It's been a hell of a ride for LaCroix, from go-to for Midwest moms (and Midwest kids whose moms wouldn't let them drink soda), to indispensable urban refreshment tool, to occupier of an alarming amount of real estate at your local organic grocer.
But which of LaCroix’s 20 distinct, yet subtle flavors is best? We've done the heavy lifting (and burping) to find out. Stay bubbly, my friends.
Like Vanilla Sky or the music of Steely Dan, it seems people enjoy arguing about this flavor more than they enjoy consuming it. While it has its adherents, it also has a certain "I just licked a tanning bed" essence. Next.
If you survey all the wondrously different LaCroix options at your disposal and select "Pure," you neither understand nor deserve LaCroix.
LaCroix fans are a passionate bunch. The fact that they are generally not all that passionate about the Passionfruit option should say something. (Hint: it says you can do better than Passionfruit.)
The beverage equivalent of Gilbert Gottfried: abrasive, disappointing, and a little bit salty, but still kind of weirdly good?
16. Pineapple Strawberry (aka Piña Fraise)
Have you ever applied Lip Smackers while listening to the music of Jimmy Buffett? Me neither, but after drinking this, I have a pretty solid guess what the experience might be like.
If orange soda was heroin, this would be an entirely inadequate dose of methadone. The orange doesn't pop nearly to the degree of some of its siblings. If your taste buds weren't paying attention you might think someone slipped you a "Pure."
The sad reality of mango-flavored anything is that it rarely tastes much like the actual fruit. In this case, the result hovers somewhere near the mark without really approaching it, creating feelings of confusion, much like a deceptively alluring Chris Kattan.
One of LaCroix's most beloved varieties, and yet… not really doing it for me. Ask yourself, Pamplemousse adherents: how much of your devotion stems directly from the feeling of superiority that comes with using the French word for "grapefruit"?
Ever take a sip of a fountain Coke and realize the syrup supply ran short 10 customers ago? It's like that, except it's supposed to be that way!
11. Kiwi Watermelon (aka Kiwi Sandía)
Anyone seen the Snapple Lady lately? Is it possible she toned down her fructose levels and started creating flavors for LaCroix behind the scenes? This sure tastes like it.
Now we're getting to the good stuff! (Not the Best Stuff on Earth, though, gotta hit Snapple for that). Just apricoty enough to get your attention, but not so cloying as to overpower that quinoa bowl you're responsibly enjoying in your cubicle.
Just when it seemed LaCroix had done the citrus family an irrevocable wrong with that Orange business, along come Tangerine, which not only redeems it, but also puts a catchy Flaming Lips tune in everyone's head.
Sweet on the front end, sneakily bitter on the back end, and totally not disclosing which berry (berries?!) is involved. When you enjoy the mild essence of canned sparkling water AND a little mystery in your life, this is your berry jam.
7. Peach Pear
The alleged pear is nowhere to be found, but the peach essence explodes into your nasal cavity well before the good stuff even hits your tongue. Until Mountain Dew rolls out Peachocalypse Now or whatever, this is as intense as it gets for peach-flavored sparkling beverages. Approved!
6. Apple Cranberry (aka Pomme Bayá)
Like an autumnal Yankee Candle scent in beverage form, but somehow in a good way. Fill a half-empty can of this stuff with some red wine and Thanksgiving is going to be interesting.
5. Cherry Lime (aka Cerise Limón)
If you ever claimed to have a sore throat just so you could pop Luden's cough drops like candy to keep a sugar high going throughout the day, you'll cherish every ounce of this. The lime's kinda hiding from you, but there's no worry, because old familiar cherry is there letting you know it's all gonna be OK.
Turns out those Ocean Spray folks knew what they were doing! Two powerful elements, seemingly at odds, but ultimately engaged in an intense but harmonious dance on your tongue. The sweetness is balanced. The mouthfeel is smooth. The desire to see how this plays with vodka isn't going to fade until you give it a try.
3. Melon Grapefruit (aka Melón Pomelo)
The smooth melon notes pop from the get-go, with a gradual segue into a delightfully gentle hint of citrus that says "up your game, Pamplemousse, your quirky half-brother is kicking your ass!"
2. Blackberry Cucumber (aka Muré Pepino)
Cucumber: who knew?! LaCroix's decision to let a veggie crash in on what was previously a fruit party proved quite… fruitful. Of course, it helps that there's that familiar berry presence making sure things don't get too weird. There's more taste in here than a zero-calorie beverage has any right packing, making it the perfect means to convert even the most hardened LaCroix skeptic.
As one of the few varieties you could easily pick out blindfolded, it's no wonder that Lime always seems to be the first to vanish from that colorful pyramid display at Whole Foods. It has all the vibrant refreshment of a lime-kissed vodka soda on a hot summer day, but with no fear of judgment for drinking before lunch. It's simple. It's elegant. It's the standard against which all other LaCroix flavors should be measured.
Sign up here for our daily Thrillist email, and get your fix of the best in food/drink/fun.