Testing Ground: Spindrift and La Croix's summer flavors

Jun. 12—It's been years since America caught on to the craze of flavored sparkling water. Lately, things have been a little stale.

While sparkling water brands like Bubly, Nixie and Liquid Death have popped up, the flavors have mostly stayed the same (routinely sticking to watermelon, lime, lemon and unflavored). For the summer, two of the top brands, Spindrift and La Croix, are bringing out newer, possibly fresher, flavors.

La Croix is offering three new flavors (Beach Plum, Black Razzberry and Guava), as well as two returning champs, Limoncello (my favorite) and Watermelon.

The new flavors range from completely unmemorable (Guava) to downright bad and slightly bitter (Beach Plum and Black Razzberry). The big knock from my non-sparkling water beverage-loving friends is that La Croix tastes like sparkling water where the flavor stopped downloading about halfway through.

Where Limoncello brought some effervescent freshness and sweet notes to the table, you'd be hard-pressed to guess what the flavors of these new tastes are in a blindfold test.

In the sparkling water world, Spindrift has always had the upper hand, mainly because it uses actual puree and juice in its beverages, as opposed to La Croix's nebulous "natural flavors." The fruit flavors are well-rounded and bold, while the calorie count stays under the double digits.

For its summer line, Spindrift has brought out a series of lemonade-flavored drinks — Strawberry Lemonade, Pink Lemonade and Lemon Limeade (which was not available to try).

As a lemonade skeptic, I have to say that I was won over by both flavors. Pink Lemonade tastes like the real thing, keeping its tartness while eliminating the most of the sugar. While I wish Strawberry Lemonade had more strawberry flavor to it, it's also a solid, light drink to sip during the summer.

If you're trying to limit your sugar but want something light for the season, go with Spindrift instead of La Croix. Its new flavors are some of the best on the market.

Andrew Gaug can be reached at andrew.gaug@newspressnow.com.

Follow him on Twitter: @NPNOWGaug