An "organic" Crystal Light?
July 2, 2008 11:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm wondering if there is an "organic" alternative to the very popular Crystal Light drink mixes these days. CL is full of artificial sweeteners, flavors, food coloring, the whole shebang.
posted by ssnickerer to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Lemon Juice? I'm 95% certain you can buy it powdered if that's what you're after.
posted by piedmont at 11:31 AM on July 2, 2008

You could always flavor your own water with ingredients that you choose. I recently asked a question about flavoring my own iced tea and got some really great suggestions. Maybe some of the flavor ideas there could help you with your water.
posted by amyms at 11:33 AM on July 2, 2008

Iced tea seems like it would meet your qualifications: free of anything except tea and water, pretty much. I realize that it's not powdered, but it's certainly portable on multiple scales; you only need a few tea bags and water to make a whole pitcher. Just a thought.
posted by mdonley at 11:34 AM on July 2, 2008

You mean like organic lemonade mix?
posted by suedehead at 11:42 AM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

What about these - True Lemon, True Lime, True Orange. Their website says they're all natural, and I've seen the lemon version for sale at Whole Foods, so it can't be that bad.
posted by boomchicka at 11:45 AM on July 2, 2008

Response by poster: Hey guys, thanks for the suggestions so far. Is there anything with a whole line of flavors, though? Most of the things I'm seeing are either in the citrus family or in the generic iced tea family. What about different types of tea, or other fruit flavors?

I guess I should have checked Whole Foods before I posted this question, but I haven't had a chance to pay them a visit yet.
posted by ssnickerer at 11:51 AM on July 2, 2008

FYI, True Lemon, True Lime, and True Orange aren't drink mixes, and would be terrible if you took them and added sugar and water to make a drink. They're just things you add to iced tea and other drinks to accent the flavor when you don't have an actual lemon (or lime or orange) handy.
posted by Nattie at 12:09 PM on July 2, 2008

We use Tazo Tea's Passion flavor to make AMAZING iced tea - reading the ingredients label: hibiscus flowers, natural tropical flavors, citric acid, orange peel, licorice root, cinnamon, rose hips, lemograss, and fruit juice extract (for color). Hibiscus is also used in jamaica.
posted by mdonley at 12:14 PM on July 2, 2008

You can take pretty much any herbal tea bag, remove the string, and stuff it into a bottle of water. Even with ice water I've never had a problem with getting intense flavor/color in just a couple of minutes. Any fruit-flavored teas (I like strawberry and blueberry Celestial Seasonings) are really good this way. As mdonley said, Tazo Passion is great, and it works well infused cold, too.
posted by littlegreenlights at 12:23 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

You could also look into buying flavor extracts.

I was on a similar quest a while ago - I had been drinking flavored seltzer waters (no sweeteners, just flavors) but got tired of contributing to the waste stream with all those bottles. So I got myself a home soda maker. I make plain soda water from my own diltered tap water and mix it with a little juice (pomegranate-blueberry is my favorite). It's pretty cheap and doesn't make much waste, and there's an endless variety of juices to choose from.
posted by acridrabbit at 12:57 PM on July 2, 2008 [1 favorite]

Not certified organic, but my household really loves Nuun tablets. It is a little tablet (same form factor as Emergen C) that you drop in your water, and then it turns it into delicious electrolyte replacement juice*. With less than 3 calories per serving, and no artificial colors or flavors, and no sugar, etc. They have a few very tasty, mild flavors: Citrus Fruit (my favorite), Lemon-Lime, Tri-Berry, Orange Ginger, and Kona Cola (??).

And they have also just released a new product, a vitamin-fortified version they are calling U natural hydration, which has Lemon Chai, Goji Berry Green Tea, and Tangerine Ginger.
I haven't tried any of those yet, but we buy the regular tablets by the case.

The company is still pretty small, as far as I know, so you probably can't get them where you are, but you could order a tube, and I bet if you like it you could get your local independent sports store to try carrying it.

*Also they are very good for hangovers.
posted by librarina at 1:12 PM on July 2, 2008 [3 favorites]

True Lemon, True Lime, and True Orange aren't drink mixes, and would be terrible if you took them and added sugar and water to make a drink

Several of the customer quotes on their website (if those are real) seem to suggest that that's exactly what they do with it, at least the lemon variety. They seem to offer free samples on their site, so maybe try one if you're interested.
posted by boomchicka at 1:31 PM on July 2, 2008

If you go the soda route:
How to Make Soda Water at Home
posted by homelystar at 1:46 PM on July 2, 2008

Have you tried Zipfizz? It tastes okay, and it has 5-10 calories per serving, but it's supposedly pretty healthy (lots of B-vitamins).
posted by arianell at 1:48 PM on July 2, 2008

A lot of herb teas will brew just fine in cold water if you wait half a hour or so. I'm a big fan of Celestial Seasonings Zinger flavors--lemon, raspberry, tangerine--and their Mandarin Orange Spice is just yummy. I think they might even sell a sampler pack of a variety of fruit flavors.
posted by hydropsyche at 2:44 PM on July 2, 2008

Many Whole Foods locations are carrying a new line of Jones Soda powdered drink mixes- it's only mentioned in the comments on the company website, but is mentioned in this blog.

For iced tea powders, Stash tea makes some good green tea powders.
posted by cheerwine at 3:15 PM on July 2, 2008

2nding Emergen C. I love that stuff - sugary drink plus a little pick-me-up from the massive dose of Various Nutrients therein. On the other hand, I was raised by hippies and was subjected to all kinds of vitamin-laden "junk" food so I think the flavor takes me back to my childhood. YMMV.
posted by crinklebat at 6:43 PM on July 2, 2008

When you go check the Whole Foods, go the the TEA ISLE and you will find a cornucopia of stuff to make delicious ICED TEA from. Don't feel like iced tea can only be Lipton orange pekoe with sugar and lemon. You can make iced tea from virtually anything! Herbals, black teas, green teas, fruity teas (the "Zingers" from celestial seasonings) and also white teas all taste great, have few calories, and are easy to make in large quantities. Personally, some of my favorites are Yogi Teas Tahitian Vanilla Hazelnut and Clipper's Orange Infused White Tea (the Vanilla version). Toss 4 bags in a pitcher with a few cups of boiling water - after a few minutes top it up with tap water. Take the bags out. Maybe drizzle in some honey for sweetness or don't even bother.

Without more info about what makes you like Crystal Light, it's hard to suggest other replacements. What is it you like about it? SPOILER: you are not going to find another powdered beverage mix with Enya ads. But GOOD LORD. A "whole line of flavors?" You'll find an incredible variety once you get into making iced tea.
posted by scarabic at 11:44 PM on July 2, 2008

Grab a tea bag and put it in a 20 oz container of water. In an hour or two you will have ice tea, which you can then sweeten as much or as little or in any way you like. Super cheap and easy iced tea.
posted by xammerboy at 11:39 AM on July 3, 2008

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