver the flavor I was expecting. In fact, it delivered very little flavor at all, which I found to be incredibly confusing. I kept waiting for a strong flavor profile — however bad or good — to hit my palate, but this tea just tasted like watered-down nothing. No distinct liquor flavors, no cola flavor, just a very bland malt beverage that I simply never see myself repurchasing. This tea is an odd one, ranking low not because of any particularly oppressive flavors, but because the flavor was lacking a little too much to really be worth anyone's time.

10. BeatBox Hard Tea

BeatBox hard tea carton
BeatBox hard tea carton - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Who knew that BeatBox made hard tea? I certainly hadn't known; but now that I do know, it's information I somewhat wish to unlearn. One glance at the carton and you can probably figure out what made this BeatBox hard tea such an interesting one to sample — yes, the whopping 11.1% alcohol by volume would be the reason. An ABV commonly found in bottles of wine, this unsuspecting little carton of hard tea was guaranteed to pack a punch from the get-go, and not necessarily in a good way.

Let's start with the positives: This hard tea did actually taste like tea, at least at first, which is something I was really not expecting at all. Unlike with some of the other teas on this list, however, the alcohol content was very, very apparent — and even after one sip, I felt like it might be unwise to carry on. The consistency of the liquid was also a bit strange with this one, as it was quite thick and almost syrupy.

If you're simply looking for something to get the party started at a rapid speed, then perhaps you'll enjoy BeatBox's rendition of hard tea. If you're looking for something to more casually sip on, however, then I would not recommend this strong beverage as a viable option.

9. Jack Daniel's Hard Tea

Jack Daniel's hard tea can
Jack Daniel's hard tea can - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Jack Daniel's, a brand perhaps best known for its whiskey, has a line of hard tea that unfortunately doesn't fare super well amidst a sea of better options. That said, there are no overtly offensive flavors in the original hard tea. So if you're a big fan of Jack Daniel's as a brand, you may be so inclined to give the hard tea a swing. Something else I appreciated about this tea is that it was definitely sweet (they all are, so it's hard to fault them too hard for it) but not excessively sweet. This one went down easy enough, though I certainly didn't find myself wanting to drink the whole can, or even half of it for that matter.

The biggest issue I had with Jack Daniel's hard tea is it didn't really taste like hard tea. Instead, it just tasted like a vaguely flavored malt beverage with no distinct flavor notes to grab onto, not even lemon. This one left me wanting a bit more, and considering how bad some of the teas on this list are, that's not the worst crime a hard tea could commit. But if you're going to make a hard tea, it should probably actually taste like tea at least a little bit.

8. Dunkin' Spiked Iced Tea

Can of Dunkin' Spiked tea
Can of Dunkin' Spiked tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Though many people associate Dunkin' with coffee and just maybe with donuts, the popular chain also sells iced tea — and, as it turns out, Dunkin' sells spiked iced tea in can form. Though Dunkin's coffee can be hit or miss, I've always found its iced tea to be strongly brewed, delightfully sweet, and overall, consistently very good. So, if that goodness were somehow captured in spiked tea form, it would be a real game-changer in terms of go-to spiked tea.

Alas, such iced tea magic was not captured in hard canned form, and the Dunkin' Spiked slightly sweet iced tea left me mostly disappointed. The biggest issue here was, despite a claim of being brewed with real tea, there wasn't much actual tea flavor to be found. Instead, this spiked tea tasted peculiarly like juice, but perhaps it was just the exorbitant amount of sugar contributing to that. Don't be fooled by the can's claim of being slightly sweet — this stuff is very sweet, and after a few swigs, my throat was burning from the sugar, alcohol, or perhaps both. Needless to say, that's not exactly the memory you want to hold onto after drinking a can of hard tea.

7. The Original Clubtails Long Island Iced Tea

Clubtails Long Island iced tea
Clubtails Long Island iced tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Another canned Long Island iced tea graces this list — this time, it's from The Original Clubtails, and a can of this potent stuff boasts a whopping 10% ABV. After the disappointment that was Captain Morgan's Long Island iced tea, my hopes for Clubtails' version were virtually nonexistent. But luckily, I was proven somewhat wrong, as this canned cocktail wasn't all too bad — and certainly a step up from the other one on this list.

Interestingly, this Long Island iced tea almost tasted like straight-up Coca-Cola at first, which is fitting considering that a Long Island iced tea typically features a splash of Coke. I ultimately didn't expect a canned cocktail to be able to capture such a bubbly consistency, but this Long Island iced tea was nice and fizzy, which made the beverage much more palatable than if it were flat. The downfall of this drink comes down to two factors. One, it's not the most refreshing thing to sip on, and I really couldn't picture a reality where I'd want to down an entire can, even over the course of several hours. Two, there are simply tastier, more refreshing teas out there.

6. AriZona Hard Iced Tea

Can of AriZona hard tea
Can of AriZona hard tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

AriZona has an impressive line-up of teas out there, so it makes sense that the brand would foray into the realm of hard tea sooner or later. Enter the AriZona hard iced tea with lemon, a tea I certainly thought would rank a little higher on this list. This hard tea isn't bad, but it just isn't as good as I was anticipating, especially since non-alcoholic AriZona teas always hit the spot on a hot day.

Though there are hints of classic AriZona tea flavor to be found in this alcohol-infused drink, there just wasn't enough to make this one worthwhile. Much like so many other teas on this list, the lemon flavor was a bit too artificial and a bit too strong for my liking. At first, the tea almost tastes watered down, then you get hints of classic tea flavor, and then everything is overwhelmed by that lemon flavor. Diehard AriZona fans may reach for this hard tea option as their go-to, but there are better options out there — and ones that manage to incorporate lemon flavor more successfully.

5. Lipton Hard Iced Tea

Lipton Hard Iced Tea can
Lipton Hard Iced Tea can - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Lipton is an absolute staple in the tea world, so naturally, the brand has forayed into the land of hard canned tea. Much to my relief, Lipton has succeeded in creating a tasty hard tea, as proven by its hard half and half iced tea. In sampling this flavor, I was really risking it being overpowered by lemon. But luckily, Lipton hard iced tea proved there is a way to balance lemon flavor with iced tea that doesn't involve cloying sweetness.

Now, this drink definitely is sweet, but I found it to be one of the most mellow hard teas on this list. Also, it does have a distinct tea flavor, which is followed up by a lemonade flavor that's mostly good; there is a subtle artificialness to the lemonade portion of the flavor, but since so many of the teas have that flavor, I really couldn't fault Lipton for it. This half and half tea is definitely easy to sip on, and aside from a slight burn going down (which I attribute to the alcohol), it'd be very easy to throw back a can (or two) of this stuff. The only reason this tea doesn't rank higher is because the competition is pretty stiff from here on out.

4. 2 Hoots Hard Iced Tea

2 Hoots hard tea can
2 Hoots hard tea can - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

Sometimes, the simplest formulas are the ones that work out best, and I found that to be the case with 2 Hoots hard iced tea. There isn't a ton of flavor complexity going on here, but that was more than okay with me after foraying into some less than desirable flavor profiles with other teas on this list. With every sip, you'll find a nice, subtle tea flavor marked with a hint of lemon — not too much lemon, but just enough to make itself known without being overpowering. Also, I'd argue that 2 Hoots had the most fresh-tasting lemon flavor out of all the teas on this list that include lemon.

Another thing that really stuck out about this hard tea was the liquid itself. Though the tea is notably not carbonated, it had a certain fizziness to it that I found really refreshing. Not quite carbonated or sparkling but a step up from being completely flat, I felt that the slight tinge of fizz made this drink very easy to sip on. Not too sweet and not too strong, 2 Hoots is a solid option for when you want a hard tea and could see yourself drinking more than one in a given period of time.

3. Nasty Beast Hard Tea

Nasty Beast hard tea can
Nasty Beast hard tea can - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

I was concerned when I discovered that Monster — as in the energy drink brand — has a line of hard teas, fittingly named Nasty Beast at that. Nothing about this can really appealed to me, and it was hard to envision a beverage that wouldn't taste super acidic and borderline radioactive. Well, if there's one thing Nasty Beast taught me, it's that you should never judge a hard tea by its can, because this beverage was actually incredibly tasty.

Something I really enjoyed about Nasty Beast is that there was no hint of lemon to be found. No, this stuff just tasted like crisp, fresh sweet tea, with no cloying lemon flavor bogging it down. While there was a slight burn from the alcohol, I'd argue this hard tea tasted the most like straight-up tea than any of the others. The only slight con is it's very sweet, so I can't really picture how I'd be able to drink more than one of these at a given time. When the desire for sweet tea with an alcoholic kick arises, however, Nasty Beast would be the option I'd reach for without a doubt.

2. Loverboy Sparkling Hard Tea

Can of Loverboy hard tea
Can of Loverboy hard tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

A common theme in nearly all of the hard teas on this list is that they're very, very sweet. For some, that sweetness works to their advantage, while for others, it marks their downfall. Loverboy sparkling hard tea sort of falls into a category all its own, because while it does have a certain sweetness to it, there's 0 grams of sugar in a can — an impressive feat amongst a sea of hyper-sweet teas.

Loverboy has a whole range of hard tea flavors, though I specifically sampled the lemon iced tea flavor, which is also "kissed with ginger," per the can. I was definitely impressed with this tea. It wasn't too sweet, the lemon flavor wasn't oppressive, and the ginger really was the cherry on top. Also, unlike nearly every other tea on this list, Loverboy teas are carbonated — a big plus for me, as I felt that the carbonation made the drink taste much more refreshing.

My only complaint with this tea, if you could call it that, is that it's hard to justify saying this tea was merely "kissed" with ginger. The ginger took over the whole flavor profile of the drink. As someone who loves that sweet-spicy taste, I was all for it. But if you don't like ginger, then you'll definitely want to give one of Loverboy's other flavors a go.

1. Twisted Tea

Can of Twisted Tea
Can of Twisted Tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

It's pretty hard to imagine any hard tea out there dethroning Twisted Tea, and after muddling through the good, the bad, and the ugly, I can safely say that Twisted Tea, a malt beverage, is the king of hard tea. There's such a balance of flavor in a can of Twisted Tea that so many other brands just haven't nailed down and perhaps never will; the tea flavor itself is strong and sweet but not too sweet. Also, like the 2 Hoots hard tea, Twisted Tea also has a certain fizziness to it. It's not carbonated, but it's not completely flat — so even if you drink this stuff warm, you'd probably still find it at least a little bit refreshing.

Twisted Tea's biggest strength is its undeniable smoothness — it doesn't burn as it goes down, it doesn't taste overly alcoholic, and there are no cloying flavors bogging it down. Simple but balanced, Twisted Tea proves that sometimes the most tried-and-true drinks are the ones worth going back to time and time again.


Various cans of spiked tea
Various cans of spiked tea - Julia Duda/Tasting Table

When ranking these spiked teas, the biggest factor came down to how good they tasted. I determined flavor success based on how refreshing the tea was, how balanced the flavor felt, and whether or not it was overly sweet or had a single flavor that overpowered the whole thing in a bad way (like lemon flavor did with so many of the teas). I also considered how enjoyable the teas would be if you were to have more than one in a given session.

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