The grand cultural exchange between the United States and the United Kingdom has produced gains for both sides. The US, for example, got the Beatles, rugby, and the concept of the circus. The UK got a better version of The Office. Everyone agrees this is roughly a fair trade.
Except the UK is holding out on us when it comes to their best culinary invention: Lucozade, a sports drink that’s kind of like if someone ignored all the warnings and ran Gatorade through their Sodastream, then tripped and accidentally poured enough sugar to kill a small mammal into the carbonated concoction. It is, in other words, perfect.
There are a few stores here in New York where you can find a limited supply of Orange Lucozade, but you won’t find the array of flavors that you’ll see in the UK, and you’ll pay a healthy markup for the privilege, even with the strength of the dollar against the pound sterling. Luckily, my wife is a British citizen, allowing me to regularly stock up on the exotic elixir.
This month, I drank five different flavors of Lucozade in about a week, and have returned to rank them as a guide for your next trip to the UK. If you need further guidance, you can find my first ranking of Lucozade flavors right here on Night Water, but prior reading is not required.
Gatwick airport is not a warm welcome or fond farewell for the Lucozade lover entering or leaving the UK, as the only flavor I could find on my way home was Lucozade Original. I don’t know if it was just my airport mindset or the vibes being off, but this bottle just didn’t hit.
4. Tropical (Zero)
Last year, I tricked myself into drinking a Lucozade Sport, an uncarbonated Lucozade spin-off that is pure trash in any flavor. I didn’t play myself like that this year, but my first Lucozade after landing was from the Lucozade Zero line, a sugar-free variety. This flavor, Tropical, tastes a bit like a carbonated pineapple juice. Largely inoffensive.
3. Caribbean Crush
Essentially the sugary version of Tropical, I think, which gives it an instant leg up over its counterpart. Caribbean Crush is a little less fruity, however. Weighed together, I’d rather have the sugar over the fruit, and so Caribbean Crush sneaks in at number three.
2. Apple Blast
Bit of an upset—Apple Blast topped my rankings last year. It tastes just like candy; you can practically feel your teeth rotting out of your head while you drink. This year, I had an extra-large bottle of the stuff, which might’ve been too much of a good thing.
The canonical Lucozade flavor, even more so than Original. I packed two of these up, double-bagged in Ziploc, in my suitcase. On the way back home through JFK, I got pulled aside for a bit of extra security screening and had to explain to the incredulous officer why Lucozade was worth smuggling into the US. But if he just had a sip of the orange draught, he’d understand.
Thank you, Night Water readers, for your undying support as I work to become the first full-time Lucozade reviewer. Your tireless energy in the face of an uncaring sports drink empire keeps me going.