This story was updated in August 2023.
All you 80s and 90s babies who grew up on Arizona iced tea, brace yourself for this news: Arizona makes hard iced tea now and it's everything you could ever want in a nostalgic, alcoholic blast from the past. (Well, mostly, but we'll get to that.)
I first discovered hard Arizona tea when a friend posted a picture of a variety pack on social media. I immediately looked it up at my go-to liquor stores here in Wisconsin, but there was no trace of it. Turns out, he got it across the border in Illinois, about an hour from here. I'm always looking for a good excuse to head to H-Mart and Burt's Place, so I made a run for the border myself the next weekend.
What Does Arizona Hard Iced Tea Taste Like?
If you're already dreading the billion hard seltzers at summer parties this year, Arizona Hard Iced Tea will knock you right out of that White Claw funk. It's really good, and it's sure to be a hit at whatever party you bring it to.
I know a lot of people say "oh this doesn't taste like alcohol" when they describe a malt beverage, but that's code for "there's enough sugar to cover the cheap alcohol." This stuff really doesn't taste like alcohol. While all three Arizona hard iced teas are sweet, they're more like Arizona's non-boozy iced teas than that terrible Mike's Hard Lemonade you drank in college. If they sound intriguing to you, they're worth buying.
Which Arizona Hard Iced Tea is the Best?
I took the variety pack to a friend's party, and here's how we ranked the three Arizona Hard Iced Tea flavors:
1. Arizona Hard Iced Tea with lemon
Everyone agreed that Arizona Hard Iced Tea with lemon was the best of the three hard Arizona teas in the variety pack by far. It manages to be light and have a refreshing taste without carbonation, and you can taste both black tea and lemon without either flavor overpowering the other. You can barely even tasted the alcohol. This is the hard Arizona tea I'll be buying in big cans.
2. Arizona Hard Iced Tea with peach
Lemon was followed closely by Arizona Hard Iced Tea with peach (it really just depends on your peach proclivities). It's also a great rendition of its virgin form — I actually like it better than the regular Arizona peach tea. The peach flavor is strong, so if you're not a peach person, this isn't for you. Luckily the peach tastes more like actual fruit — they're made with "real fruit juice" according to the website — than peach candy.
3. Arizona Hard Green Tea
Things go way, way downhill once we get to the Arizona Hard Green Tea. This iconic sea foam green-hued can is the brand's flagship drink, and it's incredible in its typical form. But the hard version is practically undrinkable, which is a real head scratcher considering how good the other two flavors are.
It's very malty with a weird hint of chocolate, kind of like Guinness, and nothing like green tea. In virgin form, this is the Arizona tea flavor that's the most subtle, so I think it must have been much more difficult to translate into a boozy rendition.
Where Can You Buy Arizona Hard Iced Tea?
Arizona Hard Iced Tea is available in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans, or in true Arizona fashion, big 22-ounce single cans. It's not distributed everywhere in the U.S. yet, but based on what an employee at my local Total Wine & More told me, it should be hitting more states (or at least Wisconsin) soon. You can check the locator on the Arizona Hard website to see if it's available near you.
Cheapism has reached out to Arizona for comment and will update this article if and when we hear back.
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