Polar Seltzer Flavors, Ranked

What are the best Polar flavors? This is the gospel. Bow down. (Just kidding, feel free to tell me how much you disagree in the comments.)

Photos by Mariel Tenney. Styling By Olga Khvan.

Photos by Mariel Tenney. Styling By Olga Khvan.

New Englanders are passionate about their Polar. The Worcester-based company has been around since the late-1800s, and very rarely lets anyone behind their Wizard of Oz-like curtain to catch a glimpse of how they go about making the delicious bubbly. The natural flavors—used to enhance the seltzer—are called “essence,” but what exactly is it? It must be human catnip, I say, because the stuff is addicting. Ad-dict-ing.

Because of our own passion for the product, we decided to rank all 18 classic Polar Seltzer flavors, from best to worst. But, honestly, there is no “worst” because they are all awesome! People even have the tasty bubbles shipped across the country because once you go Polar, there’s no going back. Sorry, Poland Spring. Seriously, Polar, what are those natural flavors?

How we did it:

  • For this study, we only used the perennial, classic flavors—no special summer or winter bottles made the cut—just the 18 classics.
  • All 18 bottles were purchased at the same neighborhood grocery near the Boston offices.
  • Three bottles exploded upon opening.
  • One bottle was flat, and immediately replaced at the same store.
  • Polar was not contacted for this story.
  • The idea behind this was inspired by a Tweet, as well as my own Polar addiction.

Meet your testers:

Melissa Malamut, senior editor; Bryanna Cappadona, assistant editor; Jamie Ducharme, editorial assistant; Olga Khvan, editorial assistant; Asia Bradlee, editorial intern.

Below, we bring you all 18 Polar Seltzer flavors, ranked:

1. Triple Berry

triple-berry “The clear winner. The best. I buy this stuff in bulk. ” — MM

“Berry passionate about this one.” — BC

“Smells and tastes like a popsicle.” — AB

2. Ruby Red Grapefruit

pink-grapefruit “This one is definitely my favorite.” — OK

“Light with refreshing fruit notes.” — JD

“Tart and subtle.” — AB

3. Lime

lime “I love this one. It’s light and refreshing.” — MM

“So good. Would make a great cocktail mixer.” — OK

“A 10 out of 10. I would definitely drink this again.” — JD

4. Granny Smith Apple

granny-smith “It smells like a Jolly Rancher. ” — JD

“Authentic green apple taste.” — OK

“Like if you dipped a slice of green apple in water and then sucked on it.” — MM

5. Cranberry Lime

cran-lime “Very refreshing, will be great for a barbecue.” — AB

“Will be good with a cocktail.” — BC

“Slight Twizzler-like scent.” — OK

6. Orange Vanilla

orange-vanilla “Tastes like a Creamsicle.” — JD

“Kind of sweet, but it’s my favorite.” — BC

“Refreshing, but weird aftertaste.” — OK

7. Pomegranate

pom “Tastes like real fruit! Seriously.” — BC

“Not a fan.” — MM

“Um, yum!” — AB

8. Mandarin

mandarin “Love this one!” — AB

“I taste nothing.” — JD

“Smells good, but tastes plain.” — OK

9. Vanilla Pear

mandarin “Subtle vanilla flavor.” — MM

“I only taste vanilla.” — AB

“Tastes like a candle.” — BC

10. Raspberry Lime

rasp-lime “Can’t really taste the flavor.” — OK

“Doesn’t taste like fruit to me.” — AB

“I really like this one. The lime is subtle.” — BC

11. Georgia Peach

georgia-peach “This is my favorite!” — JD

“Smells good, but the flavor is too strong.” — MM

“Neither here nor there.” — BC

12. Lemon

lemon “Boring.” — AB

“No strong feelings.” — JD

“Meh.” — OK

13. Vanilla

vanilla “Too strong vanilla flavor.” — MM

“This is for people who think they need sweetened seltzer.” — BC

“Tastes like melted vanilla ice cream.” — OK

14. Plain

plain “Kind of bitter.” — JD

“I prefer San Pellegrino.” — MM

“Tastes like bubbles.” — AB

15. Black Cherry

black-cherry “Smells and slightly tastes like NyQuil.” — OK

“I second that.” — BC

“One of my faves. Y’all are crazy.” — MM

16. Cherry Pomegranate

cherry pomegranate “Smells like medicine; tastes like medicine.” — AB

“This is an odd one.” — MM

“Haters! I like this one.” — JD

17. Blueberry

blueberry “Tastes artificial.” — JD

“Like a Dunkin’ blueberry muffin.” — OK

“Tastes like a muffin.” — BC

18. Strawberry

strawberry “Tastes like a lollipop.” — AB

“Smells like strawberry yogurt.” — JD

“Oh no. No.” — OK.