The 10 Essential Drinks (Cold Brew, Tea, Seltzer, and More!) Every Home Cook Needs for 2021 and Beyond

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Credit: Counter Culture Coffee

Thirsty? You’re in the right place! See, the editors here at Kitchn spent months tasting and debating the merits of all sorts of beverages out there — cold brew, tea, seltzer, hard seltzer, etc! We came up with a list of the 10 key types of drinks and then we found our absolute faves for each.

Why would we spend so much time doing this? For one, we were also thirsty! But we mainly did it for the 2021 version of Kitchen Essentials, Grocery Edition. We wanted to come up with a list of the most exciting groceries to buy right now. The big list just launched, but we’ve also distilled the drinks into this easy-to-swallow post. These are the drinks we suggest for caffeinating, hydrating, and beyond.

1 / 10
Best Coffee

Coffee enthusiasts, you have found your people. This North Carolina organic roaster was focused on coffee quality and sustainability before those buzzwords became buzzy. (We're talking a bird-friendly coffee in 1997!) And not only are they dedicated to social, environmental, and fiscal sustainability, their coffee is also straight-up delicious. Rebecca Longshore, Director of Audience Growth, loves their sweet and nutty Fast Forward, but there’s something for every taste in their carefully considered lineup.

2 / 10
Best Cold Brew

We live in a beautiful world, where a silky and bold cold-brewed coffee can come from a can. Truly. All you do is chill it and pop it open; the fresh roasting, overnight brewing, cold pressing, and double filtering is all done for you, leaving a lovely, smooth sip with an inherent sweetness.

3 / 10
Best Tea
Harney & Sons

We all deserve a little luxury, and this small tin of loose-leaf tea is where it’s at. We adore the lighter, lemony, Darjeeling-based version of Earl Grey. Thanks to a hint of sweetness (even though there’s no sugar), the non-Earl Grey fans will love it too, Sheela Prakash, Senior Contributing Food Editor, promises.

4 / 10
Best Kombucha

The booch of choice for many Kitchn editors is Pink Lady Apple, one of the delicious, juicy flavors of bubbly fermented tea from Health-Ade (a woman-owned organic kombucha brand!). While the PLA will always be our favorite, we also recommend the other flavors — especially Passion Fruit-Tangerine, Watermelon, and Tropical Punch.

5 / 10
Best Infused Sparkling Water

As some of us trade pandemic cocktails for bubbles sans booze (at least some of the time), the crowded fizzy water aisle offers overwhelming variety. Our pick: the crisp, dry, clean flavors of fruit-infused Spindrift. Allow us to suggest the tart-yet-sweet combo of Raspberry Lime.

6 / 10
Best Seltzer

Polar is an enduring favorite for sipping and mixing, beloved by bartenders and anyone who was drinking fizzy water before fizzy water was cool. Not much is more refreshing than the creamy bubbles — unless it’s bubbles with the bright kiss of grapefruit.

7 / 10
Best Adaptogen Drink

These beautiful cans (art in and of themselves) deliver organic adaptogens, aromatherapeutic superfoods, and whole fruit juices in a delicious sparkling drink in flavors like Pretty Happy, with passion fruit, cacao, vanilla bean, and rhodiola. The all-female team of designers and food scientists is on a mission to help us fight stress and feel balanced. From our unscientific testing, we'd say mission accomplished.

8 / 10
Best Juice

Ahh, sweet, old fashioned lemonade, the OG drink of summer. The next best thing to freshly squeezed by some enterprising kid at a stand is this carton of goodness from Newman’s Own. Lemon oil dials up the zing, making this about as good as it gets on a searing summer day.

9 / 10
Best Sparkling Tea

Even if these tea-based sparkling drinks didn't come in the most tantalizing flavors (Green Tea with Grapefruit & Mint!) we’d be swooning at the most adorable bottles ever. The teas are also organic, non-GMO, and naturally sweet with no sweetener added.

10 / 10
Best Hard Seltzer

In our comprehensive taste test of the flooded spiked seltzer market, PRESS brought the most enticing flavors, says Contributor Dana McMahan. No surprise there, as the woman-owned company is out to find sophisticated flavor combinations inspired by the founder’s culinary explorations around the globe. Flavors like Lime Lemongrass deliver exactly what they promise, in a clean, fresh, bright way.