Summer 2021 is gearing up to be a scorcher, and we plan on staying as cool and hydrated as we possibly can.
Of course, that means we’ll be drinking plenty of water—but we’ve also been exploring other options for those times when water just won’t quench your thirst. From bubbly drinks to unique electrolyte beverages, teas and drinks that are great for the mind and body, we’ve been trying all kinds of drinks lately—and here are our very favorites.
If LaCroix hasn’t been cutting it lately, we can’t recommend Aura Bora sparkling waters enough. Rather than the traditional (and predictable) fruit flavors, this brand uses plant-based ingredients and real herbs to flavor their drinks, so that they taste great and leave you feeling amazing. With flavors including Basil Berry, Lemongrass Coconut, Peppermint Watermelon, Lavender Cucumber and Cactus Rose, you won’t be able to stop sipping.
Barcode is an ultra-hydrating, ultra-healing beverage designed for and tested by athletes, but its Lemon Lime and Watermelon flavors make it something that anyone can enjoy. The plant-based, adaptogen-powered beverage is made with all-natural ingredients and no added sugars and contains just 30 calories per bottle. In addition to its adaptogens, it also includes vitamin B for energy, vitamin D for recovery, destressing and muscle strength and magnesium for boosting mood and metabolism. It’s made to combat stress, as well as to help you recover faster and feel better after tough workouts.
If you believe cacao fruits are only good for making chocolate, think again. Blue Stripes’ one-of-a-kind Cacao Water is packed with electrolytes, great for the gut and packed with antioxidants, while also reducing waste that occurs in the production of chocolate. It may not taste like chocolate, but once you sip its tart, yet mellow fruit flavor, you won’t want it to—and it comes in Just Cacao, Chili Lime and Cardamom and Cascara Coffee and Cinnamon flavors to suit all tastes.
When we first heard there was a drink out there designed to boost your confidence, it sounded way too good to be true. We were in for a big surprise when we discovered this drink does precisely what it sets out to. This adaptogen-packed, zero sugar, zero-calorie drink contains stress-reducing Rhodiola, brain-boosting ginseng, nerve-soothing GABA (great for lessening nervousness and improving sleep), serotonin and melatonin-improving 5-HTP, essential magnesium and cell-healing vitamin B. It’s all packed into one tall can with a slightly fruity, floral taste, and we can confidently say that after just a few sips we feel braver, more centered and ready to take on whatever life throws at us.
It may seem slightly weird for teas to be on this list, but hear us out! DONA’s Masala Chai Concentrate allows you to make utterly delicious chai lattes from the comfort of your home with nothing more the concentrate and your favorite milk. This concentrate packs all of the spice you’d expect from a delicious chai, with way less sugar than you’d get at the coffee shop. The only downside is how fast we can drink it—and it gets even better with the addition of their Zero Waste Spice Dust, available in both Masala Chai and Turmeric flavors. Plus, after brewing, everything the brand can’t use is sent out to be composted.
But that’s not all they have to offer! DONA also makes perfectly blended loose leaf tea mixes in flavors such as Masala Chai, Chamomile Mint and Turmeric Pink Peppercorn with Citrus Loose Leaf, which we’ve been making into delicious iced teas all month. And did you know that drinking hot tea in the summer actually helps to cool your body down better than sipping cold drinks? It’s something to consider when the temperature tips into the 100°s in some areas.
We’d never heard of maple water before we tried Drink Simple, and we’re so glad that’s changed because we’d love to see more of this unique ingredient. Maple water is made with pure sap from maple trees. You might be picturing something thick and sticky, but it’s actually clear, with the consistency of water, and just a bit of sugary sweetness. It’s less sweet than coconut water, with half the calories, but with just as many electrolytes and vitamins. That makes their Original maple water delicious, and their flavored varieties even better.
But that’s not all you can do with maple water. Drink Simple also offers sparkling maple waters in Raspberry Lemon, Blackberry Lemon, Cucumber Lemon and Orange Mango flavors. Flavor-wise, they’re somewhere between a seltzer and a full-sugar soda, making them super refreshing—and they pack all the benefits of pure maple water, as well.
P.S.—Drink Simple is doing a rebrand in July, saying goodbye to plastic bottles for their maple waters and launching eco-friendly cartons, so keep an eye out for their new look.
Put the Capri Sun packs away, because you won’t want a thing to do with them after you try Poppilu’s organic lemonade pouches. Each pouch contains 100% of your daily vitamin C, without any added refined sugars, getting their sweetness from apple juice, monk fruit extract, but each one is as fresh, tart and satisfying as the best lemonade you’ve had. The Original Lemon and Blueberry flavors are good, but we can’t get enough of the Peach lemonade.
Have you ever wished you could can the feeling of being calm, cool and collected, so you could harness that tranquillity and enjoy it later? That’s exactly what Recess has set out to do with their new Recess Mood drinks. Their sparkling waters are infused with magnesium (a mineral we’ve already seen a couple of times on this list) as well as adaptogens such as vitality-boosting American ginseng, tensing-easting L-theanine and equilibrium-boosting lemon balm to get you through tense and tough moments. And with flavors such as Strawberry Rose, Black Cherry, Peach Ginger and Blood Orange, they’re very tasty, too.
We were first attracted to SkinTē because we thought it was unusual that they offered sparkling teas, but there is so much more to this multicolored can than meets the eye. Using a combination of real white and green teas, powerful herbs, carbonation and collagen peptides, it creates a drink unlike anything else on this list. Each can includes 3000 mg of easily absorbed collagen, which is great for hair, skin and nails—though it’s not vegan, as its collagen comes from grass-fed cows. Still, the result is a bubbly refreshing drink that tastes great while also having unbeatable beauty benefits.
Sunwink specializes in plant-powered tonics and superfood products, with an emphasis on wellness as well as taste. Their drinks and powders are made with real ingredients, without any artificial flavors, additives or preservatives, and their wellness tonics each have different ingredients to enhance different aspects of your life. There’s Lemon-Rose Uplift, Detox Ginger, Hibiscus Mint Unwind, Immunity Berry and Turmeric Recover, and each one is a fizzy, delightful beverage that leaves you feeling great.
But we think their superfood powders are even more powerful when it comes to balancing mood and energy. We’ve tried their chocolatey Cacao Clarity powder, which improves focus, as well as their Berry Calm, for instilling peace, and both have worked wonders. And did we mention the brand also gives 2% of revenues back to organizations that benefit different communities and the planet?
We’re all about low-sugar iced teas and lemonades this summer, and we’re legitimately swooning over the zero-sugar brand Swoon. Thanks to the inclusion of monk fruit as a sweetener, each can of their lemonades and iced teas contains just 5 calories. Whether you’re sipping on a Peach Iced Tea, Pink Lemonade or Classic Lemonade of Half + Half, you’ll be beating the summer heat and satisfying your cravings without unneeded sugar.
Delicious milk tea isn’t just for boba anymore. Twrl M!lk Teas makes canned nitro-infused black and green teas, made with plant-based milks, to give you the full experience with 50 or fewer calories per can. They are so tasty, with way less sugar than you’d get in a traditional milk tea—and we love that they’re vegan, too. While the Original Black is definitely tasty, we’re torn between the Supreme Jasmine and Hojicha Roasted Green Tea as our favorite.
If you’re bored of the traditional lemon-lime, cola, root beer and orange sodas you can find at the grocery store, it might be time to try United Sodas of America. Their collection features 12 colorful sodas in a dozen unique and fruity flavors you can’t find anywhere else. From White Grape and Toasted Coconut to Young Mango, Strawberry Basil, Sour Blueberry, Pear Elderflower, Orange Nectarine, Lemon Verbena, Gingery Ale, Extra Peach, Cherry Pop and Blackberry Jam, there’s a flavor here for everyone—and even better, each can contains just 30 calories.
Surprised to find a grocery store brand on this list? You shouldn’t be, because the newest additions to Virgil’s zero sugar line of sodas are just the thing to help you chill out on a hot summer’s day. The collection includes Zero Sugar Grapefruit, Zero Sugar Ginger Ale and—our personal favorite—Zero Sugar Dr. Better, which tastes so much better than a Diet Dr. Pepper.
Last but not least is Wildwonder, another brand that harnesses the potent power of superherbs—as well as prebiotic and probiotic ingredients—to elevate mood, immunity and gut health. Based on the principles of Chinese medicine, these carbonated tea drinks are crafted to leave you feeling as great as they taste (and they taste amazing), with flavors including Guava Rose, Mango Turmeric, Peach Ginger, Turmeric Pear and Ginger Lemon. Plus, 5% of all profits go to empowering women and marginalized communities.
Curious about these great drinks? Click HERE to learn even more about Recess Mood.