Non-Alcoholic Drinks From Popular Brands, Ranked

Non-Alcoholic Drinks From Popular Brands, Ranked

It feels like alcohol alternatives are the talk of the town, especially when it comes to seltzers.

Now I know what you may be thinking: Isn’t a non-alcoholic seltzer just… sparkling water? Well yes, technically.

BUT, there is growing popularity with non-alcoholic seltzers that have ~special~ ingredients like adaptogens and nootropics, which will supposedly make you feel “buzzed,” without the hangover.

Peacock / Via

If you’re unfamiliar with adaptogens, they’re basically herbs that have the potential to help with health issues like stress and fatigue. Some popular adaptogens include ashwagandha, rhodiola rosea, and lemon balm

According to Healthline, nootropics are the umbrella term for any kind of substance “that can be taken to improve mental performance in healthy people.” L-Theanine is a popular nootropic that has been shown to promote calmness without the feeling of drowsiness.

I’m Jen, and I was curious about which alcohol alternatives were actually going to taste good, since there are SO many on the market right now. To get some answers, I decided to host a blind taste-test with my coworkers.

And here are the blind taste-testers:

And last but not least, this is Bora.

I made everyone close their eyes, and I poured all the seltzers into generic cups that looked like this:

Everyone tried the same drink at the same time, in the same order. Without knowing which drink they were tasting, they wrote down their thoughts. The taste-testers also gave each drink a numerical rating, which I averaged at the end to arrive at an official ranking. Here’s how it went:

Jen Adams

NISHAD: The flavor is very strong and definitely super sour. It tasted like an apple cider vinegar in seltzer that is meant to have alcohol in it. It was alright, and I’d probably drink a version with liquor in it.

CATHERINE: It tasted sour, not mild or strong, and not super carbonated. I didn’t like it.

ARIELLE: The smell is is significantly stronger than the taste. The flavor is giving mild kombucha vibes.

BORA: There is a long-lasting bitterness — but felt a tiny bit watery. It tasted dark and was very slightly nutty and almost chocolatey. The taste did linger on your tongue.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: The flavor was NOT there compared to first. There was no carbonation which made it taste like water with a little bit of flavor. It had a strong smell so I expected a strong flavor, but it didn’t have that. I unfortunately didn’t like it.

CATHERINE: I liked the smell of if it more than the taste of it. It had a mild flavor and it lacked carbonation, so I didn’t like it.

ARIELLE: The flavor was mild yet sweet. It kind of tastes like it was diluted with water.

BORA: It wasn’t super carbonated. The flavor was strong and super sweet. It almost tasted like candy, so I am not a huge fan of it. It felt more like you were drinking a juice with 30 grams of sugar than a seltzer.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: It had a strong flavor and tasted like lemon rinds. It didn’t feel that carbonated. I don’t like the flavor too much 🙁

CATHERINE: It had a strong flavor with light carbonation. I somewhat liked it.

ARIELLE: She is PUNGENT! Flavor is a tad bitter and a little apple-cider-vinegary.

BORA: It had a root-type after taste, but overall solid flavor. It tasted like its healthy and wasn’t super sweet. I would try different flavors of this brand.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: It had a mild initial flavor but a strong aftertaste. It was very carbonated. It tasted like melted cough drops with seltzer. I still feel it in my throat lol.

CATHERINE: It had a strong flavor with a bitter, citrus taste at the end. I didn’t like it.

ARIELLE: This one has depth. The flavor is pretty strong but kinda changes as you drink it. It also has a little kick.

BORA: It tastes sweet at first but then has a really bitter after taste. The flavor is definitely strong with this one. I feel like a Park Slope mom would love this one.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: There’s a super strong initial flavor. I can’t say I like it due to the initial taste but I do love the smell. The smell does not match the taste.

CATHERINE: Flavorful and smooth, and not super carbonated — I liked it.

ARIELLE: Flavor was pretty strong but not a fan. The flavor kinda tastes like it shouldn’t be a drink??

BORA: There was a bold flavor for sure. It tasted almost like a healthy coke with a strong after-taste. I would not drink again.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: The flavor was middle ground — not too strong, but not too weak. It smells like a lemon and orange juice mix. There was a hint of lemon after-taste which did not linger for too long. This one was pleasant. I don’t think I’d go and pick it up from the store but I would drink if it was here.

CATHERINE: A lemony flavor with a hint of peach at the end. It had the most carbonation compared to the others — I liked it.

ARIELLE: This flavor is the most mild and somehow the most familiar. It’s more ~delicate~ than the other ones.

BORA: Lemon-y flavor. Strong flavor. It tastes like theres not a lot of sugar in it because it’s not super sweet. This would be really lovely on the beach on a hot day.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: There was a super strong strawberry candy smell but the flavor was mild. A grapefruit aftertaste 🙁 I don’t like grapefruit! I think it would appeal to anyone who likes the aftertaste of strawberry gummy snacks from the fruit snacks bag. It was not bad.

CATHERINE: Sour taste with a bitterness that lingers. It’s not super carbonated — I kinda liked it.

ARIELLE: I actually kinda like this one! The flavor is strong and lingers (maybe grapefruit).

BORA: The flavor is pretty mild with this one but you still get a sweetness up front with a bitter after-taste. The carbonation level is just right but the flavor lacks a bit. It tastes grapefruitish.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: This has a strong smell. I don’t like the smell. The taste is also not my favorite at all. I don’t know what it is but I don’t want any more of it. It was middle-ground carbonated. I didn’t like it. It was the worst one so far.

CATHERINE: The smell was not appealing. I didn’t taste it.

ARIELLE: This is one is lighter than the others and feels more seltzery. I could probs drink a full can of this one vs. the others I could only have a few sips.

BORA: There’s a pineapple/mango/passion fruit flavor. The taste is perfect, not too sweet or too bitter. It tastes like it was actually made with real juice. I actually liked this one and would definitely pick it up at a bodega.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: It smells super strong of beets. The flavor is insanely strong. If you like beets, this is great. I hate beets though. I’m sorry. I truly see the appeal but just not for me.

CATHERINE: There’s a strong beet or radish flavor. It smelled like vegetables. I didn’t like it.

ARIELLE: WOAH. This was wayyyyy too bitter, like hard to drink bitter. I’m out.

BORA: There’s a strong beet smell and flavor. I was not a fan.

Jen Adams

NISHAD: The smell is bad but the taste isn’t too bad. I don’t know what it tastes like but I would finish a cup of this if I had gotten it — not because I enjoyed it, but because it’s bearable. It’s not too carbonated but I think that’s better this way. It’s alright.

CATHERINE: It’s very bitter with a floral scent — I didn’t like it.

ARIELLE: This one is the most ~floral~ of the bunch. Definitely a strong flavor but kinda nice.

BORA: Floral taste. Tastes like you left your tea out for too long and it got bitter. I did not really like it.

So which one was the best and which one was the worst?

Well ladies and gents, here are the results for everyone’s least favorite drink:

It looks like it was overwhelmingly Drink 9, De Soi Champignon Dreams. However, one person did vote that Drink 8, Recess Mood Peach Ginger, was their worst drink. Bummer!

And a drumroll for our FAVORITES, please. Here’s what came back:

It looks like the votes are in for Drink 8, Recess Mood Peach Ginger, Drink 5, Kin Spritz, and Drink 6, Recess Mood Blood Orange.

Jen Adams

Yes, Recess Mood Peach Ginger was voted a ‘least favorite’ AND a ‘favorite’ within the group. Looks like you’ll either love it or hate it.

Since some of the data above is conflicting, I averaged the ratings of all of the drinks to make an official ranking from worst to best. Here’s the official ranking:

/ Getty Images

Even though Recess Mood Peach Ginger was ranked highly by two taste-testers, it was also voted a least-favorite, moving its official place down to fourth best-tasting.

Have you tried any of these beverages? Let me know what your favorites are in the comments below!