Our 5 Favorite Ways to Use Store-Bought Drink Mix

Here's how to take your Crystal Light way beyond the pool party.

A bunch of glasses of various heights filled with green liquid, next to a tub of Crystal Light
Photo: Fred Hardy, Katherine Tucker, Ana Kelly

Powdered drink mixes have been a beverage workhorse for years, and Allrecipes readers know which powdered drink mix they love the best. Crystal Light took top honors in the 2023 Allrecipes Community Choice Awards, but this mix (and ones like it) can do far more than mixing up a pitcher of poolside hydration. Here are five great ways to use your powdered drink mix.

Frozen Treats

From homemade popsicles for the littles to elegant granitas and sorbets for adults, powdered drink mixes are perfect for creating your own frozen treats. You can literally pour the prepared drink into popsicle molds or small cups to freeze for flavored ice treats; freeze in a shallow pan, periodically scraping with a fork to make granitas; or even churn in your ice cream maker for a sorbet. Try this Crystal Light Strawberry Granita.

Hot Drinks

From spiced ciders to mulled wines, warming drinks are a great way to stay cozy in the cold weather, and drink mixes are a terrific way to amp up their flavor. Use iced tea flavors for easy toddies and use citrus flavors to boost mulled wines or spirits. You can make batches booze-free for family-friendly post-winter-sports warmers, or booze it up for your own après-ski (no actual skiing required). We particularly love this Orange Mulled Cider.

Mocktails

Maybe you are doing Drynuary this year. Maybe your party has tons of kids or you want something festive to offer the designated drivers. These days, abstaining no longer means relegating yourself or your guests to boring glasses of fizzy water or pop. Mocktails have finally gotten their due, and mixologists everywhere are putting as much thought and care into crafting exciting booze-free drinks as they are into the old-school tipples.

Using drink mixes as a base for non-alcoholic drinks gives you a wonderful variety of flavors to play with. Try layering two or more mixes for interesting blends; make them double strength for use as flavoring syrups; or just add a splash to sparkling water for custom sodas (we love blends like sparkling grapefruit water with a splash of cranberry drink, a dash of bitters, and a lemon twist). Elevate festive rims on glasses by mixing dry mix with salt or sugar. This Sangria Punch is a fave with crowds, and you'll never miss the liquor.

Ice Cubes

Nothing is worse than ice cubes that dilute your drinks and make them watery. We have always loved freezing flavored cubes that bring something special to the party! Whether it is a lemon or lime cube to put in your diet soda for that citrus punch, or ensuring that your batch of party iced tea stays cold without getting watered down, freezing drink blends is worth the effort. You can also freeze larger rings or other molds to float in punch bowls so that your ice is as festive as it is delicious.

Flavor Boosters

With so many flavors to choose from, Crystal Light can be a great way to add flavor to all sorts of things. Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • Use the lemonade mix instead of a sweetener in your morning tea.
  • Add a berry flavor to plain vanilla frosting.
  • Make your own flavors of Jello by adding drink mix to unflavored gelatin.
  • Use a drink mix to flavor vodka for custom cocktails.
  • Add drink mixes to meringue or marshmallow recipes for color and flavor.

Talk about taking drink mixes way past the pool party!

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