The colorful LaCroix flavors, guilt-free branding, and refreshing taste have inspired many different uses for La Croix, from being used as a low-cal mixer for alcoholic drinks to even adding some zing to baked treats. La Croix sparkling water may not be the magical, mystical product it was when it first burst on the scene with all its bubbly, no-calorie goodness, but the beverage is still a cult favorite for many. Soda lovers have been able to ditch their evil carbonated ways but still get that carbonated feel that they crave, dieters can enjoy guzzling the treat down without it counting towards the calorie allotment for the day, and anyone on an all-natural diet can feel assured by La Croix's claim that all of their flavors are 100% natural. Yup, love it or hate it, La Croix is here to stay.
Fortunately for La Croix lovers, the beverage line has expanded its flavors from its early days (when it even offered just plain old sparking water with no flavor, can you imagine?) and fans can enjoy a wide array of flavors and flavor combinations. But just what are the best La Croix flavors? Let's take an official look at all of La Croix's offerings, with a definitive ranking of the best La Croix flavors, from top to bottom.
First up, we have to get the La Croix NiCola flavor out of the way, because I'm sorry, but it is just the worst. I get it if you want to drink a Coke beverage, I really do. There's something nostalgically refreshing about the original Coca-Cola soda product, with all its ties to a cocaine-infused drink that really pepped people up back in the day. But here's the thing: if you want to drink a Coke, you probably just need to drink a coke. Because an imitation form of Coke in La Croix form truly tastes like nothing more than watered down, super-old, totally stale Coke. And there's nothing delicious or refreshing about it.
First of all, it took me approximately 8 hours to find a picture of just plain old unflavored La Croix, which should give you a pretty good indication of how popular it is and yet, I still put it ahead of the NiCola flavor--that's how serious I am about Cola flavoring being disgusting in sparkling water. But it's true. Pure, unflavored sparkling water beats watered-down stale imitation Cola any day. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
The "Pure" flavor is one of LaCroix's original flavors and it's still holding strong for people who um, apparently, don't want any flavor in their life? Sparkling water was a "thing" long before LaCroix hit the shelves though, so we can chalk this flavor's longevity up to the purists among us. The Pure flavor comes in a blue can, so you know it's pure as the sparkling water of the ocean. Er, or something like that.
Next up, we have the plain old lemon flavor of LaCroix, which, for all intents and purposes, should be delicious. Most of us enjoy a nice slice of lemon in our ice waters (when we aren’t thinking about how germy and gross said slices probably are, or maybe that’s just me and my many warnings from sisters who have worked as waitresses in the past), so it would only make sense that we would then enjoy a refreshing tall glass of lemony goodness. And sometimes, a lemon LaCroix really can tickle the taste buds in just the right way. But other times, it just seems to be a little, well, lacking. There are just so many other delicious flavor varieties of lemon to enjoy that it’s hard to rank this one any higher.
Described on the LaCroix website as “the French translation for the word grapefruit,” the Pamplemousse flavor is meant to display a “show of humor from this all-American brand,” whatever that means, but essentially, allow me to break it down for you: it’s not very delicious. Maybe grapefruit is supposed to be more sophisticated or something, or maybe it’s the secret to what French women eat to stay so skinny all the time, but either way, I’m not buying it as a flavor that will rank high in my book. It just reminds me of the sad diet that my mom and I went on in the late 90’s where we all supposed to only eat grapefruit for breakfast and all I managed to do was squirt myself with burning grapefruit juice in my eyeball. Good memories.
According to the company, the Apricot flavor was a new addition to the LaCroix family in 2014 and has somehow managed to hold on ever since. LaCroix promises that apricot “brings a never-been-done-before flavor to the sparkling water aisle!” And while it may not have ever been done, that doesn’t necessarily mean it should be done, because apricot really is a flavor that almost seems like it should work, but definitely doesn’t work for everyone. You have to really be in an apricot kind-of-mood and I can’t say that I ever have been, so I’m ranking this one as low on the list.
I hate to do this to something that should be so pure and innocent as fresh berries, but this flavor of LaCroix is, unfortunately, just a tad overdone. It tastes like something I want to like, but yet, it just falls short. It’s like a flowery, washed-out version of something that tastes faintly of perfume. Berry is usually a pretty failproof flavor, but for the overall qualities that LaCroix is known for in terms of refreshment, originality, brightness, and flavor, Berry is just not “berry” delicious. (Sorry, it couldn’t be helped.) It’s passable if you’re in a pinch, but if you have more options, you will definitely want to reach for something other than berry.
As we reach our top 10 list, I admit that things are going to start getting a little difficult. We may disagree in some parts, we may exchange some harsh words, but overall, let me just say that the flavor distinctions and preferences among the top 10 LaCroix flavors here are extremely subtle. It is my belief that you can reach for any of the top 10 flavors and be very satisfied and frankly, my favorite LaCroix flavor changes with the season, my mood, the weather, or what I have left in my stash from my family stealing it. So, there’s that. For #10, I will just say that despite its berry association, the Cran-Raspberry gets a decent pass at fruity and refreshing, but not too artificial.
Another new flavor for 2014, LaCroix explains that “mangos are green on the outside with a slightly red hue on top when ripe, thus the can colors.” Very inventive, no? Mango is an interesting flavor that you will either love or hate, but I will say that the mango flavor isn’t exactly like biting into a mango. It’s more exciting than some of the other flavors, it doesn’t have any weird aftertaste, and it’s just interesting enough in a way that leaves you wanting just a little bit more. But be warned: it’s probably a flavor you will tire of shortly, so take this one in limited supply.
With a flavor profile that “combines the sweet smell of peach with a rounded pear taste,” according to the company, the Peach Pear flavor is one of the most popular flavors of LaCroix sparkling water, and for good reason. Perfect for any season, it delights with a perfectly balanced taste profile that’s hard to explain. I’ve even heard of some people ranking Peach Pear as one of their favorite LaCroix flavors and if you’re a purist who enjoys just a little bit of kick that’s still smooth, this flavor is definitely for you. It’s hard to say exactly why peach and pear work so well together, because in real life, they don’t seem to, but in a drink, we aren’t questioning their match.
Tangerine is a bit of an elusive flavor in some markets of the U.S., which is why I ranked it a little higher in my list. I once heard a podcast host rave about the Tangerine flavor and how good it was and how she could never find it anywhere in her home state of Michigan, and I admit that I was intrigued, although skeptical. In my mind, Tangerine flavors evoked memories of Tang drinks gulped warm by the pool as a kid in the Midest, not something I would willingly pay for as an adult woman (especially at LaCroix prices.) But when I finally got my hands on the Tangerine flavor, I admit it totally worked. It’s light and airy and thankfully, doesn’t taste like Tang at all.
I feel a bit ashamed to put Coconut so far down the list, because I love it so much, but I admit that it’s a bit of a controversial flavor. Some people love it; others think it’s too reminiscent of amateur attempts at mixing rum and associate it with unpleasant memories, which, I concede, is a valid reason to be wary of it. But in my mind, coconut sparking water is akin to something like a miracle, especially considering that you can mix it with any type of liquor and really have something delicious. Plus, it’s wonderful all on its own, so Coconut gets a thumbs-up in my book.
Passionfruit is one of the only LaCroix, flavors that is available nationwide, which pretty much explains its popularity. The Passionfruit flavor, while not one of the line’s most exciting flavors, is also a pretty standard staple. It’s reliable and it’s a safe bet to keep on hand to satisfy most palettes. You can’t just go wrong with Passionfruit and it, thankfully, doesn’t have any of that fake flowery taste going on, so you can feel comfortable serving it at a party or just stashing in your fridge for when you need a mindless pick-me-up. You can almost think of Passionfruit as the beer of sparkling water; it’s good in almost every occasion.
Cerise Limón, which translates to “Cherry Lime,” according to La Croix, is one of two new fantastique flavors inspired by two cultures, French & Spanish. The mixed flavor combination promises to have “bolder flavor than others,” and as a bonus, comes in one of La Croix’s new tall cans too. And if you’re wondering why, exactly, the new tall cans are a “bonus,” I’m going to tell you something that doesn’t make any sense, but is absolutely true: the tall cans of La Croix taste better. They just do. I think it has something to do with the scientific ratio of bubbles per ounce or something, but it’s a fact that any LaCroix lover knows.
And on that note, I present another one of LaCroix’s fancy tall cans with the kiwi sandía flavor. The website lists this particular flavor as containing “freshly cut, bright watermelon wedges and juicy slices of kiwi … now that is a perfect pairing!” and they are not wrong. It’s my personal belief that any of the tall can flavors can be reliably mixed or swapped with equally delightful results, but there is something about the mixture of watermelon and kiwi that evokes a classic throwback to youth, bright summer days, and delicious chunks of juicy watermelon, making it a great choice for hot days by the pool.
Officially called “muré pepino,” I am naming this one as the unofficial “cucumber and blackberry” flavor because that’s what it shows on the can. My sister swears to you all that the Cucumber and Blackberry is the #1 LaCroix flavor of all time and I will say that she’s not far off. It’s delicious. And like its sister flavors with different combinations, the taller can have more robust flavor profiles, more refreshing bubbly, and a cooler, more sophisticated feel. They just do. LaCroix describes this flavor’s secret as having “sweet & sour blackberry notes and the natural earthiness of crisp cucumber [to] create this unique new flavor combination.”
You can go ahead and fight me if you want about the #1 flavor of La Croix, but when it comes to refreshment from its bubbly depths, in my opinion, you just can't beat the new Key Lime flavor. It may have something to do with the fact that the first addictive sip of LaCroix that I ever tasted happened to be a lime flavor, so it's forever seared into my memory as a thing of wonder, but I also think there are some purely scientific facts backing Key Lime as the #1 LaCroix flavor: 1) it's bursting with flavor--unlike some of the other flavor choices, as great as they all are, they can be a bit lacking in terms of pure flavor. They may either taste too watered down or too "flowery," like a flavor that is trying to be too hard to be a flavor, if you know what I mean, but the Key Lime has the perfect combination. 2) You can mix Key Lime with virtually any alcoholic spirits of your choice and it's absolutely delicious in the summer. Any time you can make a mojito out of zero-calorie magic is a win in my book, so thank you for coming to this Ted Talk on why Key Lime is #1.