Some people love the clean, pure taste of plain water. They drink it all day, every day, rarely leaving the house without a quart in tote.
Others sip it now and then, but typically opt for anything but. For them, chugging enough liquid to stay healthy is a chore.
Dropping slices of lemon, cucumber and other fresh produce in the water pitcher is a great option. But many people opt instead for those mini-bottles of water drops, concentrated flavor enhancers that instantly transform plain water into a soft drink. These drops are flavored to taste like tea, cocktails, fruit drinks and more.
Some are made with natural ingredients and even offer trace amounts of vitamins, potassium or salt to help with hydration. But the bulk of these water enhancers contain many of the same questionable additives that go into mass market soft drinks. They are meant to enhance flavor of water -- nothing else.
Since serving size is entirely up to personal taste, and none of these flavorings offer significant sodium, fat or calories, the only nutrition information listed is for vitamins and other nutrients, if they happen to be present. All of these drops, which come in 1.6 to 2-ounce bottles, contain artificial colors and flavors, unless noted. Below is a drip and sip tour of the options.
Arizona Lemon Iced Tea
A few drops turn water into sweet bottled tea with a twist of lemon. It has a decidedly fresh, natural flavor, thanks in part to shots of pear concentrate and honey, and fewer additives than most. $3.99 at CVS. (3 stars)
Gold Emblem Strawberry Lemonade
The mix of lemon and strawberry makes for a refreshing, tangy-sweet gulp that also delivers a touch of sodium. $2.99 at CVS. (3 stars)
Dasani Drops Strawberry Kiwi
There's no hint of kiwi in this, but the strawberry kick provides a pleasantly fruity, fresh flavor with a good balance of sweetness for those who like a sweeter drink. $3.99 at Lucky. (3 stars)
These blue drops add just a hint of flavor, and a good dose of nutrients that instantly turn water into a sport drink, adding 25 percent niacin and B6, plus sodium and a touch of potassium. $2.50 on sale at Lucky. (3 stars)
Skinny Girl Sweetened Blueberry Acai Water Enhancer
Less is more with this concentrate. It's minimally sweet with understated flavors, but it works. Its pleasant flavor is due to a blend of sugar, stevia and maltodextrin and its bright color comes from vegetable extract. $3.99 at CVS. (3 stars)
Arnold Palmer Half & Half
The combination of lemon and tea is a hit, but this concentrate begs for fresher, more vibrant lemon flavor. $3.99 at CVS. (2 stars)
Sunny Select Replenish Berry Pomegranate
Even though these drops taste more sweet than fruity -- think grape Kool-Aid -- they provide a bonus dose of B6, B3 and B12 vitamins. $3.39 at Lucky. (2 stars)
Aquafina Flavor Splash Berry On
Those who don't mind nondescript berry punch flavor might be happy with this enhancer from Coca-Cola. $3.29 at Lucky. (2 stars)
Crystal Light Berry Sangria
When your taste buds can't find the fruit, it's a problem. This uber-sweet concentrate lacks balance, no matter how much you dilute it. $3.99 at CVS. (1 stars)
Mio Strawberry Watermelon
Entirely forgettable. This doesn't deliver either strawberry or watermelon flavor, and the sugar level is over-the-top. $3.99 at Lucky. (1 star)
Nestea Liquid Water Enhancer Iced Tea with Lemon
This fake-tasting concoction doesn't have even a hint of freshness. $3.99 at CVS. ( star)
SweetLeaf Sweet Drops Berry
The overwhelming flavor of Stevia buries any hint of berry in this ultraexpensive, all-natural vial of concentrate. $14.99 at Sprouts. (No stars. I want a refund)