17 Sparkling ICE Flavors, Ranked Worst To Best

With all the bad press about mainstream diet soda, people are turning to alternative forms of low-calorie refreshment. One popular choice is sparkling water, which is often flavored with real juice and fortified with vitamins and antioxidants. 

Sparkling ICE is a fan favorite brand of sparkling water, available in 17 different flavors from a familiar Lemon Lime to tropical flavors like Orange Mango and Coconut Pineapple. It has just five calories, which makes it a low-calorie alternative to sugary sodas and fruit juice. Granted, according to the Sparkling ICE FAQ page, Sparkling ICE's sweetness comes from sucralose, which is either very safe or the devil in a yellow paper packet, depending on who you ask. (Quick note, the use of artificial sweeteners like sucralose is one of the reasons why mainstream diet soda has a bad rap, so that's worth thinking about.) Lake other sparkling water brands, Sparkling ICE is flavored with real juice, albeit only 1% juice. 

With 17 different flavors, though, how do you choose? We're making it easy for you with this list of all 17 Sparkling ICE flavors, ranked worst to best. 

17. Classic Lemonade

The name "Classic Lemonade" raises certain expectations. First, you would expect it to taste, you know, classic. Second, you would expect it to taste like lemonade. That's not asking much, really. Unfortunately, Sparkling ICE's brand of Classic Lemonade is neither of those things. It's somewhat reminiscent of a lemon-lime soda, but like most mainstream lemon-lime sodas, the lemon flavor is not very strong. We weren't able to detect much citrus at all, which is definitely a strike against anything with "lemon" in the name.

But really, whether you take the Classic Lemonade or leave it, it's not like you don't have another 16 options, many of them with much more interesting (and less classic) names, so we're really not going to spend too much time mourning the low ranking of this flavor. And it's also worth noting that the Classic Lemonade is not so bad that you wouldn't bust one open on a hot summer afternoon. It's still refreshing.

16. Ginger Lime

Ginger Lime ranks second to last, though it's not really a bad flavor. The Ginger Lime flavored Sparkling ICE is reminiscent of ginger ale, but the ginger isn't as subtle as it is in the more mainstream ginger ales. To some, it may also seem not as balanced as it could be — the lime gets lost under all that ginger, making you wish you'd just stuck with a Canada Dry. If the lime was just a little more forward in this flavor, we might have moved it up a couple of places in the ranking. This is generally just a feeling that something called "ginger lime" ought to taste equally like both ginger and lime.

If you're looking for a straight ginger ale replacement, though, that's a bit on the healthier side and you don't mind it being a little more like food ginger than drink ginger, this flavor might land a little higher on your personal list.

15. Lemon Lime

Lemon Lime is a nice, classic flavor. After all, millions of Sprite and 7Up lovers can't be wrong. But that's exactly the problem with this flavor of Sparkling ICE — it's just too ordinary. And if you're cool with ordinary, you might as well just save your money and get a nice, frugal 12-pack of your favorite diet lemon-lime drink and leave it there.

Sparkling ICE does up the ante a little bit with their Lemon Lime. It's a little more citrusy than your run-of-the-mill lemon-lime soda, so it's got some tang that elevates it a bit. And depending on how you feel about artificial sweeteners, well, Sparkling ICE has sucralose, Sprite Zero has aspartame, so you may have to just pick the one you are less afraid of. Also, there are some major nutritional differences, if that's meaningful to you. Sparkling ICE has 5 calories, Sprite Zero has zero. Sprite Zero has 35 grams of sodium and 108 mg of potassium. Sparkling ICE has vitamin A, vitamin D, niacin, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, biotin, and pantothenic acid. So now you have all the info. Consider it an informed choice.

14. Orange Mango

Sparkling ICE is flavored with real juice. Not much real juice, but real juice, nonetheless. Yet somehow, this flavor ended up tasting really artificial. In fact, it seems to have a hint of peach, but not like the peaches you buy at the farmer's market in August, more like an artificial peach that you might find in a hard candy. Which is weird, especially since Sparkling ICE's Orange Mango isn't even, you know, peach.

Still, the flavor of Sparkling ICE's Orange Mango is little deeper than the taste of the Classic Lemonade or the Lemon Lime, so it gets moved up the list a couple of notches. Orange Mango has got a mild tropical appeal, too, but that part kind of gets lost beneath what tastes a bit too much like watered-down orange juice. It does have a nice morning-on-the-beach kind of vibe, though, and it does seem to be a favorite for other reviewers, so take it all with a grain of salt. And maybe a splash of tequila.

13. Strawberry Lemonade

If you were going to pick the most refreshing-sounding name on this list, Strawberry Lemonade would be it, just based on nostalgia alone. Who doesn't love a pulpy glass of pulverized strawberries mixed with freshly squeezed lemon juice and enough sugar to make you want to do jumping jacks on your bed like a toddler? But therein lies the problem with the Sparkling ICE Strawberry Lemonade — the taste just isn't up to those expectations. There's no pulpy deliciousness. There's no sugar. And this flavor is way more strawberry than it is lemonade.

To be fair, it's really hard to take a beloved drink and reinvent it to the very high standards people have for the original version. Sparkling ICE's Strawberry Lemonade is good, but strawberry lemonade isn't supposed to be fizzy and it isn't supposed to be crisp and clear, so the result is just kind of, well weird. It's certainly not undrinkable (there's no such thing as an undrinkable Sparkling ICE), but it's not our favorite, either.

12. Coconut Limeade

This is one of Sparkling ICE's more popular flavors, maybe because coconut is kind of having its five minutes of fame right now what with all the coconut water hype and the coconut-scented shampoos ... but not actual coconuts, because have you ever tried to cut one of those things open? You need a hacksaw!

Anyway, the Coconut Limeade Sparkling ICE is nothing if not coconut-y. Which, granted, is exactly what you want in a coconut limeade refreshment. It does have a pretty decent balance, with enough lime to add some zing, but not so much that it overwhelms the coconut. Really, though, the best thing about this flavor is its possibilities. Coconut Limeade serves as a great cocktail mixer — use Sparkling ICE's own Coconut Limeade Creamsicle recipe, or just be creative. It would be a great starting point for the bar at a tropical-themed pool party.

11. Kiwi Strawberry

This is Sparkling ICE's take on the flavor made famous by Snapple (and also Jell-O, Kool-Aid, Gatorade, and like another dozen food products from the 1990s). With a few notable differences, Sparkling ICE's brand of kiwi strawberry is probably most similar to the one put out by Snapple.

To be fair, though, comparing Sparkling ICE to Snapple is kind of like comparing strawberries to kiwis (har, har). One is thick, very sweet, and un-carbonated while the other is light, less sweet, and extra-carbonated. But take away the textures, and the flavors are pretty much identical. There is a bit of nostalgia attached to that Snapple-ish kiwi strawberry flavor, but just like with its Strawberry Lemonade, Sparkling ICE's version doesn't quite live up to the expectations that years of Snapple consumption have left us with. So while this flavor is nice, it's just not enough of its own thing to land any higher in the ranking.

10. Peach Nectarine

Unlike so many other brands of peach-flavored whatever, Peach Nectarine Sparkling ICE does not taste like a peach Jolly Rancher. It tastes like peaches, which is frankly quite surprising for really anything with the word "peach" in the title. If you want to get analytical, though, the whole "peach nectarine" thing is a bit dumb since a nectarine is just a peach without the peach fuzz and you'd be kind of hard-pressed to actually pick out the peach notes from the nectarine notes in this or any similarly-named blend. (That was a cue for the foodies to jump in and school everyone on the subtle but important flavor differences between peaches and nectarines.)

Peach, nectarine, or both, who cares. Sparkling ICE Peach Nectarine has a real summer vibe, which makes it super refreshing on a hot day. And ultimately, it's only 1% juice anyway so it's not like it matters how much of that 1% tastes like a nectarine.

9. Fruit Punch

Sparkling ICE Fruit Punch provides drinkers with another gigantic dose of childhood nostalgia, with the main difference being that every brand of everything from back in your childhood had some version of fruit punch in its lineup. Kool-Aid, Minute Maid, and Hawaiian Punch all had their own versions of the fruit punch flavor, so it's not weird or disappointing to find it in a lightened-up, carbonated beverage. In fact, it's kind of like childhood nostalgia all grown up.

Sparkling ICE's Fruit Punch tastes exactly like childhood on the Slip n' Slide only without the neck injuries and brain-eating amoebas. The carbonated kick makes it a little more sophisticated than the stuff your mom kept in a pitcher in the fridge, and as a bonus, you won't get the extra calories, sugar bomb, or the red Kool-Aid mustache when you drink it.

8. Pink Grapefruit

If you ever tried the grapefruit diet, two things probably happened. One, you took a single bite and then vowed to never again go within 100 feel of that cursed devil-fruit, and two, you didn't actually lose any weight. That's because the grapefruit diet only works because given the choice between grapefruit and nothing, you'd probably prefer the nothing. And let's be real: We'd all rather choose a different kind of fruit!

Face it: Grapefruit pretty much always gets a bad rap. After all, it's not as sweet as a delicious orange. Perhaps it's what an orange would be if it grew on the Tree of Soulless despair in the land of Everything Oranges Should Not Be. Anyway, because grapefruits are grapefruits, we would never have gone anywhere near pink grapefruit, except we kind of had to in order to rank this flavor.

Surprisingly, Pink Grapefruit Sparkling ICE tastes like Fresca, only it's better for you. In fact, this flavor lands pretty squarely in the middle between our favorites and least favorites. Way to go, grapefruit.

7. Black Cherry

The darker Sparkling ICE flavors have what we think is a visual advantage over everything we've rated this far. They just look like they would taste better, in sort of the same way a pinot noir looks more appealing than a rosé. But compared to the other deep red Sparkling ICE flavors, Black Cherry just doesn't quite measure up to the others because it kind of has, well, a little bit too much cherry. The flavor is robust and fruity almost to the point of being overwhelming. And though there isn't anything artificial in Sparkling ICE (besides the sucralose), it has somewhat of an artificial taste.

To be fair, this flavor does taste good, otherwise it wouldn't have landed so close to the top of the list. But it seems as though this drink needs something to kind of temper the taste a bit so the cherry is not so dominant.

6. Cherry Limeade

It's no coincidence that Cherry Limeade eeks out the spot just in front of it's bolder cousin. The lime is just what the cherry needs — the combination is less overbearing than straight Black Cherry. Cherry Limeade is unsurprisingly pinker than its predecessor, but it doesn't look watery like some of the other Sparkling ICE flavors do. It's lighter and just that little bit more refreshing. If you've ever had a cherry lime Ricky, you already know that cherry and lime are meant for each other, and this is a lovely example of that partnership at work.

Sparkling ICE's Cherry Limeade does lean a little bit on the sweet side, but it's not as sweet as some of the other flavors. It's also guzzle-able, so if you're especially hot, it's easy to down a whole bottle and not feel like you're overdosing on sweetness. This is another flavor that would be great in a cocktail — simply mix it with some rum and maybe an extra hit of fresh lime juice, and it would be a great lakeside refreshment or accompaniment for a barbecue.

5. Strawberry Watermelon

If Strawberry Lemonade isn't quite summery enough for you, how about Strawberry Watermelon? This flavor has got everything the Strawberry Lemonade flavor has, but without the disappointment of tasting too much but not enough like your favorite childhood summer drink. And let's face facts: Lemons are always in season, but watermelon is singularly summertime, so much so that Sparkling ICE's Strawberry Watermelon would actually be super weird if you tried to drink it in November.

Strawberry Watermelon Sparkling ICE does a great job of capturing both its title flavors without elevating one over the other, and may even win over people who dislike watermelon. It's also super refreshing, just like an actual slice of watermelon, only you're not spitting seeds everywhere and grossing out everyone within spitting distance. We hate to keep bringing up the whole "drink this on a hot summer day" point, but you should totally be drinking this on a hot summer day.

4. Pomegranate Blueberry

Pomegranate and blueberry are probably two of the world's most underrated fruits (if you don't count blueberry's relentless presence in breakfast pastries of all kinds), and putting them together into one drink is actually kind of genius. Sparkling ICE wasn't the first to do this, of course, but it does do it especially well.

While most of Sparkling ICE's other flavors feature summer fruits, pomegranate is very solidly in the fall and winter category, so if you're into that cool, crisp afternoon vibe, you don't have to worry that this drink will transport you back to the sweltering heat of summer.

The flavor of Sparkling ICE's Pomegranate Blueberry is refreshingly different from mainstream sodas, so you won't feel like you're just drinking someone else's version of something that's already been done a million times. It's pom-forward, but you can definitely taste the berries in there, too. The only thing that's a bit on the strange side is the color — both pomegranate and blueberry are in the deep red to blue-purple range, and Pomegranate Blueberry is a lot pinker than it seems like it ought to be. Saying that out loud, though, is kind of like asking for some artificial coloring, and we're just not going to go all the way in that direction. Whatever color that comes out of the mix is fine by us, as long as it tastes good.

3. Grape Raspberry

One of the problems with real grape juice is it tastes too much like wine, only without the wine. Don't misunderstand, it's not that we dislike the taste of wine. In fact, it's just the opposite. If it's going to taste like wine, it had better actually be wine, or else why all the mouth taunting?

Sparkling ICE's Grape Raspberry is definitely grape-forward, but without that feeling that it wasn't fermented long enough to be useful for other purposes. The grape is complemented by notes of strawberry, but it's really the star of the show. All Sparkling ICE is best served cold, but this particular flavor is pretty excellent if you put it in the freezer for 45 minutes or so and let it get kind of slushy. We love the inviting, dark red color of the Grape Raspberry flavor, and it would definitely be the second choice if we were craving the flavor in the number one spot but couldn't find it on the shelf.

2. Coconut Pineapple

If you thought the Coconut Limeade and Orange Mango flavors were tropical, have we got a Caribbean island in a bottle for you. Nothing is quite as tropical as pineapple, with the possible exception of coconut, so why not put them together into one extra refreshing beverage? If you are looking for a drink that says beach umbrellas and flip flops, this is most certainly it. Coconut Pineapple Sparkling ICE has exactly the right blend of its title ingredients, exactly the right amount of sweetness, and exactly the right vibe for summer vacation.

This flavor goes in front of Grape Raspberry, even though we think Grape Raspberry is just short of being interchangeable with the taste-test winner, because Coconut Pineapple really stands all on its own. It's not the only Sparkling ICE flavor that features coconut, but it's the only one that really brings out the potential in this sometimes over-used ingredient. Coconut drinks (We're looking at you, coconut water!) sometimes tend to be watery, but this beverage has the body you'd expect from a pineapple drink with enough coconut to make it a complete, tropical wonderland in a plastic bottle.

1. Black Raspberry

Black Raspberry is bold without being overwhelming, and it's refreshing without being overly sweet. This is the flavor you want to keep stocked in your fridge. In fact, you might even consider having a whole fridge entirely devoted to nothing but Black Raspberry Sparkling ICE, because you're going to be sad when you run out of it.

This is the diet soda substitute you want on your team — the one you can drink no matter what time of year it is. It's super refreshing after you've been outside in the garden on a hot day, and it's just right for drinking in the fall or winter opposite a roast beef sandwich or a turkey club. It has that deep red color that looks so inviting in a carbonated beverage, and it has just the right amount of raspberry flavor. And the raspberry tastes perfect all on its own without the need for some other fruit to complement it.

If we were stranded on a deserted island and had to live off one box of supplies dropped once a week by a passing airplane, well frankly, we'd wonder why the plane couldn't just send a helicopter to come pick us up already. But we would also want that box to contain a case of Black Raspberry Sparkling ICE ... and at least 20 pounds of actual ice for the cooler!