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The Best Store Bought Lemonade for Hot Summers

- Written by on August 23rd 2015

We had a stretch of 100+ degree weather this month, and only a few things appealed to us: iced coffee, popsicles, and the quintessential refreshing drink—lemonade.

Of course, lemonade isn't hard to make at home, you just need water, lemon juice, sugar, and in our opinion, plenty of ice. But if you don't have air conditioning (yes, there are some of us left!) escaping to the cool grocery store is reason enough to go with store bought. Or maybe you just want to pick something up to take with you on your way to the beach or pool.

Whatever your reasons, we've discovered the best store bought lemonade to keep your hydration up and your temperature down.

Best Classic Lemonade

As the brand name suggests, Simply Lemonade has one of the simplest ingredient lists of all the lemonades we researched, and it is made with real lemon juice, not lemon juice from concentrate:

pure filtered water, natural sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors

However, Simply Lemonade contains 28 grams of sugar per serving, more than Coca Cola! With that in mind, it's definitely only appropriate for an occasional treat. You might also try mixing it with more water to cut down on the sweetness/sugar content.

Simply Lemonade

  • "clean" ingredient list
  • 28 grams of sugar per 8 fl oz serving

Best Lemonade for an Energy Boost

We don't typically drink energy drinks (coffee is our preferred caffeine source), but even we're curious about this one. Nawgan is a brand of energy drinks that contain citicoline, a molecule that some research suggests may improve brain function. They have a lemonade version which sounds like a great summer pick-me-up. Because it is sweetened with sucralose, acesulfame K, and stevia, it contains 0 grams of sugar and has no calories. Not the most natural choice, but still a decent option for a not-so-sugary summer treat.

Nawgan Alertness Beverage Lemonade

  • 0 grams of sugar
  • provides an energy boost
  • contains artificial sweeteners and other additives

Best Store Bought Lemonade
(with a Twist)

Vita Coco Coconut Water is the #1 best seller in coconut water on Amazon. The company also makes a coconut water-lemonade blend that is equally popular, with 4/5 stars from over 2,500 reviews. It is still somewhat high in sugar, since even unflavored, no-sugar-added coconut water naturally contains 7-11 grams of sugar per 8 ounce serving.

Vita Coco Coconut Water Lemonade

  • tasty mix of coconut water and lemonade
  • 15 grams of sugar per 8 fl oz serving

Evolution Fresh Organic Spicy Lemonade

  • certified organic
  • "just" 9 grams of sugar per 8 fl oz serving
  • not everyone likes sweet 'n' spicy flavor combos

Not too sweet, a little spicy. Sounds delicious to us, but not everyone will dig the combination of sweet lemonade and spicy ginger/cayenne pepper. If this appeals to you, you're in luck: this store bought lemonade isn't nearly as sickly sweet as many other brands. Evolution Fresh also make a ginger limeade and strawberry lemonade, but these are ridiculously high in sugar like most other lemonade brands.

Best Diet Lemonade

Maybe your idea of the best store bought lemonade doesn't involve a bunch of sugar or the artificial sweeteners often found in diet sodas (like aspartame). In that case, we found two diet lemonades sweetened with no calorie, naturally-derived sweeteners, such as stevia, monk fruit extract, and the sugar alcohol erythritol.

Newman's Own All Natural Diet Virgin Lemonade

  • 4 grams of sugar per 8 fl oz serving
  • sweetened with sugar and stevia
  • may be hard to find in stores and not sold on Amazon

Hubert's Lemonade Diet

  • 2 grams of sugar per 8 fl oz serving
  • sweetened with stevia, monk fruit extract, and erythritol
  • very limited distribution in stores, but available on Amazon

Best Lemonade Drink Mix

If you're comparing homemade lemonade to store bought lemonade, lemonade drink mixes are almost certain to land somewhere near the bottom. Still, lemonade that you can carry around in your purse or backpack is undeniably convenient.

Some lemonade drink mixes are made of not much more than sugar, food coloring, and "natural flavors." In some cases, the word "lemon" may never even appear on the ingredient label! Unacceptable.

Our personal pick, True Lemon Original Lemonade Drink Mix, still has those ubiquitous "natural flavors" but at least the first ingredient is "crystallized lemon" made with lemon oil and lemon juice. Sweetened with sugar and stevia, it clocks in at around 1 gram of sugar per packet, and instead of "yellow 5 lake" it is colored with turmeric.

It may not be a perfect product, but it's definitely the one we'd choose if this level of convenience mattered to us!

True Lemon Original Lemonade Drink Mix

  • no artificial food coloring or sweeteners
  • 1 gram of sugar per packet
  • not very environmentally-friendly packaging

So there you have it: our picks for the best store bought lemonade for hot summer days (or nights, if you opt for a boozy adult lemonade drink!)


Crystal Schlegelmilch

Written by on August 23rd 2015

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