Popular Gatorade Flavors Ranked Worst To Best

What's the best flavor of Gatorade? Or, better put, what's the best color of Gatorade? Because there may be no product on the market -– and certainly no beverage –- that's known better for its colors than its flavor names. Maybe that's because so many of Gatorade's flavor names sound like aggressive two-word descriptions of climbing Mount Everest. Or maybe it's because so many of their flavors don't taste like anything resembling fruit juice, so colors just seem to work better.

Whatever the case, the world's leading sports drink boasts an impressive variety of flavors, so many that a trip down the sports drink aisle can almost be overwhelming. To help you decide which sugar-addled refreshment is best for you, we worked out for a few hours, hit the grocery store on the way home, and taste-tested some of Gatorade's most popular flavors. Some were hits. Some are better left alone. But all left us feeling hydrated and teeming with electrolytes. And possibly suffering from a sugar hangover later in the day.

17. Mango

Mangoes can have a divisive flavor, where tropical fruit aficionados will love it, and others think they just taste like rotten fruit. But mango lovers and mango haters will likely agree on one thing: Mango Gatorade is just plain awful. While the sports drink originators at Gatorade do athletic beverage flavors well, sometimes their fruit flavors flop. This is one of those times.

Mango tries to be tropical, but really tastes more like liquified artificial butter flavor. And, more accurately, the artificial butter flavor you find in lower-grade bags of microwave popcorn that stink up your break room. After that initial assault, mango softens into what would best be described as prison wine chardonnay, a buttery, overly-fruity flavor that's hard to handle. The finish is no better, except for the fact the stuff is out of your mouth. What we're saying is, if you go to the store looking for orange-flavored Gatorade, read the label carefully. The last thing you want is to open the bottle and realize you've bought a bottle of mango.

16. Strawberry Lemonade

If you've ever ordered a strawberry lemonade in a restaurant, say Chick-fil-A's for example, you're probably used to a refreshing combination of sweet and tart, especially enjoyable on a sunny patio on a warm day. Even more enjoyable when mixed with vodka. That ain't this stuff. The sultans of sugar that are Gatorade's flavor mavens went a little overboard with the sweetness here, so much so this more or less just tastes like strawberry with a hint of ... something. Could be lemon? Could be monopotassium phosphate? The label isn't very helpful in figuring this out.

If you want to use strawberry lemonade as a mixer at a party, you might find some utility. Or if you're in the mood for a strawberry lemonade and your standards aren't too high. Otherwise, give this flavor a miss; it's too sweet to really quench your thirst, and will just leave a pit of ice-cold sugar in your stomach after a long, hot workout.

15. Strawberry Watermelon

Because Gatorade's flavors are really more their interpretation of fruit than any actual fruit, it's hard to know what to expect from their take on strawberry watermelon. But if you guessed "aggressively, put-your-dentist-on-speed-dial sweet," you'd be taking home first prize. Being the sweetest flavor of Gatorade is kinda like being the weirdest person in Florida, so when we say the saccharine rush that accompanies the first sip of this stuff dwarfs every other flavor, you know it's packing a toothache-inducing punch.

If you can get past the sweetness, the flavor is pretty nice, a pleasant mix of mellow watermelon and sharper strawberry. Gatorade would have been well served, though, to ratchet down the sugar in this one since the flavors are so overpowering already. If you can't get enough sweet stuff, this is the flavor for you, But if you weren't born with a sweet tooth, strawberry watermelon may be tough to finish. And don't even think about trying it once it gets warm.

14. Arctic Blitz

We wish we were in on the meeting when Gatorade planned the names of its Frost line. Likely, someone walked in with a big poster board and two columns of words. One marked, "Really cold stuff," and one marked, "Unreasonably aggressive actions." And while "Saskatchewan Siege" somehow missed the cut, we're still endlessly entertained by drinking a bunch of stuff people are just going to end up calling by its color anyway. Case in point, "Arctic Blitz," which sounds a little more like a football formation than a Gatorade flavor, and is utterly forgettable.

It's forgettable because nothing about it can be explained. You can't call it Green Gatorade or even Turquoise Gatorade, because the color is neither. It's more like a Miami Dolphins home jersey around the middle of the third quarter. The flavor isn't berry or citrus or anything that occurs in nature. The closest comparison we could use is rose water, but that's really not fair to roses. Maybe that's why Gatorade just decided to name the stuff Arctic Blitz –- it has neither a color of flavor that is worthy of a name.

13. Grape

Grape is a tough flavor in any drink, as even actual grape juice just doesn't taste much like the stuff that comes off the vine. So you cannot go into tasting Gatorade's Fierce grape flavor expecting anything even closely resembling grapes. Better to think about the notorious "purple stuff" of Sunny Delight commercial fame, or maybe a bottle of Faygo. Put into that category, Gatorade grape is serviceable. It's like a melted Otter Pop with a jolt of tart berry flavor, likely a note Gatorade threw in there so it qualified for the "Fierce" designation.

That said, lined up against other Gatorade flavors this one just isn't as good. For grape flavor lovers, it's going to be a crowd-pleaser. But when your fan base is limited to people who actually bought 12-packs of Grape Crush, your audience is limited. Grape's not bad, but you've gotta love artificial grape flavor to choose this over anything else on the shelf.

12. Lemon Lime

If there's a Gatorade flavor that inspires a Proustian moment, it's lemon lime. One sip brings you back to hot afternoons of little league baseball, youth soccer games, or sitting in the back row of a lecture hall with a yellow bottle that's half vodka. It's an unmistakable artificial blast of citrus that can taste like only one thing: Original Gatorade. It's not a terrible flavor, and the nostalgia that comes along with drinking it is a little like the effect you get with a McDonald's Happy Meal: You'll never really appreciate how bad it is, because it tastes like childhood.

That said, the powdered stuff you drank out of a giant orange cooler was never much of a dropoff from the original in a bottle. That's because lemon lime as a flavor just isn't all that interesting. There's a reason Gatorade realized pretty quickly it needed more than one flavor to capture the market, and why other brands haven't gone gangbusters trying to duplicate lemon lime. It did the job in little league, but you're older and your tastes have hopefully matured. So like you do with beer and hamburgers, level up a little and look for something better.

11. Glacier Cherry

Admittedly, we've never licked a glacier. Frankly, we've seen "A Christmas Story" too many times to mess with that nonsense. And given that Gatorade makes no claims that anyone on their team has licked a glacier, we're still confused as to why they thought it might taste anything like cherry. After all, cherry trees don't grow anywhere near arctic environments, according to Encyclopedia Britannica. And if you've ever been to D.C. in the winter, you know they don't do well with frost. Which, as the bottle tells you, is the category of Gatorade Glacier Cherry falls into.

What we're saying is, this flavor isn't just artificial, there's scientifically no way it could occur in nature. As cherry drinks go, this is one of the less aggressive, as the sweetness in Glacier Cherry is a lot less than you'll find in Cherry Coke, and milder than grenadine or the bottom of a jar of maraschino cherries. The "glacier" part of the drink mellows the cherry out, and makes it palatable for those who just aren't into cherries. So don't immediately cast it aside just because you had a bad experience with Shirley Temples at a bar mitzvah 20 years ago.

10. Green Apple

Do you like apples? Or any hard candy that purportedly tastes like apples? You're gonna love this flavor of Gatorade, which tastes like someone took a bunch of Jolly Ranchers, melted them down, and threw in some electrolytes. But one of these a day isn't keeping the doctor away, there's still a solid 230 calories in a 32-ounce bottle, one of the higher counts of any flavor of Gatorade.

There are no surprises in a bottle of Gatorade Green Apple; before even opening the cap you can be pretty certain what it tastes like. And unlike more ambiguous flavor names like Cool Blue, a fairly straightforward set of expectations are set for this dark green bottle. Like grape, it's a flavor you have to generally enjoy to select. So if you're a green apple head, go for it. If you're not, well, move a little further down the line.

9. Fruit Punch

Another of Gatorade's original flavors is Fruit Punch, an oft-imitated option that's fairly indistinguishable from any other fruit punch sports drink on the market. It's hard to hate on fruit punch, it's a standard bearer that's been around forever, and its basic nature is part of why it's so unobjectionable. It's a mix of tropical fruit flavors you could pretty easily mix with rum, throw in a blender, and tell someone it's a mai tai. You might call it ratchet; we call it dorm room mixology.

But beyond using this stuff as a bargain mixer it's really only good if it's the only thing in the vending machine at the gym. Gazing at a rack of more interesting Gatorade flavors at your local convenience store, there's just other stuff out there that's more refreshing, and does more to quench your taste buds and your thirst. Once upon a time, fruit punch might have been the "exotic" flavor of Gatorade. But times and tastes have changed, and while there's nothing all that wrong about fruit punch, there's nothing overwhelmingly great about it either.

8. Orange

Orange is one of Gatorade's original, we're-not-making-this-sound-like-Edmund-Hillary- in-a-bottle flavors, a standby variety that's served generations of athletes and avid sugar consumers for decades. It tastes about as much like a natural orange as Hawaiian punch tastes like Hawaii, but can we really be mad about that? After all, do YOU know what an Arctic Blast tastes like? Exactly. And in this case, the liquid is orange, so we can just assume that's how Gatorade got the name.

This drink isn't alone in the world of orange beverages in its obviously artificial flavor, and though we might be tempted to say it tastes a little like a flat Fanta, it's actually a lot better than that. If you try really hard, you can almost get a note of fresh-squeezed orange juice in there, albeit stuff that's had all the pulp removed and a lot of sugar added. But as not-orange orange drinks go. Gatorade is one of the better ones.

7. Strawberry

Probably the only time you'll ever see the words "fierce" and "intense" used in close proximity to the word "strawberry" is on a bottle of Gatorade. Such is the branding on this offering from Gatorade's amped-up Fierce line. And surprisingly, Strawberry isn't oversold. When you buy any strawberry flavored drink, the assumption is that it's going to be a painful wave of sugar, especially coming from a brand of drinks known for its overbearing sweetness. But strawberry is actually one of the less-sweet flavors of Gatorade, throwing you a sharp tart punch with a smooth melon finish.

Generally, tart strawberry drinks are ones blended with lemon, lime, or something else to counter the natural sweetness. But when you're playing with artificial flavors, there's no need to follow rules, and this strawberry is bold without any assistance. The nose is reminiscent of Gatorade's melon flavors, and the taste isn't exactly a blooming field in the English countryside. But if you throw your expectations of what strawberry is supposed to taste like out the window, this Fierce flavor can be genuinely enjoyable.

6. Passion fruit

Kudos to whoever formulated passion fruit Gatorade; it's the lone fruit flavor that actually tastes like the fruit it's named after. Not like passion fruit candy or passion fruit soda either, but like actual, roadside-juice-stands-in the-Caribbean passion fruit juice. Ok, maybe it's not that authentic, but tasting it next to Gatorade's bevvy of factory-created fruit interpretations, passion fruit makes for a nice change of pace.

No, it's not giving you the cooling blast of the berry-heavy Fierce line. And no, it's not bringing you back to the youth soccer sidelines of yesteryear. But it is, without question, the most fruit-like flavor of Gatorade. Going by flavor authenticity alone, passion fruit could come out on top. The problem is, if you want passion fruit juice, you'll probably just get passion fruit juice. And if you want chemically engineered refreshment in a plastic bottle, you're probably reaching for something further up the list.

5. Cool Blue

We'd like to think there's a Miles Davis fan somewhere in Gatorade's flavor naming department, who was kicking back one night listening to "Kind of Blue" on vinyl, mixing berry flavors, and thinking "Miles would DIG this, man."

And Gatorade totally would have pulled off creating the Miles Davis of sports drinks if it weren't for one thing: There was already a blue Gatorade, and it was already a classic. So instead of being the Miles Davis of sports drinks, it's more the high school band teacher who thinks he's Miles Davis of sports drinks. And when you ask for a blue Gatorade and get Cool Blue instead, it's a disappointment right up there with Taco Bell getting your order wrong. It's not Cool Blue's fault –- it's got a refreshing berry flavor that's only indistinguishable from blue cherry by its lack of cherry flavor. But since it's not "blue Gatorade," it will always disappoint. Though on its own, it's still outstanding.

4. Lime Cucumber

When you first crack the cap on a bottle of lime cucumber Gatorade, the blast of vapor hitting your nose smells almost like a day at the spa. Like as soon as you take a sip, a woman in scrubs named Svetlana is going to softly walk in and ask if you're ready for your deep tissue massage. It's a nice image, but fades as soon as Gatorade's trademark sweetness takes hold. Don't get us wrong, Gatorade's ability to make cucumber legitimately tasty is laudable, and a big reason why lime cucumber ranks so high. But let's not start deluding ourselves into thinking this is anything resembling healthy.

The mix of cucumber and lime makes for a strong, refreshing flavor, and pounding one of these after a long, hot run is one of the most invigorating experiences one can have with a sports drink. This is especially true when it's consumed ice cold, as the expression "cool as a cucumber" wasn't just invented for clever alliteration. We didn't try it warm, and the result would probably fall under "asking questions you don't want the answer to." But fresh out of the cooler, this one's a winner.

3. Blue Cherry

Flavor competition is an interesting thing. Gatorade certainly has cornered the market on "Blue Gatorade," mostly because it's the only one actually making Gatorade. But then you try Blue Powerade (real name Mountain Berry Blast) and realize they do a pretty good job making blue stuff too. THEN you try Gatorade's Blue Cherry and realize it tastes almost exactly like Blue Powerade. It's like Gatorade said, "Ok, you like that cherry-berry stuff in your artificially-blue sports drink? Cool. You can still stay brand loyal."

Whether you opt for Blue Cherry Gatorade or Blue Powerade will probably depend on whatever's on sale or at eye level. But if your local grocery store is running a BOGO on Gatorade and you're a die-hard Powerade person, this can be a money-saving alternative. Just understand that blue cherries don't occur in nature. And neither does this flavor unless your idea of nature involves a 7-Eleven. But for cool, blue refreshment it's a tough one to top.

2. Riptide Rush

Looks can often be deceiving, as anyone laying eyes on the violet-hued Riptide Rush would probably assume it was some sort of grape flavor. But we all learned what happens when we assume, right? We get a cold mouthful of something that tastes like raspberries and blue Gatorade and have to step back for a second and think about what we're drinking. Kind of like when you tried Crystal Pepsi that one time and couldn't understand why Sprite tasted like caramel.

Our brains are a funny place, but once you accept that Riptide Rush tastes right in line with the rest of the Fierce line of Gatorades –- and especially in line with the ones whose names invoke potential hypothermia –- you'll love it. It's just a shade off from the top because its fruit flavors are still a little muted, and while certainly refreshing it's not quite up for top honors. But if you see one in the cooler, grab it.

1. Glacier Freeze

We have absolutely no way of proving this, but we suspect the famous baby blue rocks on "Breaking Bad" were somehow inspired by Glacier Freeze Gatorade. They're almost equally addictive, and whoever invented the stuff is an unquestionable master of chemistry. Though Gatorade has a number of flavors colored blue, when people say they want Blue Gatorade, what they're talking about is Glacier Freeze. And God help anyone who mistakes it for Cool Blue.

Glacier Freeze Gatorade might be the only thing on the planet that just tastes like a color. It might also taste like the end of a long run, or a hangover, depending on how you use Gatorade. But ask anyone who's ever cracked open a bottle of this pale blue heaven when their body is criminally dehydrated, and they'd be hard-pressed to tell you the flavor. Maybe a little raspberry, mixed with blackberry? Maybe a mix of chemicals you'd blow up a nursing home to keep secret? It doesn't matter, when you're talking about Gatorade in 2021, you're talking about Glacier Freeze. And anyone who says otherwise may as well just drink tap water.