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Kool Aid: 7 Best & 3 Worst Flavors + Tasty Hacks

At nearly 100 years old, Kool Aid has certainly been around for a long time. In this article, we’ll delve into the very best Kool Aid flavors, the ones to avoid, and what else you can make using those little sachets of fruity flavor.

The unquestionably American drink comes in powdered form, allowing you to mix it to your exact liking. Nowadays, dozens of flavors are available across the world. And you can make more with Kool Aid than just drinks, too.

Kool-Aid is perfect for making your own DIY soft drinks using either still or sparkling water. The great variety of flavors appeals to both young and old, and many of us will have nostalgic memories of fun summertimes drinking Kool Aid.

Interesting Facts about Kool Aid Flavors

Interesting Facts about Kool Aid Flavors

With Kool Aid’s age and unusual design, there are bound to be numerous fun facts about the brand.

And indeed there are, starting with the products ‘accidental’ invention: Kool Aid was originally called Fruit Smack, and its inventor Edwin Perkins initially made it in a concentrated liquid form.

He later re-designed Fruit Smack to be powdered for easier packaging and transportation, before also re-naming it Kool-Aid.

Edwin Perkins invented Kool Aid in the 1920s in Nebraska. To this day, the product is celebrated in the state — they even have annual Kool Aid Days to honor their connection to the now iconic beverage. In 1998, Nebraska actually went so far as to designate Kool Aid their official state soft drink.

The original Kool Aid was sold in envelopes and promised 10 glasses of drink for just 10 cents. Word of this creation soon spread and it was quickly sold internationally. In 1953, Perkins sold his company to General Foods, and nowadays it’s owned by the Kraft Heinz Company.

The little pitcher character on the packaging, known as Kool-Aid Man, first became famous in the 1950s. He was first seen crashing through walls to deliver refreshing, delicious Kool Aid drinks to kids in commercials.

Kool Aid is known for its iconic jingles. The Kool Aid man’s catchphrase, ‘Oh yeah!’ is famous to this day. The brand is so iconic, in fact, that some people also collect the old packaging, with rare ones selling for hundreds of dollars on auction websites.

The popular drink is also ingrained in pop culture, with references appearing in music, movies, and TV shows. Many Americans associate Kool Aid with childhood nostalgia and summertime refreshment. There was even a Kool Aid man video game at one point.

Naturally, most of us will have also heard of ‘drinking the Kool-Aid’, which is a humorous, often ironic way of saying someone just accepts any idea based on peer pressure or popularity.

Lastly, Kool Aid was added to soldiers’ military rations during World War II. It was an easy thing to add that didn’t take much space, and the soldiers could make up flavorful drinks by just adding a little bit of water.

What Kool Aid Is

What Kool Aid Is

Kool-Aid is a powdered drink additive you can mix with water to make flavorful beverages. It was originally a concentrated liquid, but changed to make packaging and shipping easier.

Kool Aid doesn’t have the most amazing ingredients on the planet, as it contains things like high fructose corn syrup, artificial (and natural) flavoring, glycerol esters of wood rosin, red 40 coloring, and preservatives.

Some, though not all, of these ingredients are weird at best and potentially harmful at worst.

Origin of Kool Aid

Origin of Kool Aid

As mentioned above, the popular drink was invented by Edwin Perkins in 1920s Nebraska.

He first created a liquid concentrate he named Fruit Smack, and later changed this to be the powdered Kool Aid many know and love today.

Fun fact: he experimented with his creations in his mom’s kitchen.

What Is Special About Kool Aid

What Is Special About Kool Aid

Kool Aid is unusual because it’s produced in powdered form, allowing you to mix your beverages as you please. It was one of the first powdered juice-type drink mixes. The very first had been Poly Pop, which was created a few years earlier.

The Best Kool Aid Flavors Ranked

The Best Kool Aid Flavors Ranked

With so many flavors to choose from, you’d think it’d be quite tricky to pick the top Kool Aid flavors ever.

Fear not, we’ve looked through them all and now present you with the best ones. Below are the top fan favorite Kool-Aid flavors you must try.

Grape

Grape

It seems almost strange to write about Grape Kool-Aid as the number 1 flavor of anything, because it really divides tastes.

Some find grape flavoring overly sweet, artificial, and even medicinal. But Grape Kool Aid delivers. It does taste artificial, but in a hugely satisfying, grape candy sort of way.

You can make it more or less potent by adding or removing water, and you can have it sugary sweet or mellow. The choice is yours.

Black Cherry

Black Cherry

Black Cherry seems to be on a real high these days, when it comes to favored flavors. This one’s quite natural-tasting and has a more realistic cherry flavor than regular cherry Kool Aid. You can have this one without added sugar, it would seem, and it’s still tasty.

Tropical Punch

Tropical Punch

If you’ve ever had Kool-Aid at all, you’ve likely had this flavor. It’s a sort of generic fruit punch flavor that allegedly includes cherry, orange, and other fruit flavors.

In any case, it’s bright red and delicious. Top tip: you can actually also get this flavor as a pouched, ready-made drink, known as a Kool Aid Jammer.

Though we think that just takes away part of the fun of making it.

Blue Raspberry Lemonade

Blue Raspberry Lemonade

There’s nothing very natural about this flavor, but if you love blue raspberry sweets, you’ll also enjoy this. It’s fruity, delicious, and will tint your entire mouth bright blue.

Some fans enjoy mixing this flavor with juices to make punch bowls, which seems to be a popular birthday party treat.

Pink Lemonade

Pink Lemonade

Honestly, who doesn’t love pink lemonade? Pink Lemonade Kool-Aid is no exception here. It’s bright pink, fruity, slightly sweet and also nicely tart.

We’d say this is a particularly nostalgic flavor that brings many Kool Aid fans straight back to their childhood. We highly recommend this if you’ve not tried Kool-Aid before.

Lemonade

Lemonade

This flavor is a popular all-rounder. You can control just how sweet or tart you want your lemonade Kool-Aid (just as you would if you were making fresh lemonade from scratch). It’s citrusy and refreshing, and an easy treat on a hot day.

Strawberry

Strawberry

Ok, strawberry-flavored drinks tend to be divisive because they can be very sweet, but this is delicious. This particular flavor actually tastes like strawberries (despite probably ever having seen one). It’s got a lovely pink color that’s enticing and fun, and it tastes like a real treat on a summer day.

Worst Kool Aid Flavors

Worst Kool Aid Flavors

Kool Aid is, generally speaking, a drink you either love or hate. But with so many flavors to choose from, even die-hard fans will find some that aren’t on their to-try list. Here are a few of the least-enjoyable ones we could find.

Jamaica ‘Agua Fresca’

Jamaica ‘Agua Fresca’

The Jamaican agua fresca flavor of Kool Aid has been described by some as being too thick. It tastes artificial and just… wrong. As others have said, if you’ve never had Kool-Aid before, don’t start trying it with this one.

Tangerine

Tangerine

This flavor tastes like absolutely nothing, according to reviewers.

So technically it’s not ‘bad’, but it’s not what you want when you’ve paid a few dollars for a refreshing drink.

Since this is another ‘agua fresca’ flavor, it may well have been intended to be subtle, though perhaps not quite that subtle.

Strawberry Lemonade

Strawberry Lemonade

This has been described as ‘disgusting’ on the internet at the rough end of the scale, and just way too sour on the slightly less scathing end. Kool-Aid is meant to be quite a sweet beverage, so this one just didn’t seem right at all.

The Original Kool Aid Flavors

The Original Kool Aid Flavors

Kool Aid originally came in just six flavors, as listed below. All of these are still available today, which is testament to how cleverly innovative the original Kool Aid team were. Some are fan favorites to this day, too.

Grape

Grape

The original grape-flavored Kool-Aid is one of the all time most popular flavors out there. It’s intensely grape-y, and intensely purple, and offers a lovely balance of sweetness and tanginess.

Orange

Orange

Kool-Aid’s Orange flavor is another popular classic. It’s bright orange in color and has a delightful, tangy taste that’s hard to resist. It makes for a refreshing, nostalgic drink that most people will like.

Cherry

Cherry

Cherry-flavored Kool Aid still exists, but isn’t quite as popular as the Black Cherry variety. It’s known for its bright red color and yummy, if slightly artificial, cherry taste. Perfect if you enjoy cherry-flavored candy.

Root Beer

Root Beer

There seems to be mixed information on this one, and it’s no longer available at time of writing. Allegedly it was one of the original Kool Aid flavors, but with it being a non-fruity variety, we’d imagine it was just a little too different to persist.

Lemon Lime

Lemon Lime

Lemon Lime Kool Aid is another classic flavor that’s still pretty popular today. It’s well-known for being, essentially, a neon green color that borders on fluorescent.

It tastes zesty and fresh, but probably not the most realistic. Nevertheless, it remains popular to this day.

Raspberry

Raspberry

Raspberry Kool-Aid is a classic flavor that remains a fan favorite to this day. It’s a vibrant red when made up and has a bold, delicious taste reminiscent of raspberry candies. This one is perfect for homemade slushies and popsicles, too.

Tasty Alternatives to Kool Aid

Tasty Alternatives to Kool Aid

Let’s face it, Kool-Aid isn’t known for its healthful beverages. You may be looking for more natural alternatives that still offer the same flavorful, summertime juice drink experience.

Below are some great alternatives that are just as yummy, with less of the artificial ingredients.

Fruit Infused Herbal Tea

Fruit Infused Herbal Tea

It’s not quite the same as Kool Aid, but a jug of cool fresh fruit infused herbal tea can be delicious.

Try a mixed fruit tea with berries and add some real frozen raspberries and strawberries once it’s cooled.

Finish with a few sprigs of mint and some lemon or lime wedges. Delicious and fully sugar and artificial ingredient free.

Homemade Natural Kool Aid

Homemade Natural Kool Aid

The internet holds many secrets, and this is one of them: to make your own homemade natural Kool-Aid, all you need is some fruit tea, lemon juice, raw honey, and ice.

Allegedly if you use plenty of fruit tea and pair it with honey and lemon juice, it’ll taste quite close to the real deal.

Either way, it’ll be a lovely healthy alternative, with the added health benefits honey has to offer.

Capri-Sun Pouches

Capri-Sun Pouches

Capri-Sun pouches are quite similar to Kool-Aid Jammers. They’re free from artificial flavors, coloring, and preservatives. This makes them a healthier alternative to Kool Aid, and there are also plenty of fun flavors available.

Tasty Kool Aid Hacks

Tasty Kool Aid Hacks

Kool Aid is fun to experiment with — after all it was first created as a kind of kitchen experiment. Here are some of our favorite hacks to make things with Kool-Aid that aren’t just drinks.

Kool Aid Flavored Lip Gloss

Kool Aid Flavored Lip Gloss

This is a fun yet super simple hack. All you need is some vegetable shortening (we’d imagine tallow would work very well too), Kool-Aid of your choice, and hot water.

Mix your Kool Aid with three tablespoons of hot water until it’s entirely dissolved. Next, mix one tablespoon of your Kool Aid mix with one tablespoon of shortening, and play with the ratio until you get a consistency you enjoy.

Top tip: choose a Kool Aid color you like, as it does stain your lips.

Kool Aid Pie

Kool Aid Pie

The easiest hack for making Kool Aid pie is to start with a pre-prepared Graham cracker pie crust.

Next, mix up sweetened condensed milk and the Kool Aid flavor of your choice.

Finally gently fold in your whipped topping until you get a nice, light consistency. Fill the pie crust, chill for at least an hour, and enjoy.

Kool Aid Pickles

Kool Aid Pickles

This is another easy recipe hack that actually makes use of readymade dill pickles. All you need to do is drain your pickle juice into a bowl (reserving the pickles, obviously).

Mix in around ¾ of a cup of sugar and a packet of Kool Aid in the flavor of your choice. Return the pickles and pickle juice to the jar, seal, and shake.

Refrigerate for around a week, while occasionally giving the jar a shake, and enjoy. This will give the pickles a sweet and tangy flavor while also dyeing them a (mostly) garish color.

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