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best lacroix flavor
LACROIX/BACKGROUND: CHANGYU LU/GETTY IMAGES

People seem to have a lot of opinions about seltzer. But not me. In fact, if someone had asked me what my favorite sparkling water flavor was precisely one year ago, I would’ve said none of them. You see, until very recently, I did not understand the entire concept of seltzer. It’s water, with bubbles. And the flavors? They’re sad, bad, whispery imitations of actually delicious things that I would much rather eat than drink. Give me a glass of plain tap water and a handful of berries over a berry-flavored sparkling water any day. But my attitude changed when I found the actual best flavor of sparkling water ever known to man: LaCroix Hi-Biscus!

Hi-Biscus! (which I’ll refer to as hibiscus from now on for our collective sanity) is the only flavor for me, and here’s why: Like real hibiscus tea, which is made from part of the roselle hibiscus flower, it’s tart but not too tart. There’s no bitterness or unpleasant, lingering, artificial aftertaste. It hints at sweetness, but since it’s LaCroix, there’s no sweetener involved, artificial or otherwise. And like all delicious things, it’s just elusive enough to keep things interesting. (I.e., there are two grocery stores within walking distance of my home, but only one of them carries the flavor.) Even the can beckons you in with its dramatically rendered hibiscus illustrations and friendly exclamation point that says “I’m non-threatening” like an overly friendly work email.

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hibiscus flavored lacroix sparkling water
LaCroix

You might recall that when the relatively new flavor was launched in May 2019, it created quite a stir (or as much of a stir as sparkling water can cause), especially among LaCroix devotees who had hoped for watermelon. But if you ask me, we should all be thankful that instead of a beverage that tastes like a Jolly Rancher, we were blessed with one that tastes like an angel’s tears of joy mixed with raspberries and pomegranate. (The brand did eventually introduce a watermelon flavor, called Pasteque, but that’s beside the point.)

My real theory about why this flavor is spot-on goes something like this: While other seltzer flavors attempt to capture the taste of a food, usually a fruit, they also eliminate the inherent sweetness for the sake of zero calories. Hibiscus tea, on the other hand, is neither a fruit nor sweet in its actual form. Therefore, the odds of a hibiscus-flavored seltzer tasting like the real deal increase exponentially.

Yes, I hear you naysayers in the back. Pamplemousse fanatics can keep those chemical cans, and no thank you, I will forever pass on that cucumber-flavored seltzer that flowed freely from the sparkling water machine in our office. Coconut? It tastes like sunscreen. And all berry sparkling waters are poison. Hibiscus LaCroix is the only bubbly water that will grace my lips, $7-per-dozen price-tag be damned. I would even say that it’s improved my overall hydration by approximately 200 percent. It’s an arduous task to chug the recommended “half your body weight in ounces” of flat water, but I once drank three cans of hibiscus LaCroix in the span of six hours. (I almost floated away from the carbonation, but damn, I was hydrated.)

And if the LaCroix gods are reading this, I hope they know they can never discontinue this flavor. Otherwise, it’s over for us.

Buy it ($26)

RELATED: The Best Sparkling Water You Can Buy, from the Most Eco-Friendly to the Most Bubbly

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