Bubble Water Bracket 2020: Match #1

This first match takes place between two contenders that I hadn’t tried before this tournament: one seeded at the very top by my readers and one brand I didn’t even know existed until this month. Let’s get this party started.

#1 LaCroix Hi-Biscus

LaCroix Hi-Biscus
The little hibiscus flower on the can is perfection.

I was a little concerned when the votes came in and this was the top seed. Don’t get me wrong; I love LaCroix. I love floral flavors. Lavender iced lattes make my hipster heart sing.

But I have been done dirty by perfume tasting sparkling water. LaCroix Passionfruit is a deep betrayal to my soul.

Hi-Biscus is a new flavor, introduced this year alongside Limoncello, which never seems to be in stock in California, whyyyyyy?

Anyway, if you’re a basic bitch who likes the Starbucks Very Berry Hibiscus Refresher — and I am — you’ll love this. It’s refreshing AF and very easy to drink. And the packaging? Gorgeous.

#8 Trader Joe’s Lemon & Ginger

Trader Joe's Lemon & Ginger in a lockdown inspired cocktail
We didn’t have dark rum so this technically isn’t a Dark and Stormy, but whiskey is almost as good.

Because I was in a rush to stock up on fizzy water, I wound up bending the rules a bit. Both competitors from Trader Joe’s contain real juice and the flavor edge that brings. I was planning on having a separate mini bracket for alternative seltzers, but then the corona happened attacked and here we are.

Anyway, onto the drink itself. It’s not particularly lemony but it has a verrrry strong ginger kick. It was more flavorful than I expected, but that’s what actual juice will do for you. If anything, the taste is interchangeable with ginger beer. It would be great in a Dark and Stormy!

Winner

The #1 seed lives to fight another day. While both of today’s contenders are definitely something I’ll buy again, TJ’s offering this round was — dare I say it? — too flavorful. It would be great as a cocktail mixer but it’s too bold to be that easy drinking, gently flavored hydration that I want in a sparkling water.

Someone please tell me what it means for a LaCroix to be essenced instead of flavored because if I don’t get a straight answer, I am attributing the difference to sorcery. Hi-Biscus joins Key Lime and Tangerine in the LaCroix pantheon of essenced excellence.

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