Popular Jarritos Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

Even though Jarritos has been in production since 1950, it only landed in the U.S. in 1988. Since then, it's grown in popularity and can be found at major grocery retailers. Created in Mexico by Don Francisco Hill, the first flavor of Jarritos was coffee-flavored. For those of us that live and die by cold brew, that doesn't sound so terrible, but it wasn't super popular, and so Hill started tinkering with fruit-flavored sodas. His original inspiration came from local produce, creating the mandarin orange, lime, tamarind, and fruit punch flavors that are still the best-selling flavors today. Within 10 short years, Jarritos was being sold across 80% of Mexico and beginning to make waves internationally.

Most people who enjoy Jarritos have a favorite flavor that they're absolutely passionate about. There are currently 13 flavored sodas in the Jarritos lineup, so we set out to taste them all and figure out which ones were really the best. Along the way, we learned which flavors were cult classics, which were underrated gems, and which don't really live up to the hype. We also learned that "jarritos" means "little jugs" in Spanish (and according to the Jarritos website, "goat shoes in German) — which is a fitting name for a refreshing fruity beverage classically enjoyed out of a little jug that would keep it cool for as long as possible. These are the flavors we'll be reaching for the next time we need to cool off.

13. Strawberry

The bright and juicy red color of the strawberry Jarritos has your mouth watering for the fresh taste of strawberry before you even crack the bottle open. Sadly, you're presented with fizzy red sugar water that's got sort of a generic red berry flavor. It's not quite fruit punch, but it's not quite strawberry either. It's just kind of, sweet and red. Is sweet and red objectively good? Sure, it can be. But it isn't strawberry. On a blisteringly hot day we'd gladly drink it down, but we find that it's missing some of that powerful strawberry flavor — even in an artificial way — that we've come to expect from strawberry-flavored fruit drinks. Some reviewers said that it tastes a little bit like strawberry Fanta, which makes sense given how similar the ingredients lists are for both of the drinks. In that way at least, the strawberry Jarritos is made with regular sugar, where the Fanta is made with high fructose corn syrup. In this case, we'd suggest letting the sugar be your guide.

Before we go much further, we'd like to point out that most Jarritos flavors claim to be made with "natural flavors", but what are natural flavors anyway? Well, they are flavors that are created in a lab, just like artificial flavors. The key difference is that they're made with edible organic material as opposed to inedible materials, like petroleum. While their molecular composition is the same, it was achieved by different processes.

12. Jamaica (hibiscus)

This garnet-colored soda is really beautiful, having derived most of its color from hibiscus flowers. It's light and refreshing where some of the intense fruit flavors can be a tad overwhelming. It's sweet and floral, with a hint of cherry and an ever-so-slight herbal tea scent. While half of our tasters really enjoyed the jamaica flavor, the other half immediately disliked it and put it down. The opinions ranged from the flavor being unfamiliar to the taste coming across like cough syrup. So ultimately, the consensus is that you'll either love it or hate it. 

If you're already familiar with hibiscus drinks like hibiscus herbal tea, the La Croix Hi-Biscuss seltzer, or the pomegranate hibiscus sparkling hemp seltzer by Recess, there's a reasonable chance that you'll enjoy the jamaica Jarritos flavor. But if you've never experienced a hibiscus drink before, this one might not be the one you want to start with. According to the Food Network, hibiscus flowers are high in antioxidants and vitamin C which might explain some of the slightly fruity notes when it's infused into drinks. If consumed regularly, there's also been speculation that hibiscus helps to manage high blood pressure, which is still being studied. With that said, there's no indication that there are any health benefits from drinking hibiscus soda, but it's certainly nice to consider.

11. Lime

The color of the lime Jarritos leans a touch too far into the fluorescent spectrum for our liking, but that's about the only thing we found off-putting about this soda. When you open a bottle, you'll notice the same lime smell as one of those little plastic bottles of lime juice shaped like a green lime in the produce section at the grocery store. No, it's not like a fresh-squeezed lime, but it's lime adjacent — which is all we were really looking for with this drink anyway. It's a sweet lime flavor, not an acidic one, similar to the mellow lime flavor in lime-flavored Jell-O

If you're interested in a lime soda that actually tastes like lime, we're going to point you more in the direction of a lime La Croix, which has none of the calories, sugar, or fluorescent green coloring that the lime Jarritos has. For a superfast summer cocktail, we could easily see pouring a lime Jarritos over ice with a little bit of silver tequila, a salt rim on the glass, and maybe even a wedge of actual lime.

According to the Jarritos website, there's actually a really good reason for that signature green color — and all of the vivid Jarritos soda colors. Originally, bottles of Jarritos didn't have labels, so a customer would be able to tell which flavor was which by color alone. There's no doubt we could pick this green out of a lineup. 

10. Watermelon

For some people, the term "agua fresca" implies the addition of fresh watermelon to a refreshing summer water, so it seems only natural that watermelon would be one of the Jarritos flavors. But be warned, a sip of the watermelon Jarritos is a far cry from an icy cold glass of agua fresca or even watermelon juice. One taster compared it more to the flavor of a watermelon Jolly Rancher, which makes sense given that several of the Jarritos flavors lean more into the candy-flavored arena. Overall, we liked the flavor but thought it could be a little bit diluted, either with another fresh juice or with a little bit of booze for a watermelon-inspired cocktail. It's surprising that this particular flavor is so difficult to find, given that watermelon is a popular flavor with so many different cuisines. But you may have to turn to the internet to pick this one up if you can't find it in any of your local stores or restaurants.

9. Mxcn Cola

The biggest selling point of the Mxcn Cola Jarritos is the inclusion of real sugar, unlike most of the big-name cola companies in the U.S. Even Coca-Cola produced in Mexico is made with real cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, which makes it coveted by U.S. consumers looking to cut down on the corn syrup in their diet or simply because they believe that real sugar sodas taste better than their corn syrup counterparts. Whether or not there's any validity to the idea that regular sugar tastes better than corn syrup, there's been a large influx of smaller domestic soda companies offering drinks made with natural cane sugar, including Stewart's and Maine Root — which even makes a Mexican-style cola. 

Ultimately, if you're looking for an alternative to the big soda brands that use real sugar instead of corn syrup, there's a good chance you'll enjoy the Mxcn Cola Jarritos. If you can find it that is. While it's available online, we had less luck finding it in stores.

8. Grapefruit

After tasting the other citrus Jarritos flavors, we weren't expecting a whole lot from the grapefruit Jarritos. But it seems it's always when we keep our hopes low that we're pleasantly surprised. The grapefruit Jarritos turned out to be just that sort of drink. It tastes like taking a sip from a very sweet grapefruit, without much of the bitter aftertaste that some grapefruits have to slow you down. Unlike the other flavors of Jarritos, the grapefruit is hazy white and uncolored but is served in a green glass bottle. 

It's simple and clean tasting and seems like it would pair well with Mexican food (obviously), as well as Mediterranean, Indian, and even some heavily fried Southern foods. Of the three citrus flavors Jarritos offers, the lime and mandarin orange are wildly more popular than the grapefruit, but we thought the grapefruit was just as good, if not better. Ultimately, you're the judge, but we think you should give it a fighting chance.

7. Passion Fruit

The passion fruit Jarritos is another one of those flavors that can be difficult to lay your hands on, depending on where you're located. Passion fruit is naturally one of those tropical flavors that skews more acidic, like pineapple. The flavor is sort of like a meyer lemon or a bitter orange. But the sweetness added to this drink balances out the astringent nature of the passion fruit without obliterating it or turning ultra-syrupy. The scent is slightly floral which adds a nice touch to the soda. With that said, passion fruit isn't everyone's thing. If it is, there's a good chance you're going to adore this one. But even our testers who aren't really into passion fruit agreed that the soda was nice enough, even if it wasn't their first choice. 

Generally speaking, the bulk of the Jarritos flavors fall into either the tropical category (mango, pineapple, guava, tamarind) or the citrus category (lime, mandarin orange, grapefruit). But the passion fruit Jarritos feels like a nice bridge between the two, with a slightly tropical but also lemony flavor to it.

6. Mandarin

This is likely going to be a controversial ranking, because mandarin orange Jarritos is one of the top selling flavors of Jarritos, along with fruit punch, lime, and tamarind — if not the most popular flavor for many. It was in absolutely every store that sold Jarritos flavors, so our hopes were high when giving this one a taste. The smell didn't come across very strong, not like the freshly peeled orange we thought it might smell like, given that Jarritos harvests over 30 million mandarin oranges every year in the Yucatan just for this drink. The flavor is overwhelmingly similar to the original orange-flavored Popsicles we'd always have stocked in the freezer as kids. While the nostalgia is nice, it's hard to really differentiate this particular flavor too much from so many other orange sodas.

Yes, it's made with natural sugars instead of high fructose corn syrup, which is a plus. And it's got a slightly more realistic orange flavor than some of the other overwhelmingly sweet orange sodas on the market, but not enough so to crown it the undisputed champion of the orange sodas. What we're trying to say is, we get that orange soda is popular in general, and if you're a fan, you're probably going to think that the mandarin orange Jarritos is phenomenal. But ultimately it's not as great as some of the other flavors Jarritos offers.

5. Fruit Punch

In a world full of fruit punch drinks, the Jarritos fruit punch soda is really special. Yes, it's sweet and yes, it tastes fake. But both of these qualities are things you've likely come to expect from fruit punch and you're drinking it anyway. The funny thing about this particular fruit punch is that it's got a little bit more of a flavor that we can only identify as possibly being strawberry — an ironic twist after we thought the strawberry Jarritos tasted like nothing. Of course, we don't know exactly what flavors are supposed to make up this particular fruit punch, but we'd guess it's strawberries, cherries, pineapple, and maybe orange or lime. It's sweet enough that one will probably satisfy whatever sugar craving you're having, but not so sweet that you won't be able to enjoy it with savory foods. We're not alone when it comes to enjoying this soda. The fruit punch Jarritos is one of the most popular Jarritos flavors and is available in multiple sizes wherever you find your sodas.

4. Mango

We think the mango Jarritos is one of the more underrated Jarritos flavors on the market. While we were able to find it in one of our international grocery stores, it isn't a flavor that seems to be offered everywhere. And that's too bad because we thought it was really refreshing and does the mango flavor justice. Before even taking a sip, we could smell the tropical aroma of ripe mango wafting out of the bottle. It's even got that ever so slight funk to it that a perfectly ripe mango can have. 

The soda is sweet, but not cloyingly so, and while the ingredients list stevia extract alongside regular sugar on the bottle we picked up, there is no artificial sweetener chemical aftertaste. "Fruit and Vegetable Juices" are listed, but account for less than 1% of the total ingredients, and exist primarily for coloring. We know that when it comes to the tropical taste of mango, not everyone is as smitten as we are. But if mango's your thing, we don't think you'll regret a single sip of this soda.

3. Guava

This light pink soda looks like springtime and tastes like summer. Tasters report that the guava Jarritos flavor is authentic and perfectly balanced with just enough sweetness to be pleasant, but not overwhelming. Guava-flavored juices and drinks are picking up popularity in the U.S., but unfortunately, this particular flavor is still difficult to find in some places. But fear not, you can easily order through Instacart if a store in your area carries it or online. This soda is fantastic as an icy cold treat on a hot day by itself or mixed into a more adult beverage for a tropical vacation at home kind of vibe. 

A splash of tequila or vodka over ice would be a nice place to start. And if you're really enthusiastic about the flavor, consider making it into a frozen guava margarita or frozé. If you're not enthusiastic about the pink color of this particular drink, we'd suggest you close your eyes and give it a shot anyway — it might just turn out to be your favorite Jarritos flavor.

2. Tamarind

It's entirely possible that the tamarind Jarritos flavor is the least attractive of all of the flavors offered. It's a questionable light brown color that's not quite dark enough to be soda and too murky to look like tea. But don't let that put you off. The tamarind Jarritos is one of the singularly most unique beverages that Jarritos makes. The Jarritos website claims that the soda includes "real pulp from the tamarind pod," which is something that no one else is offering.

If you aren't familiar with tamarind, it's a tropical fruit that looks more like a large semi-green peanut hanging from a tree than a luscious tropical fruit. But inside the pod is a sweet and tangy fruit, not entirely unlike a date. It's regularly grown in tropical climates around the world and is popular in both drinks and cooking. Speaking of drinks, one of our favorite ways to drink tamarind is in a margarita. While this Jarritos soda alone won't make you a proper margarita, we think it's excellent splashed into other cocktails or poured over ice with a splash of aged tequila or light rum.

1. Pineapple

The pineapple Jarritos was the first soda we sipped when setting out on this tasting adventure. It is a bright yellow color, but not terrifyingly so, and in a way that resembles the bright yellow flesh of a juicy ripe pineapple. The very first flavor to hit us was just sweetness, which quickly gave way to the taste of fresh pineapple. For people who enjoy pineapple juice from the can or pineapple drinks, the sweetness of this particular soda probably won't bother or surprise you. For people who tend to take their pineapple freshly cut, the sweetness might be a little bit strong at first. 

The powerful sweet and acidic flavor of fresh pineapple isn't lost in this drink and makes it incredibly refreshing. Served icy cold in the sunshine, it's like liquid gold. Interestingly, the nutrition information makes absolutely no reference to fresh pineapple juice, which makes the flavoring of this soda all the more impressive. Whatever combination of "natural flavors" the chemists over at Jarritos are using, they've landed on a fantastic pineapple formula. We also noticed that this is one of the more popular Jarritos flavors, available almost everywhere we looked for the drink.