With August heating up, here are our top picks for what nostalgic summer drinks will cool you off best

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Summer is not over yet, so if you want to squeeze the most out of the rest of it, then one of the classic ways to savor the season is to enjoy nostalgic drinks from your childhood. With everything from Kool-Aid to Juicy Juice, The Classic’s summer staff has sampled many popular nostalgic sugary summer drinks for the past five weeks. After evaluating them based on sweetness and variety of flavor, here is what we thought.

Disclaimer: We did not rank the drinks below, but rather rated all of them in the chronological order of which we sampled them (from earliest to latest).

Capri Sun

Out of the four brands we have tried within the past five weeks, Capri Sun was the least sweet of the four, despite having a greater sugar content than Kool Aid. As a result, it tends to give off more of a refreshing feeling than a “punch” of flavor present in the other brands we sampled. In the form of a juice pouch, the contents of the beverage are visible from the bottom. In terms of flavoring, it was definitely more refreshing and enjoyable than similar flavors in other brands. However, the Wild Cherry Waterfall flavor of the Roarin’ Waters line takes that concept to the next level, having way less sugar than its juice counterpart, Wild Cherry. Nevertheless, the Pacific Cooler and Strawberry Kiwi flavors were enjoyable, as it gave off a nostalgic feeling of sweetness, albeit with less sugar in the form resembling flavored sugar water.

Flavors Reviewed:

  • Wild Cherry
  • Wild Cherry Waterfall (Roarin’ Waters)
  • Pacific Cooler
  • Strawberry Kiwi


Hi-C had the sweetest taste of the four. They may not have a lot of calories, but the sweetness is attributed to the amount of added sugar, the most out of the four brands. As a result of the sweetness, the flavor in Hi-C beverages tends to be the strongest of the four brands. On the other hand, the flavors are really unique and filled with different combos of fruit juice flavors. Reflective of that, the Flashin Fruit Punch and the Torrential Tropical Punch are both really epic flavors and pack a great punch. However, the flavor of the Boppin’ Strawberry felt a bit too strong. Not only are they very sweet, but the flavors are really unique and enjoyable.

Flavors Reviewed:

  • Orange Lavaburst
  • Boppin’ Strawberry
  • Flashin’ Fruit Punch
  • Torrential Tropical Punch


Although the sugar content has been lessened in the past few years, Kool-Aid Jammers seems to maintain the sugary sweetness present in many of our childhoods. Surprisingly, Kool-Aid is still relatively sweeter than Capri Sun and Juicy Juice, despite having a lower sugar content than the two. In comparison to Capri Sun, Kool-Aid tends to be stronger in flavor in regard to its sweetness. This is true for most flavors, where in comparison to its Capri Sun counterparts, it tends to pop out more as a sweet, sugary beverage, deviating itself from the sweetened sugar water of Capri Sun. However, given that Kool-Aid has the least listed sugar content out of the four brands, the flavor tends to be less strong than Hi-C and less sweet than Juicy Juice. Nevertheless, Kool-Aid will have the strong nostalgic flavors of the summer that will make you shout “Oh Yeah!”

Flavors Reviewed:

  • Cherry
  • Grape
  • Strawberry Kiwi
  • Summer Blast 

Juicy Juice

Compared with the other three brands, all Juicy Juice flavors have 100 percent juice. As with Hi-C, the flavor is stronger than found in the Kool-Aid and Capri Sun, but we felt that Juicy Juice wasn’t as sweet, despite having the second most sugar content of the four brands of juice beverages. The Juicy Juice varieties offered are typical with not much speciality, but some of them do have potential to be really good. However, the quality of the flavors is a bit inconsistent. For example, there are some flavors like Apple, Fruit Punch, and Orange Tangerine that stand out, while others like Berry and Grape lack flavor or need more sweetness. Nevertheless, the strong sweet flavors of a Juicy Juice box will give you a nostalgic ride to your childhood.

Flavors Reviewed:

  • Apple
  • Fruit Punch
  • Orange Tangerine
  • Berry
  • Grape

Whether you are seeking a juice box of a strong sweetness in a Hi-C or Juicy Juice or looking forward to a pouch of refreshing Capri Sun or Kool-Aid, these drinks will transport you back to your childhood summers, relishing in the nostalgia of a sugary sweet summer treat. For us, given the hot summer days at the Summer Rising program, these drinks came as a refreshing relief.

Second Disclaimer: Despite being a nostalgic drink, we did not review Honest Kids, as it did not meet our requirements as a sugary beverage, and also our advisor refused to buy it on some kind of deeply held personal principle.

Art by Amelia Harrington