Ranking Gatorade Flavors From Worst To Best

While LaCroix remains a staple at the cool kids' table, Gatorade's place in the consciousness of pop culture's beverage universe is undeniable. According to Draft Kings Nation, not only are there serious bets surrounding what color of Gatorade will be dumped on the winning Super Bowl coach, but the beverage also contains minerals a hungover body needs to recover. The brand also dominates the sports beverage market by a whopping 70%.

Since we've noticed an influx of flavors in our cooler section, we decided to try all 22 of the brand's signature Thirst Quencher lineup so you can focus on sipping the best of the best. We took serious notes regarding the color of the beverage since Gatorade leans into wild — and occasionally — neon shades. So after "drinking with our eyes," we judged the beverage based on the nose, flavor, and lasting impression. 

We're not entirely sure what makes a flavor "fierce" in Gatorade's eyes — untangling the nomenclature of their drinks was a job in and of itself. From what we can tell, the "fierce" lineup sports more vivid colors, and their flavors might deliver on that correlation as well, but we weren't able to quite discern that. Similarly, the "frost" banner seems to merely announce a cloudy, somewhat opaque shade of the beverage. But discernible flavor characteristics of both the "frost" and "fierce" lines elude us. 

In any case, feast your eyes on the most complete Gatorade flavor ranking on the internet — that is, until Gatorade births another flavor.

22. Fierce Green Apple

Donning the most disconcerting color of the entire bunch, Fierce Green Apple looks like the toxic ooze that transformed the Ninja Turtles from ordinary reptiles into crime-fighting mutants. Considering Gatorade got its start as a sports drink, we expected Green Apple to carry a tart, Granny Smith-like taste — a balancing act we know the brand is capable of thanks to their Passionfruit flavor. Instead, Gatorade turned in a mouth-coating, melted-down Jolly Rancher flavor fit for no one. Gruesomely sweet with no relief, Green Apple seems like a nepotism flavor that undeservedly slipped its way into the canon. Since they clearly don't mind overlapping flavors, we're rooting for Gatorade to invent an apple cider flavor with a vinegary bite at the finish to atone for this emerald abomination.

21. Fierce Grape

An embarrassing misfire all around, Fierce Grape (which should've been a slam dunk), hints at its insect repellent taste with just one whiff. It's the only flavor we could pick up on the nose immediately upon opening the bottle, Grape smells thick and syrupy and strangely loses its density and morphs into a toilet-bowl tablet blue shade once poured into a cup. On the tongue, it only gets worse, as Grape exudes a cough syrupy taste — or like a concentrate of the flavor it was aiming for. We think of it as the "dad Cab" of the Gatorade world, and we're convinced it exists solely for the crowd who wants to make grape "faderade" — an imitation of the flavor palate associated with sizzurp — because it doesn't share the stage with any other grape flavors in the Gatorade universe.

20. Strawberry Watermelon

The lowliest of all the strawberry-centric flavors, we had high hopes for Strawberry Watermelon due to its yielding, fleshy, coral color. We presumed that like Cucumber Lime and Lemonade, the muted tone might be a beacon for another laidback, unobtrusive flavor. What we got was the pinnacle of one-dimensional, sappy, brazenly artificial flavor. Strawberry Watermelon tastes and smells more like Lip Smackers chapstick — or worse, a drugstore candle — than anything we'd want to put in our mouths. And once consumed, it tastes more like cotton candy than any strawberry or watermelon we've ever tasted, which begs the question: where is the plain, unadulterated watermelon flavor of Gatorade we deserve? This amalgam of flavors appeals to the worst common denominator of fruity fanatics, and to call it "basic" would be insulting to the general public.

19. Frost Arctic Blitz

If there's a Gatorade flavor that's trying hard to court the business of Gen Z and the generation that sits just below them, it's Frost Arctic Blitz. A flavor that's tinted a neon-mint tone (not unlike the unnatural dyes the youths are highlighting their hair with), it tastes like someone borrowed a handful of Skittles from the candy aisle. We tried to keep an open mind hereafter being proved wrong by Riptide Rush's strange color, but with Arctic Blitz, we're reminded of dirty pool water with a melon-esque edge. A relatively new flavor to the Gatorade book, we don't foresee Arctic Blitz experiencing much longevity for the brand and, instead, expect it to go the way of the long-discontinued Midnight Black (according to Redditors it was, indeed, black), and mosey off into extinction shortly.

18. Frost Icy Charge

Frost Icy Charge enters the Gatorade flavor cannon with an obscure if redundant name referencing how "cold" the beverage is. It sports a dim, deep, blue-ish purple tone reminiscent of Elizabeth Taylor's eyes. Still, the exotic (but entirely artificial) color piqued our interest, and we hoped that the flavor would live up to the strange, other-worldly hue of the beverage. Instead, we were met with a pineapple-laden, overly sweet, and ripe-smelling drink that reminded us of at least five other flavors we had previously tasted. Icy Charge simply tastes like watered-down pineapple juice with a lime wedge perched on its nozzle — and the pineapple notes it strikes are the nectary sweet ones, not the sharp, buoyant hits of acid we find more complex and playful.

17. Frost Glacier Cherry

The most unnecessary flavor yet, Frost Glacier Cherry is ounce for ounce outclassed by the higher-caliber Blue Cherry. The only category in which Frost Glacier Cherry edges out its aqua-colored cousin is in color: Glacier Cherry's hue is a foggy, white color that looks like you're flying through dense clouds. We suppose you could spill it on yourself or give it to a child without worrying about staining anyone's clothes. The taste itself is aggressively sweet with no reprise of saline or tartness, leaving the tongue coated in palate-zapping, syrupy sugar that in no way feels refreshing or revitalizing. It's a shame Gatorade wasted the ephemeral and eye-catching color on a dud that could've at the very least strived to be polarizing instead of mediocre — like La Croix's divisive coconut flavor.

16. Fierce Fruit Punch + Berry

In what we'd call the laziest and most uninspired flavor of the entire bunch, Fierce Fruit Punch + Berry literally seems like someone at Gatorade forgot to do their homework assignment and made a quick cocktail of the existing Fruit Punch and Strawberry Flavor under their desk before a board meeting. By some miracle, the board must have loved it because, though not available at many markets, Fierce Fruit Punch + Berry haunts shelves today. The result doesn't taste bad as much as it feels pointless and noncommittal — it's nearly identical to Gatorade's original Fruit Punch flavor but with less of a bite. Fierce Fruit Punch + Berry is inoffensive rather than original. As if to try and make up for its lack of innovation, Fierce Fruit Punch + Berry is dyed so vibrantly red that it looks almost like Jell-O sitting in the bottle.

15. Summer Fruits

Unlike the similarly titled "Melon," Summer Fruits isn't subtle or gentle on the palate. Instead, it tastes overly ripe, like when you leave melons out of the refrigerator too long and they start to stink up the house and attract gnats. We're fairly certain that the "fruits" Summer Fruits is referencing are in fact melons, with maybe a hint of pineapple thrown in. So, why did Gatorade green-light a flavor that tastes like the first draft of their admittedly great Melon flavor before whipping up a simple pineapple or even peach iteration? Overall, Summer Fruits proves to be an entirely underwhelming flavor, not to mention the unappetizing, neon-green color that is visually reminiscent of a Hulk action figure.

14. Frost Glacier Freeze

Yet another blue-hued Gatorade, Frost Glacier Freeze is by far the most ambiguous of the bunch. Kind of like eyes that change color depending on lighting and clothing colors, Frost Glacier Freeze tastes tart like cranberry but also can sometimes also deliver a citrus medley with a hint of blueberry. This confounding flavor shines a light on the mystifying roster of flavors: while many explicitly state that they are strawberry, grape, or, melon, others are christened with vibe titles like Glacier Freeze, Arctic Blitz, and Icy Charge (not to mention Cool Blue which we give a pass for being the first of this subvariant).

13. Strawberry Lemonade

At first glance, Strawberry Lemonade feels a little suspicious since it smells like cotton candy and strawberry with floral notes. But, as we braced ourselves for a sugar-punch to the tongue, we were pleasantly proved wrong. On the palate, the lemonade comes across ahead of the berry notes and its candied nose dissipates into a pleasing sour note that reminds us of hot-dog-on-a-stick or a State Fair's lemonade. We should note here that Strawberry Lemonade, for whatever reason, was the most difficult to track down, even with Gatorade's flavor tracker. We ended up having to order a bottle online which leaves us worried that Gatorade is considering axing this perfectly fine, refreshing flavor. Say it ain't so, Gatorade.

12. Fruit Punch

Another old-school flavor, Fruit Punch brings back all the nostalgic joys of a classmate's birthday celebration. However, since our first childhood encounter with the flavor, Fruit Punch's appeal has slightly wilted. The fire-engine red drink smells sharp and while it's in no way offensive, the flavor isn't for everyday consumption because of its overt sweetness. Of the entire Gatorade catalog, Fruit Punch probably lends itself to cocktail mixing best and would taste at home with a light rum, tequila, or even mezcal. Its downfall is simply being lesser than other fruit punch flavored drinks such as Hi-C or Minute Maid, but maybe it's a mistake to want a sports drink to ape a party punchbowl classic. But with every pineapple-laden sip, we yearned for one of its superiors.

11. Fierce Blue Cherry

Another blue-hued flavor of our youth, Fierce Blue Cherry, though similar to the frost-colored Glacier Cherry the brand also has on the market, is far superior. The most vibrant blue offering in Gatorade's roster, Blue Cherry's color is nearly identical to the skin of a Smurf and suggests a less pleasing flavor than the finished product delivers. Despite its overproduced shade, Fierce Blue Cherry is able to deliver a clear vision of sweet red cherries that references the flavor profile of Slurpees and Otter-pops and thankfully veers away from the oozy tasting, candied cherry flavors of Airheads or Laffy Taffy. While it's not exactly refreshing or what we'd want to drink post-workout, it doesn't overwhelm the senses and would suffice if that's all the brightly-lit refrigerators of a mini-mart have to offer.

10. Riptide Rush

Rounding out the top ten is a flavor whose appearance is a little ... off-putting. In the bottle, Riptide Rush appears muddy and purple-ish but when poured into a glass, somehow reads swampy and nearly gray. The drink looks like it's geared toward people who really like the Batman villain, The Penguin, or want to drink the Drano cocktail from Heathers. We expected it to taste like a blueberry muffin but, in reality, it tastes like the grape/blueberry hybridization that Gatorade's other grape flavor fumbled. We didn't expect to like or feel refreshed in any way by Riptide Rush, but after the first impression wore off, we admittedly came to enjoy this confusing flavor despite its dismal color and nondescript title.

9. Cool Blue

Shockingly, the highest grossing flavor of Gatorade is Cool Blue, according to Fansided. It marks a clear delineation in the canon of flavors by favoring a color (blue) above the flavor it's intended to represent (raspberry). Perhaps because our 90's-programmed brains accept Blue Raspberry as a coherent flavor, Cool Blue does somehow taste blue, which is to say it falls on your palate like a melted Icee — or like drinking the remnants of a snowman who was wearing cool sunglasses before they perished in the hot sun. The flavor (which tastes like 1997) arrives in a burst but finishes clean with a whisper of salt. Not only does the drink communicate its blueness in scent and taste, but it also somehow smells cold. But we don't need to defend Cool Blue — after all, it's the flavor that Americans support the very most.

8. Fierce Strawberry

With a color that would make Paris Hilton proud (so.much.pink.), Fierce Strawberry walks the line between a candy-esque flavor and an organic health food market's attempt at strawberry. Because of strawberry's popularity in artificially flavored items at large (Starbursts, Pop-Tarts, Jell-O), this flavor has everything stacked against it but manages to come out on the other side with a personality of its own. Compared to other berry drinks (Big Red, Kool-Aid), Gatorade's strawberry submission tastes smart and skates on the edge of being too sweet without tipping over into saccharine. Its biggest crime is being unavoidably basic and so obviously crowd-pleasing that there's no room left for creative agency here. But then again, the person who reaches for Strawberry might not be in the mood for originality in the first place.

7. Fierce Melon

Even though the color of the beverage looks more like a bright orange traffic cone than a cantaloupe — the fruit we suspect Fierce Melon is courting — the drink itself is surprisingly unobtrusive. Gatorade seems to acknowledge the watery nature of melons and allows the cantaloupe essence to feel gentle, light, and summery. Melon finishes with a salty tinge and smacks with a slight grip on the tongue. It's one of the flavors that benefits the most from being served ice cold, like agua fresca, and otherwise can taste sticky. Its inclusion in the top ten also signals the flavor's unique and unconfused addition to a line of beverages that consist of several others we find muddled and superfluous.

6. Lemon-Lime

The very first flavor of Gatorade ever invented still sits up high on our compendium of flavors (via History). Possibly the variation most of us envision when the brand Gatorade comes to mind, Lemon-Lime no doubt has its devotees. The nose smells ripe and direct and it's clear from the first whiff that this flavor was invented before the dawn of overlapping, ethereal flavors meant to court trends before being discontinued when its hot streak fades. Still, its intensity outside the context of a workout can taste aggressive — but it's honestly just as good when watered down by nearly half. The drink tastes paradoxically wetter than any other flavor Gatorade produces and this, coupled with the drink's tennis-ball-yellow glow, makes it an obvious choice for a workout wind-down but places it just outside our top five as far as an every-occasion thirst quencher.

5. Lemonade

It might be a bit of an upset to rank the younger Lemonade above Gatorade's claim to fame, Lemon-Lime. But Lemonade just slightly edges out its predecessor. With a cloudier color than Lemon-Lime, Lemonade would seem to communicate a lesser intensity than the OG favorite, however, Lemonade smells both sharp and sour but doesn't deliver any tartness on the tongue. Unlike a handful of the other Gatorade flavors, Lemonade's murky coloring isn't in turn muted on the palette. It tastes slightly more like lemon-peel or citrus baked goods — such as lemon bars or a meringue — than its big sister, Lemon-Lime, but is every bit as refreshing. In a possible attempt to differentiate itself from the more well-known flavor, it leans into a sweeter, if more aromatic, Meyer lemon flavor mixed with food court lemonade.

4. Strawberry Kiwi

Of all the pink-hued Gatorade flavors, Strawberry Kiwi easily wears the most subdued shade of pink. Instead of looking like something from the world of Barbie, Strawberry Kiwi could convincingly, if poured into a glass, pass for a Basque rosé. The flavor, like its appearance suggests, reigns itself in. Here, Gatorade trusts its audience to intuit their intent without beating your tastebuds over the head with them. The nose leans mostly toward strawberry but on the tongue, the addition of kiwi balances the overtly sweet fruit with a little pucker. We appreciate the flavor for being able to deliver a berry-centric essence without crossing over into the "kinda smells like pre-teen body sprays" realm. The subtle, light flavor refreshes and rests firmly in the upper echelon of Gatorade's offerings because of its thankful restraint.

3. Passion Fruit

Possibly our most controversial inclusion in the top ten due to its relative newness, Passion Fruit manages to sashay its way past the pitfalls of other passion fruit-flavored beverages like Electrolit and La Croix, who both turned in overtly tropical, and therefore, heavy-tasting renditions of the passion fruit flavor. Like the fruit itself, Gatorade's interpretation of passion fruit understands the almost contradictory sour zing and tropical sweetness of passion fruit's appeal. The team smartly chose to lean away from punching up the flavor with too much artificial tartness and instead delivers a drink that winks at its inspiration without forgetting the beverage's ultimate intention to quench thirst. The result is a fruit punch remix that traffics in the most enjoyable elements of tropical-leaning drinks.

2. Orange

A staple in the growing Gatorade catalog, Orange is the litmus test flavor we used to compare the rest of the Gatorade roster. Unlike nearly half of Gatorade's other flavors, Orange, on looks, scent, and flavor clearly strives to mimic the sunny citrus sweetheart. Like Lemon-Lime and Fruit Punch, Orange was among the flavors first released to the public (via Florida Gators) and carries the right amount of "oh yeah, I remember liking this as a kid" nostalgia without the adult realization that our taste buds were underdeveloped and prone to favor anything sugar-forward. In fact, Orange boasts a restrained sweetness with a salty finish, resulting in a clean, dry, satiating gulp — a far cry from the syrupy coating of the lesser sugar-bomb flavors.

1. Lime Cucumber

Like ranking the most famous members of Destiny's Child, Lime Cucumber sits on a throne that overlooks the rest of the Thirst Quencher family. In the over ten years since its release in 2011, "Limon Pepino" (or Lime Cucumber) remains among the most divisive flavors of Gatorade on the market (via Maxim). But the meme-driven backlash, as seen on Daily Status, is beyond us. The crisp, unobtrusive marriage of the two flavors begins predominantly with cucumber on both the nose and palate with a little elbow room on the back end for the gentle sour tones of lime. Unlike even some of the best flavors in the Thirst Quencher lineup, Lime Cucumber fits every application: post-workout, hot day, hangover, even as a mixer with spirits (tequila, preferably), and doesn't leave your mouth coated in a saccharine film. It's the only Gatorade that tastes closer to fancy-infused water from a hotel lobby than Kool-Aid. Somehow, Lime Cucumber is able to capture the elusive flavor of delicate, watery, cucumbers which are even more pronounced than the lime flavor in the bottle. So technically, we think the flavor should be called "Cucumber Lime," but to split hairs over near-perfection feels ungrateful. Long live Lime Cucumber!

While flavors like Fruit Punch and Fruit Punch + Berry, all of the Strawberry variations, and the Lemon-Lime and Lemonade duo share nearly overlapping flavor profiles, Cucumber Lime plays on the tried and true strengths of Gatorade flavors (citrus) with an innovative wink to youth culture (cucumber). While so many of the latest Gatorade flavors skate by on their strange colors and cool (but confusing) names, Cucumber Lime fits in the lineup of existing flavors as an irreplaceable gem for the brand.