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Popular Jarritos Flavors, Ranked

Row of Jarritos bottles in 12 flavors
Row of Jarritos bottles in 12 flavors - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Chances are you've seen the cheerful, brightly-colored bottles of Jarritos soda at your favorite taqueria or Mexican grocer. The beverage brand was founded by chemist Don Francisco "El Güero" Hill in 1950 in Mexico and started with just one flavor: coffee. The name means "little jugs" in Spanish, a nod to traditional Mexican agua frescas. Over time, the company evolved to focus on vibrant fruit flavors that appealed to Mexican palates, and soon, it began to expand internationally. Jarritos first arrived in North America in 1988, where today, the drinks are sought after for their uncommon flavors and recipes that use only natural sugars and flavors.

I grew up along the U.S.–Mexico border, where elotes, piloncillo, and Jarritos sodas are as plentiful as cactus and tumbleweeds. I had some long-held opinions about these omnipresent bottles of pop but recently sat down to try them all, challenge my firm beliefs, and definitively rank them once and for all.

Read more: 15 Popular Hard Seltzer Brands, Ranked Worst To Best

12. Mandarin

Mandarin Jarritos with fruit
Mandarin Jarritos with fruit - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Coming in at last place, the bright orange mandarin flavor takes its inspiration from the small, sweet mandarin orange. This variety tastes more or less as you'd expect it to, like an orange soda. It has strong citrus qualities, bright, tart, sweet, and just a little floral, but it's fairly acidic as orange beverages go. It's mainly sweet and light overall, but there's a strong bitter finish that is almost like the pith of an orange. This may appeal to some people, but if it's not for you, it's hard to overlook. Although I'd argue it's not the best flavor, mandarin is surprisingly one of the top-selling flavors. However, I believe this is because orange is a popular, widely consumed soda flavor, not because it's the best Jarritos has to offer. It ranks No. 12 because there is no shortage of other (better) orange sodas out there, and while it's pretty good, it's not the top of our list.

11. Lime

Lime Jarritos with fruit
Lime Jarritos with fruit - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

The electric green lime flavor is similar to the mandarin flavor in many ways. It's comparably citrusy with a similar bitter finish. Here, I think the company's low carbonation levels hurt them a little, as more effervescence would give the soda a little more lift. Like the mandarin flavor, lime is a top seller. In fact, the Jarritos website reports lime as the second most popular flavor, but hey, popularity isn't everything. Lime slightly beats out mandarin because there are fewer straight-up lime sodas on the market as many companies opt to temper lime's sourness with sweeter lemon, which makes lime a less common flavor and, therefore, slightly more memorable than mandarin. Lime also gets a few points for being a great cocktail mixer. It pairs particularly nicely with tequila for a fizzy spin on a margarita. It always makes a delightful frozen treat when used as a paletas ingredient. It's often mixed with lemon merengue pie filling for a key lime pie type of popsicle. Still, lime is a bit boring and just not spectacular.

10. Passion Fruit

Passion Fruit Jarritos on beach bag
Passion Fruit Jarritos on beach bag - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Even though I've drunk a lot of Jarritos in my life, I had never tried passion fruit Jarritos before, and I was very excited to try this particular soda flavor. Passion fruit is such a fantastic and singular fruit, known for its tantalizing mix of sweet and tart tropical flavor. Sadly, I found the Jarritos take on passion fruit underwhelming. It definitely tastes like passion fruit, but unfortunately, it has a slightly overripe quality to it, which was mildly disappointing considering that passion fruit is one of the tastiest tropical fruits out there. Maybe passion fruit needs those crunchy seeds and the gooey texture of the whole fruit to truly work. Maybe Jarritos just didn't nail the sweetness level in this one. Whatever the case, this flavor has so much potential and just falls a little bit short. Still, it's fun and different and more interesting than mandarin or lime flavors, so it outranks mandarin and lime.

9. Watermelon

Watermelon Jarritos on beach towl
Watermelon Jarritos on beach towl - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Watermelon Jarritos comes in at No. 9 because it's almost as unusual as a passion fruit soda but familiar enough to be a little more of an accessible flavor for most audiences. This sweet spot between novel and familiar makes it more of a crowd-pleaser than the passion fruit flavor. While watermelon Jarritos is more palatable than the passion fruit, it's a very sweet flavor, to the point that it's more like liquid candy than soda. This syrupy sweetness means watermelon Jarritos are missing that refreshing juiciness you get from a slice of watermelon on a hot summer day. Some people like very sweet sodas, but this one really tops the sugary charts. The watermelon flavor has a strong potency with a nice finish, and if you mix it with watermelon fruit puree and seltzer to bring down the intensity, that sweetness becomes a benefit as it brings out the natural qualities of fresh watermelon really beautifully. On its own, however, it's a bit intense.

8. Mexican Cola

Cola Jarritos on beach towel
Cola Jarritos on beach towel - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Cola is definitely the best-known fizzy drink in the world, a global force that has become synonymous with soda pop. Cola beverages derive their name and much of their flavor from the kola nut, then each company mixes a select and often secret blend of other flavors to produce its trademarked variety of cola beverages. Many people prefer Mexican colas such as Jarritos because it use cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup. Real cane sugar is a richer, more nuanced sweetener prized by discerning soda aficionados.

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Jarritos cola is pretty good; it just isn't the top cola drink out there, and I'd argue it isn't even the top Mexican cola. It gains a ton of points for its versatility, though, which puts it ahead of watermelon by a mile. You can use Jarritos cola in an enormous variety of recipes from ice cream floats to Spanish kalimoxto to savory dishes like Mexican carnitas and steak marinade. If you haven't tried cola as an ingredient for slow-cooked meat yet, do it now. I promise it's not as strange as it sounds.

7. Fruit Punch

Fruit Punch Jarritos on wood
Fruit Punch Jarritos on wood - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Fruit punch is always a bit of a mystery drink. It's red, it's fruity, but no one seems to know what exactly it is. It's some undisclosed mixture of fruit juices that no one can define, but we all know it when we taste it. Fruit punch flavor has made its way into all sorts of beverages: sports drinks, energy drinks, canned cocktails, and more. It's also been made into foods like Jell-O, Tootsie pops, Peeps, gummy candies, and even vitamins, which makes it all the more maddening that it's so inscrutable. Still, fruit punch is a nostalgic treat that is so familiar, so embedded in childhood, that it's hard not to feel some affinity for it.

Jarritos fruit punch is lighter and brighter than a lot of fruit punch products, with just the right mix of sweetness, fruit intensity, and carbonation. It doesn't go down as sickly sweet or as artificial red tasting as a lot of fruit punch out there; instead, it tastes like what fruit punch is supposed to be: A delicate mix of fruit juices. The pre-mixed variety of fruit juices makes it one of the most versatile mixers in the Jarritos lineup, great in alcoholic punch bowls, individual cocktails, and frozen desserts. It edges out the middle-of-the-pack cola flavor because in the vast array of fruit punch beverages, Jarritos fruit punch stands out as an exemplar.

6. Mango

Mango Jarritos on wood
Mango Jarritos on wood - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Mango is one of Jarritos's more unusual flavors, which makes it a pleasant departure from the norm. Mangos are widely enjoyed in Mexico, and sold peeled, sliced, and impaled on a stick for a handy and portable snack. This connection makes the mango soda a splendid homage to the company's Mexican roots.

Flavorwise, mango Jarritos are very sweet but still distinctly mango-flavored. Mangos themselves are, after all, naturally very sweet. As a result, the soda doesn't feel like a hyper-sugared candy form of the fruit, but rather the essence of the fruit itself. Mango Jarritos don't seem to be as versatile a mixer as some of the other flavors (like the higher-ranked pineapple). However, it would still be a nice ingredient for a mango margarita or mango martini. On its own, mango Jarritos pairs nicely with any spicy Mexican dish. After all, mango and chili peppers go together like peanut butter and jelly.

5. Pineapple

Pineapple Jarritos with fruit
Pineapple Jarritos with fruit - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

The sunny yellow pineapple variety of Jarritos is enticingly juicy and tropical, full of lush pineapple flavor as fresh as an ocean breeze blowing through a beach cantina. Similar to the mango flavor, it tastes like the fruit it's supposed to. It's sweet, like a freshly cut slice of pineapple, but tempered by the bright acidity of a real pineapple. That superior mix of sweet and sour gives pineapple a minor edge over the mango flavor in the rankings.

There are a ton of ways you could use pineapple Jarritos in cocktails and mocktails playing off pina coladas or pineapple margaritas, and the existing sweet-sour balance of the soda already comes pretty close to the cocktail golden ratio. It goes with tequila, rum, vodka, even whiskey. It's also fantastic in a float with coconut ice cream and brown sugar, in frozen popsicles, or even splashed into meat marinade or vinaigrette to add a little tropical flair.

4. Grapefruit

Grapefruit Jarritos with fruit
Grapefruit Jarritos with fruit - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Grapefruit Jarritos is the only Jarritos flavor that comes in a green bottle, probably because its semi-opaque pale yellow color is less vivid than the other brilliantly-colored Jarritos flavors. Though its color is subtle, the flavor is zippy and sparkling, bright, juicy, and bursting with flavor. It's light and not sugary, though, with the citrus astringency coming through to provide revitalizing freshness. Grapefruit is a popular soda flavor, even if folks don't always realize their beloved Squirt or Fresca is a stealthy grapefruit soda. Jarritos doesn't shy away from the label, though, and proudly proclaims its grapefruit soda to be exactly what it is — and it's fantastic.

It also No. 4 because it's truly unparalleled as a Paloma mixer. If you like bubbly Palomas, Jarritos is undisputed as the best grapefruit soda to use; it's so perfect it's almost as if it was envisioned as a companion for tequila and lime juice.

3. Strawberry

Strawberry Jarritos with fruit
Strawberry Jarritos with fruit - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Strawberry soda is a flavor that's certainly been done before and done a lot. Strawberry sodas are often sickly sweet and artificial tasting — many do not taste like actual strawberries. Rather, it tastes like a facsimile of a strawberry copied thousands of times over until the actual berry has been all but forgotten. Jarritos strawberry, however, is another story altogether. It ranks No. 3 because it's such an unexpected delight. I did not anticipate I'd love this soda as much as I did. It tastes like summer sunshine captured in ripe berry form. Instead of syrupy, it tastes like the actual fruit. I don't know how other soda companies miss the mark on strawberries so wildly, but Jarritos has absolutely nailed it. The strawberry flavor Jarritos is fantastic on its own or could be happily mixed into a French soda or served with lemon sorbet in a float. It's summertime bliss in a bottle.

2. Guava

Guava Jarritos on beach towel
Guava Jarritos on beach towel - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Guava is a small tropical fruit with a pale green rind and soft pink flesh. Its flavor is often compared to a cross between a strawberry and a pineapple or pear — sweet without being sugary and tropical but not highly acidic. Guava fruit originated in southern Mexico, so it's a natural fit for Jarritos as a Mexican soda company. It's no surprise that Jarritos does guava soda very well.

Guava Jarritos have a subtle, tantalizing flavor and an excellent balance of sweetness and acidity, making it supremely refreshing. Canned guava nectar is fairly popular, but there are not a ton of guava-flavored sodas out there, which is a shame because it's such thirst-quenching ecstasy. Guava outranks strawberry by the slimmest margin for its highly quaffable quality and because guava soda is a more interesting, exotic flavor than strawberry. Furthermore, it gets a boost in the ranking on aesthetic grounds: It has a gorgeous pink hue that conjures visions of dainty seaside sipping or floating in a pristine pool atop an inflatable lounge chair, guava Jarritos in hand. Beautiful on its own and exquisite as a cocktail mixer, guava Jarritos is sheer perfection.

1. Tamarind: An Original And Still The Best

Tamarind Jarritos on striped background
Tamarind Jarritos on striped background - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Tamarind was the second flavor Jarritos introduced, and is the longest-running flavor in its lineup today. It remains one of the top-selling flavors, proving that it has real staying power. Tamarind is less commonplace than strawberry and grapefruit sodas, making it a distinctive and truly original soda flavor. For those unfamiliar with it, tamarind is a tropical fruit that grows in bean-like pods that almost look like dull brown edamame. The pods and seeds are ground into a paste and used in Mexican and Caribbean cooking. Tamarind fruit on its own is tangy and tart, so it's frequently mixed with sugar to soften that edge. As a Mexican company, Jarritos knows what tamarind should taste like, distilling that essence perfectly into its tamarind soda. It's a bit like sweet tea with the perfect amount of lemon and just enough tart flavor to balance everything out perfectly. It's less tannic than tea, with more complex notes of brown sugar or molasses. It works on its own or as a drink mixer, particularly with mango and spicy chamoy.

It's the best Jarritos flavor hands down. It's historic, it's different, it's authentically rooted in culture and tradition, it's phenomenal.

Methodology

row of Jarritos bottles
row of Jarritos bottles - Melyssa Holik/Tasting Table

Our selections are based on a head-to-head sampling of each flavor in the Jarritos party pack, which includes all twelve signature flavors. Each flavor was evaluated based on personal preference and how well it captures the intended flavor. For example, does mandarin soda taste like mandarin fruit? Additional consideration was given for a flavor's distinctiveness, with the rarer flavors ranking higher than more commonplace ones. Their uniqueness makes them inherently more special and interesting, so equally delicious sodas were ranked according to how exciting the flavor is. Sodas were also given higher rankings when the flavor was of particular historical importance or had a close tie to Mexican tradition and heritage.

Lastly, each flavor was reviewed for its mixability and versatility. For example, does it make a particularly lovely cocktail ingredient? Does it pair well with a variety of spirits or other juices? Is it useful as an ingredient in cooking food, not just as a beverage? While each Jarritos flavor has merits, these factors provided us a clear ranking of our favorites.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.