How to Make Hard Seltzer at Home

How to Make Hard Seltzer at Home

Warmer weather is just around the corner so why not get started on your summer drinks? Hard seltzer is popular and delicious and can be easily made with moonshine. Check out how to make hard seltzer at home. 

What is Hard Selzter? 






Hard seltzer is a popular and refreshing alcoholic drink that consists of bubbling or sparkling water, alcohol and flavoring. It is typically made similarly to beer. Instead of fermenting and distilling your ingredients, you simply need to ferment and add bubbles.

Hard seltzer can be enjoyed all year around, but is a popular option for summer because it is light and refreshing. Many choose to drink a hard seltzer instead of a denser option such as beer because it is typically lighter in calories. 

Buying hard seltzer can be expensive, especially if you plan on entertaining. Fortunately, there are many ways to make it yourself at home. 


How to Make Hard Seltzer



Hard seltzer is made by fermenting a neutral base, typically made from a combination of water, sugar, and sometimes malted barley or other grains. The base is then mixed with yeast, usually a champagne or wine yeast, to kickstart the fermentation process. The fermentation process converts the sugars into alcohol and carbon dioxide, resulting in a fizzy, alcoholic beverage.

After fermentation, the seltzer is often clarified using techniques such as filtration or fining agents to achieve a clear, crisp appearance. Finally, flavorings can be added to the seltzer to create different varieties, such as fruit extracts, natural flavors, or even botanicals.

While the process may sound simpler than making traditional moonshine, some find it much more complicated. Many recipes require you to add carbonation to the seltzer when putting the ingredients in bottles or a keg. This process can be intimidating, however, it is not the only means to make hard seltzer. 

The Growing Popularity of Hard Seltzer




Hard seltzer has surged in popularity in recent years, largely due to its appeal as a low-calorie, low-carb alternative to traditional alcoholic beverages.


With more people becoming health-conscious, hard seltzer offers a refreshing and fizzy option that doesn't compromise on flavor.


It's also an attractive option for those looking to cut back on their sugar and carbohydrate intake.

In response to this growing demand, commercial seltzer producers and homebrewers alike have been experimenting with different flavors and techniques to create unique seltzer offerings.

This has led to a wide variety of options on the market, including fruit-infused flavors, botanical blends, and even spicy or savory seltzers. The versatility and customizable nature of hard seltzer have further contributed to its appeal, allowing consumers to find a flavor that suits their personal taste preferences.

Another great way to customize your hard seltzer to suit your preferences is to make it yourself. By experimenting with your own favorite flavorings, you can truly create a unique product specific to your own tastes. 


The ingredients used to make hard seltzer traditionally include sugar, water, yeast and yeast nutrients. The ingredients are then fermented and carbonation is added. 

However, there is another way to create a delicious hard seltzer from the comforts of home. By creating a simple flavored moonshine and adding sparkling water, you can create a delicious hard seltzer easily. 



The base of this hard seltzer is a traditional moonshine. We suggest doing multiple distillations to create a strong and neutral spirit. While you can use any of our moonshine recipes, we suggest making a sugar shine to keep the process simple. 


Traditional Hard Seltzer Alcoholic Base




To create the alcoholic base, start by adding the desired amount of water to the sugar in a large container. Stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. If using distilled or reverse osmosis (RO) water, you may also need to add salts to provide essential minerals for yeast fermentation.

Next, test the pH of the solution and adjust as needed by adding either phosphoric acid or lactic acid. The pH should ideally be around 4.0 to 4.5 for the fermentation process to occur effectively. Add the acid in small increments, stirring and testing the pH each time until the desired level is reached.

Once the alcoholic base is prepared, it is ready for the addition of yeast to begin the fermentation process.

Get our sugar shine recipe

Neutral Spirit or Champagne Yeast




When making hard seltzer, it is essential to use yeast strains that can ferment clean and dry, while imparting minimal color, flavor, and aroma to the finished product. Two recommended options for yeast strains are neutral spirit yeasts and champagne yeasts.

Another option to consider is any neutral ale yeast strain, as these are also known for their ability to ferment cleanly and contribute minimal flavor and aroma to the final product. These yeast strains are commonly used in neutral base alcoholic beverages such as hard seltzer, where the goal is to have a light, refreshing drink without any unwanted yeast-derived characteristics.


Fermentable sugar 



To properly address the use of fermentable sugar in seltzer production, it is important to choose the right type of sugar. Corn sugar and cane sugar are commonly used in the fermentation process due to their high fermentable content.



Dexatrose for Moonshine


For a 4.0% alcohol by volume (ABV) base, approximately 1 pound of fermentable sugar per gallon of water is recommended. This will provide enough fermentable material for the yeast to convert into alcohol during the fermentation process.


If you need to adjust the ABV, you can simply add more sugar to increase it or dilute the mixture with water to lower it. Keep in mind that the amount of sugar needed to achieve a specific ABV may vary based on the efficiency of the fermentation process and the type of yeast used.





When creating hard seltzer, it is recommended to use high-quality flavorings such as tropical citrus, as well as other purees and beverage infusions. These flavorings will add a refreshing and natural taste to the seltzer, enhancing the overall drinking experience.

There are two different options when adding flavoring to your hard seltzer. When bottling your seltzer, you can add the flavorings directly to the glass rather than to the brite tank or keg.

By adding the flavorings directly to the glass, it allows for better control over the intensity of the flavor and ensures that the seltzer retains its crisp and clean characteristics. This method also allows for more flexibility as different individuals can add their preferred amount of flavoring to their drink.

How to Make Seltzer with Moonshine


 When making a hard seltzer with moonshine there are two different options: you can make your seltzer with a non-flavored moonshine or make your seltzer with a flavored moonshine. 

If you make your seltzer with a flavored moonshine, you can simply add sparkling water by purchasing it or making it with a machine such as a soda stream. 

You can also make your seltzer witih a neutral moonshine and add flavoring as well as sparkling water. 

Incorporating real-fruit flavors into beverages such as hard seltzers is a process that requires careful consideration of both flavor and safety. 

Using real fruit juice is important to achieve authentic flavors in beverages. However, there are potential risks involved, such as the introduction of natural sugars that could ferment further and create off-flavors or increase the alcohol content beyond intended levels.

Different methods for adding fruit juice to beverages include cold-pressing the fruit, using purees or concentrates, or even utilizing natural flavor extracts. Each method has its own considerations for maintaining quality and safety standards, such as filtering to remove pulp or pasteurizing to kill off any harmful bacteria.






Carbonating hard seltzer can be done through either bottling or kegging. For bottling, one option is to dose each bottle with a small amount of priming sugar and yeast, which will allow for natural carbonation to occur as the yeast consumes the sugar.

Another method is kegging, where the hard seltzer is transferred into a keg and then force carbonated using a CO2 tank. This method is quicker and requires less time for carbonation to take place.

When kegging, it's important to set the pressure on the CO2 tank to the appropriate level for carbonating the hard seltzer, typically around 30 psi. The keg can also be shaken gently to help speed up the carbonation process.

Ultimately, both bottling with priming sugar and yeast and kegging with force carbonation are effective methods for carbonating hard seltzer. The choice between the two will depend on personal preference, time constraints, and equipment availability.

How to Make Hard Seltzer with Carbonated Water



Carbonated water is a broad term used to describe water that has been infused with carbon dioxide gas under pressure, resulting in bubbles and fizziness.

Soda water, sparkling water, and seltzer water are all forms of carbonated water, but they have some differences. Soda water typically contains added minerals, such as sodium bicarbonate or potassium sulfate, which can give it a slightly salty or mineral-like taste.

Sparkling water is naturally carbonated from a spring or well, and often contains various minerals from the source, giving it a distinctive taste. Seltzer water, on the other hand, is simply carbonated water with no added minerals or flavors.


Homemade seltzer water can be made using a variety of methods, including using a SodaStream or other home infusion machine, or by simply adding carbon dioxide gas to still water using a carbonation system.


These methods allow for customization of the carbonation level and can be more cost-effective than purchasing pre-made carbonated water.

The natural carbonation process of sparkling water occurs when carbon dioxide is naturally dissolved in the water, often resulting in a slightly effervescent and refreshing flavor. Artificially carbonated soda water and seltzer water may have a more pronounced and consistent bubbly texture, and may lack the subtle mineral flavors found in sparkling water.



Equipment Needed to Make Hard Seltzer


To make hard seltzer you can either ferment your ingredients without distilling, or ferment and distill ingredients as you would typically with a homemade spirit. 

Our Moonshine Cherry is a compact moonshine still that offers an easy set-up, is simple to operate and produces great shine. 

The Moonshine Cherry operates at the touch of a button, with an internal fan for cooling. This means there is no need for an external water pump. You simple plug in your Cherry and you are ready to start distilling. It couldn't be any easier to start making your own shine.