Overpowered, chemically flavored and HFCS-sweetened sodas more and more seem like relics of our clueless food past. A new generation of drinks flavored with real fruit, naturally-sweetened or relying on fruit juice alone provide a range of options for beating the summer heat. Whether drinking them straight up or gussied up with the tipple of choice, we're enjoying a fridge-full of options this summer.
For those who enjoy the complex notes of wine, you can now find the same intricacies in Cascal soda. Using a double-fermentation process, their unlikely juice-based flavor profiles are lightly carbonated and skip sugar, artificial colors and preservatives. Unusual ingredients such as mirabelle plums and magnolia combine to make their three non-alcoholic options—Crisp White, Light Red, and Fine Dry—selling at local Whole Foods Markets.
Flavrz Drink Mix
While both drink mixes and at-home soda makers have been making advancements in recent years, there has yet to be a happy marriage of the two. Taking both good ideas and making them better, Flavrz liquid mixes are designed for those who want to make their own flavored bubbly water without all the additives—all while reducing environmental waste. Available in 16-ounce bottles or individual one-ounce flavor packets, it's up to you how much flavor you put in, making each beverage your own custom blend. Each naturally-delicious flavor, like Cherry Berry or Tropical or soda varieties such as root beer or cola, sells on Flavrz's website.
Twelve Noon to Midnight
Renowned American chefs David Burke and Alfred Portale recently moved into the beverage world, seeking the perfect compliment to every meal and every occasion. Their creation, the line of sparkling juice and tea combinations known as Twelve, come in the original peachy-apricot flavor or the new pomegranate-ginger Rouge. True to their word, each flavor is "unlike anything you have ever tasted" with incredible complexity. At $7 for 750mL bottle in select stores, the price is as good as the product.
The Modern Cocktail
It's always five o'clock somewhere, especially if you're in Irvine, CA testing combos with the new The Modern Cocktail company. Their premium cocktail mixers aren't the Jack-and-cokes or cran-vodkas of your college days, but instead employ the fruitiest, most innovative recipes to create new mixers for the ages. Putting modern spins on all the classics (including margaritas, champagne toppers, and assorted 'tinis), the Modern Cocktail has options that will inspire even the most trepidatious bartender. Available in themed five-packs based on category ($10) or extra-large single-flavor "fresh packs" ($4, designed to be air and light-proof), look out for them in specialty and high-end retailers this fall.
Ayala's Sparkling Herbal Waterhad flat waters diff flavors
Building on the success of their flat waters, Ayala's Herbal Waters are completely artificial- and preservative-free sparkling waters deeply infused with herbs. Flavors such as cinnamon orange peel and lemongrass mint vanilla (with more combos on the way) confuse and enchant the tastebuds all at once. All products sell on the company's website, with the new sparklers starting at $24 for a three-pack sampler.
Gojilania Goji Juice Blends
The Goji berry has been getting more and more recognition for its deliciously nutritious qualities, along with the Açai berry, Pomegranate, Mangosteen, and Blueberry. Together, these superfruits cover all of the bases in boosting energy, nutrition, antioxidants and lending tastiness. Gojilania Goji Juice Blends keeps it simple, combining Goji individually with each of the others and without the use of artificial additives. This upshot is a blend filled with the exotic flavors that rarely make their way into a 10.5-ounce bottle, but as a result the Goji berry is now more portable and affordable. Get each of the variations ($4 each), as well as 32-ounce supplement bottles ($28), online from the Healthy Gourmet Market.