America's Test Kitchen LogoCook's Country LogoCook's Illustrated Logo
ATK Reviews

Can Our Favorite Sparkling Water Get Better? Yes.

Our winning sparkling water brand, Polar Seltzer, has a new limited-edition line of flavored soda water. Our reviewer said one flavor is a can't-miss.

Published June 25, 2021.

My love affair with sparkling water started six years ago. I was looking for something tasty and effervescent to help me curb my diet soda consumption, so I started trying different seltzer brands. After sampling several duds, I found my favorite: Polar Seltzer, a creative brand with beautifully designed labels and delicious flavor combinations.

When I started working for the ATK Reviews team, I was thrilled to find that our sparkling water taste test had the same results as my personal experimentation: Polar Original Seltzer took the crown. (Use their location finder to see where it's sold near you.)

Every six months, Polar releases a slate of limited-edition seasonal flavors with fun, gorgeous label designs and unique flavor pairings. Since Polar is our winning brand, I gave the latest releases a taste, taking careful note of my favorite and least favorite flavor factors while searching for my one, true seltzer of the summer. (Note: None of the following contain alcohol.)

Tropical Cherry

I always worry that cherry-flavored seltzers are going to taste like cough syrup. Here, the cherry is subtle and well-balanced with a good bit of pineapple flavor added in. It tastes like someone added some cherry juice to a piña colada—but it’s not cloyingly sweet. All in all, refreshing and light. 

Score: 4/5

Strawberry Margarita

Margaritas are my go-to cocktail; I enjoy tequila and I love the sour punch of lime juice. I worry when other flavors are added that may threaten the tartness. The strawberry flavor is strong here, and I wish there was a stronger citrus note to balance it out. I still enjoy it quite a bit; it’s crisp and refreshing and would be great for someone who’s normally drawn to strong berry flavors.

Score: 4/5

Pink Summer Iced Tea

I am a native Southerner, so I know a thing or two about sweet tea. Despite its name, this flavor doesn’t give off a strong tea vibe. Instead it offers up pleasant citrus notes with a hint of something floral, reminiscent of hibiscus. This flavor is delicious and more subtle than the others. It would be stellar added to a cocktail, maybe to jazz up a boring vodka soda. I love it!

Score: 4.5/5

Blackberry Mango Punch 

I was intrigued by this combination; I love both mango and blackberries, but I was worried about them together. This flavor is pleasantly fruity, but the distinct flavors get somewhat muddled. It’s still delicious, and it would be best for someone who likes a delicate fruit flavor in their seltzer without going overboard. 

Score: 3.5/5

Watermelon Mojito

Wow! This is one of the best sparkling water flavors I’ve ever tasted. I love the watermelon, and I’m especially drawn to the hint of mint that rounds out the flavor nicely and gives the seltzer a tropical vibe. I could easily see myself keeping a few bottles of this in my cooler for a trip to the beach or using it to top off a cocktail during a barbecue. This one takes the crown as the seltzer of the summer! 

Score: 5/5

Sign up for the Well-Equipped Cook newsletter

Shop smarter with our ATK Reviews team's expert guides and recommendations.

These six tastings are some of our most popular reviews. Start a free trial to access all these, plus our other rigorously tested equipment reviews and taste tests.

This is a members' feature.