I have a not particularly surprising confession to make. I like sparkling water. I blame a trip to my old job’s Boston office, where I grabbed a bottle of sparkling water from the cafeteria on accident, thinking I had grabbed lime flavored flat water. In the time since then, I’ve made somewhat of an effort to try to replace some of my pop consumption with sparkling water.
I’m not terribly picky about sparkling water brands. I’ll buy whatever’s on sale typically. Most brands do have one flavor that they do better than other brands. For example, La Croix does grapefruit/pamplemousse (and cherry-lime) better than anyone else, Schweppes makes great black cherry water, and Simply Balanced1Yes. Target’s generic brand of all things. has an awesome lime flavor. That said, if nothing’s on sale, I will buy Dasani over other brands. It’s not really a brand loyalty thing — when it comes to pop, I buy pretty much everything but Coke products — I just think that Dasani does enough flavors well that I get some variety to my beverage choices. Plus La Croix lists have been done to death. Seriously. Even writers in the city with the worst food in the world feel the need to talk about how superior La Croix is to everything else.
So…how do I rank the 142As of July 1, 2018. flavors of sparkling water that Dasani offers? My list from 13 through 1 is below. There are two flavors — tropical pineapple and strawberry guava3See the note below. — I’ve yet to try. If I do try either of those at some point in the near future4Read: before Dasani adds a new flavor that I’m made aware of., I’ll add them to this list. If only Dasani had a cherry-lime flavor…
Also, this post isn’t sponsored by Dasani, the Coca-Cola company, or any other brand in any way. That said, if someone wants to throw money at me to drink their sparkling water, I’m listening.
Update (Sep 2019): I’ve now had strawberry guava, as I found it at the store. I’ve added it to this list.
As a fruit, watermelon is an enjoyable, if not iconic part of the summertime experience in most of the United States. It’s a sweet, mouthwatering fruit that pairs well as a dessert with so many of the hottest part of the year’s best cookout foods. As an artificial flavoring though, watermelon is genuinely the worst thing you could possible make. It’s not just that watermelon flavoring is bad — it’s that it’s such a disappointment in comparison to real watermelon. Don’t even bother with this flavor.
If I wanted flavorless water, I’d buy actual Dasani. Herein lies what baffles me so much about Dasani sparkling water. Their bottled water isn’t good. It has a weird plasticy aftertaste that no other bottled water has. I bought it from time to time in high school, but that was only because our school’s water fountains pumped out a chalky off-white fluid that could barely legally claim to be water. Even Dasani was an improvement over that. But for a brand that makes bottle water that is subpar, Dasani does a really good job with their sparkling water.
11. White Peach
Meh. Peach suffers from the same problems as watermelon (both in terms of this sparkling water and as a fruit). The only reason peach gets the nod here over watermelon is because it isn’t quite as much of a punch you in the mouth flavor as watermelon is.
10. Strawberry Guava
This smells amazing. The problem is that it tastes like nothing. It’s like if you took a drink of tap water after you kissed a strawberry. By default, that makes it better than everything below it, but that’s more because I like strawberries more than peaches and watermelon.
9. Pear Kiwi
I’d love to hear the conversations in the flavor mixing room when pear kiwi was decided on. Kiwi is one of my favorite fruits. It goes good with so many things. Of course, the most iconic fruit to mix kiwi with is strawberry. It’s a great mix of sweet and tart. That said, it’s clearly not the only option — you could do raspberry kiwi, kiwi lime, kiwi kumquat5I really just wanted to work kumquat into this post somehow., even banana kiwi6Best yogurt and fruit combo I’ve had recently? Vanilla yogurt (not greek) with banana, kiwi, blueberry, and brown sugar. From a turnpike gas station, no less!. And yet you decide kiwi goes best with…pear? The shortbread cookie of the fruit world? I mean, yeah, it’s a flavor, but it’s not a particularly pleasing one. Of the bad flavors of Dasani — and there’s not that many — this one is the best. It’s the Joe Thomas on the 2017 Cleveland Browns of bad Dasani flavors.
8. Raspberry Lemonade
I’m a big fan of lemonade in general, particularly flavored lemonades. The rise of brands like Simply Lemonade have made flavored lemonades more easily accessible, much to my delight. That said, part of the appeal to drinking lemonade — or most fruit juices like lemonade, orange juice, or limeade — is that you get both the strong flavor of the fruit(s) in question, as well as the pulp of the fruit7My wife and I have strongly opposed opinions on this. It’s one of the very few areas where I’m right.. The raspberry lemonade Dasani tastes like essence of raspberry lemonade. As sparkling water should. But when it comes to lemonade flavor, the essence of the flavor is a disappointment. It’s raspberry lemonade, so it’s still good…but not as good as it could be.
7. Meyer Lemon
For those unfamiliar with the meyer lemon, it’s basically the traditional lemon’s smaller, sweeter cousin. As someone who regularly puts lemon in my water at restaurants, I will say this is flavor does not taste like that. At all. It’s still a good flavor though, if for no other reason than the sweetness is a nice departure from the many bitter sparkling water flavors on the market. It’s not as overpoweringly sweet as Sparkling Ice,8If Sparkling Ice didn’t leave me feeling like I just ingested a pound of Splenda with every bottle, I’d drink them over everyone else. Their cherry limeade and black raspberry flavors are great, but I can only drink a bottle every few weeks or so, because it tastes like it’s terrible for me. but it’s still sweeter than you’d expect.
6. Pink Grapefruit
Grapefruit is a terribly underrated flavor for fruit flavored items. From pop9Squirt. to Torani syrup to sparkling water, grapefruit flavored foodstuffs are a safe bet for a delicious time. This is true even if you’re turned off by the extremely sour flavor of the fruit itself. There’s two main problems with Dasani’s pink grapefruit flavor. The first is that I love actual grapefruit, and their sparkling water doesn’t taste all that strongly of grapefruit. The second is that grapefruit and coconut are the two flavors that La Croix truly seems to have the market cornered on in terms of flavor. In comparison to other grapefruit options out there, it’s a let down. In comparison to some of Dasani’s other flavors, it’s fine, but you could better.
5. Black Cherry
Cherry is the safest flavor to buy for any liquid drink. It doesn’t matter what. 7Up. Pepsi. Dr. Pepper. Robitussin. Everything is better as a cherry flavor. Dasani’s black cherry flavor makes the top five solely based on that fact and that fact alone. Of the flavors I can readily find in my local grocery store, this is one of the ones I usually buy. The only downside is that there’s just so many other cherry flavored things that taste better than black cherry sparkling water10Literally everything I listed at the start of this paragraph other than the cough syrup.. It’s good. And when I want sparkling water, black cherry is one of the best flavor options available, thanks in large part to its availability. There’s still a few flavors that out class it though.
While the cherry is the safest flavor to buy for most liquids, berry flavors tend to be the safest flavors to buy for water. I don’t understand how it works. It’s just science11Your science mileage may vary.. Based on the can design for the berry flavor, I think it’s technically supposed to be a raspberry and blackberry mix. Why they couldn’t call it that, I’m not sure. Is it because raspberry lemonade is already a flavor? Are people concerned about blackberries? Is there secretly blackcurrant in it12Sadly, no. I’d buy a blackcurrent water so fast.? No lingonberries? It really doesn’t matter. It’s good regardless of what kind of berry is in it.
One of the two flavors in the top four of this list that made it here in part because of how close to the real fruit they smell, I love me some lime sparkling water. It’s the lone flavor that seems to be available as a stand alone flavor for nearly every sparkling water brand13Except for Sparkling Ice. Because, once again, we can’t have nice things., which works great for me as limes are my favorite fruit. Dasani and Simply Balanced are in a dead heat for my favorite brand of lime sparkling water. The fact that lime is only #3 on my list of Dasani flavors is more a testament to the strength of the two flavors above it than anything else. This is a great flavor.
2. Blood Orange
Why aren’t more things blood orange flavored? It’s such a good flavor. Mike’s Hard Lemonade used to make a blood orange flavor that showed up around Christmas time. It was great. This water is great. The biggest issue is that I can never find the packs of it at my local grocery store. When I do run into the packs, I tend to get two or three of them because of how uncommon they are. Seriously though…if blood orange becomes the next fad food flavor, I will be overjoyed. Yes, this isn’t the top flavor on the list, but that’s only because the blood orange Dasani must be drank cold. I have to wait for it to cool down which, I know, is a first world problem. But the top flavor from this list doesn’t suffer from this problem.
1. Pomegranate Blueberry
A friend of mine in college made me a fan of pomegranate. Since then, I’ll buy pomegranate arils14The seeds are called arils. Full pomegranates are kind of a bitch to take apart. when I see them in a container that doesn’t leak all over the place — looking at you Pom. On top of that, blueberries are my favorite berry. When I was a kid, one of my favorite breakfasts to eat during the summer was a small handful of frozen blueberries, covered in a spoon of white sugar and skim milk. The way the milk and sugar froze around the blueberries was a really interesting texture that I’ve yet to replicate with any other berry. This flavor is good warm, cold, room temperature, or over ice. Just try it. You’ll be thankful you did.
Sparkling water fans — what your favorite brand and flavor of sparkling water? Sound off in the comments.