*This article originally appeared on MyRecipes.com
These are the six beverages I love to keep stocked in my fridge to stay hydrated and happy.
The weekend before I got engaged to my fiancé, I went out of town to visit my newest nephew. It had been a frantic week leading up to my trip and I left in a bit of a frenzy, leaving my then-boyfriend to his own devices at the apartment. I considered things to be in a state of disarray; most notably, because we had very little, if anything, left in terms of beverages in the fridge. Now, this may not seem like an issue worth blinking at, but having a fully stocked, neatly organized shelf of beverages in my fridge brings me a distinct sense of calm, not to mention, joy beyond measure. Feel like something other than water? LaCroix. Last minute guest? Toss them a beer. Dehydrated and in need of a little of a boost? Vitamin Water. See where I am going with this? It’s highly satisfying to me and is probably one of the easiest, low-effort things you can do to take care of and impress nearly anyone who may come to visit—and keep yourself well hydrated to boot!
With all of this said, you can imagine my surprise and delight when I arrived back home from said trip to a fridge loaded with fresh produce, snacks, and an array of our favorite beverages. My clever boyfriend knew this would excite me more than just about anything (and the note taped to the inside of the fridge reading, “welcome home, I love you” was an exceptionally nice touch). I probably don’t have to tell you that when he asked me to marry him the following week, organized rows of LaCroix flashed before my eyes—you know, in addition to a lifetime of happiness—and I said “yes” without hesitation.
A neat, aesthetically pleasing beverage shelf does not need to be saved as a prelude to an engagement, however. You too can have a fridge full of your favorite refreshments to quench your thirst or show off (just a little) to your guests. There’s no doubt that buying a bunch of drinks can make for a heavy grocery haul, so when it’s time to restock, I suck it up and head over to my bulk-store favorite, Costco, for some one-stop shopping. Their water, non-alcoholic, and alcoholic selection is top-notch and will save you beaucoup bucks in the long run. Here are my six favorite drinks to buy from Costco so that my beverage shelf is always at the ready.
This sparkling water favorite has been featured in a couple of my articles for MyRecipes, and it is no surprise that it tops the list here. While I have yet to quite figure out the flavor rotation that Costco operates on, there is always a themed variety pack of some sort available. Lately, they have had the regular single-flavor variety packs (i.e. tangerine, passionfruit, lime) on the floor, as well as the dual-flavored ‘curate’ combos (such as blackberry-cucumber or melon-grapefruit). Typically, they’ll also have a bulk pack consisting of only one flavor, although I tend to favor the variety combos. If you were doing one big shopping trip, I would go ahead and grab a pack of each. In our household, we fly through LaCroix as a daily alternative to plain water. Guests love it as well, and it’s a perfect mixer for cocktails, whether you’re adding multiple ingredients or just a splash of vodka.
While I will order a Diet Coke occasionally while I’m out for burgers, sushi, or pizza, I prefer to avoid having it on-hand at home. I don’t particularly need easy access to extra caffeine or sugar, so you won’t see soda on this list. For me, Spindrift is the closest replacement for a soda hankering. For anyone who has yet to try Spindrift, the major difference between it and LaCroix is that they add fruit purée, so I find that there is more of a potent flavor punch. I saw the giant variety pack of Spindrift a few times before I gave it a go, purchasing the bulk pack, but I’m so glad that I did. The pack sold at Costco includes raspberry-lime, lemon, and grapefruit; I am partial to the raspberry-lime. I’ll simply pour it in a glass over ice and serve it to my friends or myself with a straw. It feels like such a refreshing treat and clocks in at a mere 9 calories. Plus, the raspberry-lime flavor would work great in a frozen drink like frosé; you could definitely get creative with them.
My sister and Matron of Honor recently hosted a bridal shower for me, and in her beverage bucket on the “bubbles bar” she had set out several bottles of Perrier. For anyone who didn’t want flavor in their water (or perhaps didn’t want alcohol in their mimosa) I found this simple detail to be a perfect addition to the spread. I prefer flavored sparkling water, but if you’re a fan of the good, old-fashioned plain variety, you should toss a pack of these mini-bottles in your cart. The plastic bottles would be a great little something to throw in your cooler for your next picnic or visit to the pool.
Vitamin Water Zero
In our household, we don’t buy traditional bottled water. I keep a Camelbak water bottle on-hand most of the time, and when I’m not trekking it around the city, I chill it overnight in the fridge. It’s the first thing I grab on my way to a morning workout, and if I’m feeling particularly parched I’ll also grab a Vitamin Water. The flavor variety sold at Costco includes acai-blueberry, pomegranate, lemonade,and orange. I am partial to the pomegranate, and I especially love the lemonade. Mix it with some Tito’s and you have a delicious, low-calorie vodka-lemonade to enjoy poolside. Also, I am not going to lie… if you by chance enjoy one too many cocktails the night before, Vitamin Water includes what the name indicates, extra vitamins as well as electrolytes. Maybe it’s a placebo effect, but I swear I feel more refreshed if I drink one the morning after a really fun evening.
Speaking of booze, Costco is a fantastic place to stock up on some of your favorite alcoholic beverages as well, particularly when it comes to beer. You can get an 18-pack of Bud Light or Corona Light for much less than you would pay in your local grocery or package store. I rarely drink beer at home, but I like having it in the fridge for my fiancé and for friends. It’s an easy solution to have ready-to-go for that impromptu Taco Tuesday, backyard gathering, or last-minute visit from a friend who is coming over to watch the game. Keep a lookout for seasonal selections as well. We hosted a party on Cinco de Mayo and picked up a Mexican variety pack from Costco, which added a little touch of fun personality to our drink bucket. It’s definitely worth checking out the aisle displays for any fun limited-time finds in addition to the regular beer/liquor/wine aisle.
Did you know that Costco is the largest distributor of wine in the country? I learned this while watching an episode of Shark Tank where Kevin O’ Leary bestowed this fun fact to a nervous contestant. Per this Buzzfeed article, nearly half of the $4 billion in alcohol sales can be attributed to wine. While I prefer to support my local, mom-and-pop wine shop, I do always like to have one or two bottles of white or rosé chilled in my fridge. The Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio, Whispering Angel rosé, and Miraval rosé are on my list of regular must-buys during my Costco trips. Just this week, my girlfriend stopped by on her way home from work, toting along veggies and cheese to snack on, and I was ready to pour the wine without having to leave my apartment. Preparation, my friends, comes in handy any day of the week.
There you have it, my six go-to’s I make sure to have stocked in my fridge; lots of water and a little bit of booze. I should note that we do still have a couple bottles of Champagne from our engagement party, and several beers leftover from that Cinco de Mayo soirée. Should you find yourself with a fridge packed to the brim, let me offer one final suggestion—it might be time to throw a B.Y.O.F. (bring your own food party). You know, to clean out the excess from your organized fridge and make room for your next Costco trip.
What are your favorites? Let me know by commenting or email me anytime, firstname.lastname@example.org.