The Kool-Aid Alternative

Kool-Aid Alternative

I grew up on Kool-Aid. Our homeschool group serves Kool-Aid to the kids at lunch. Everybody drinks Kool-Aid because it’s cheap and it quenches your thirst. But it’s oh, s-o-o b-a-a-a-d for you.

Almost 20 years ago, my son was kicked out of Sunday school because they didn’t know what to do with him. I knew there was a problem; I just didn’t know what was causing it. An elimination diet proved he had trouble with food coloring. Well, what do ya know? He was given Kool-Aid and cookies for snack time every Sunday.

Well, if you too want something to serve besides that bright red drink that makes your children happy (and wild or aggressive, or angry, or all of the above), have I got the solution for you–the Kool-Aid alternative.

The great thing about my Kool-Aid substitute is that it is sugar-free, dye-free, and has a lot of extra health benefits because it’s high in vitamin C and bioflavonoids. And I’m sure you want to have the recipe, so here it is.

kool-aid card

The hibiscus flowers give the drink an alluring red color that is natural and a tart taste that really quenches your thirst. The stevia acts as a sweetener, and the peppermint gives it that refreshing coolness you want on a hot summer day.

Now, go make up a batch of Kool-Aid Alternative and let me know how you like it.

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The Kool-Aid Alternative — 29 Comments

  1. Sounds yummy, Carol! I don’t have any hibiscus or stevia leaves, but even using tea bags (and stevia drops) would work, right? For the stevia, do you just go out and break off some fresh leaves, or do you dry them first? (There’s another post idea.) 🙂

    • I buy the herbs in bulk from the Bulk Herb Store, Kathy. I have grown stevia before, just haven’t in a few years. I think your idea would work great. I’d just experiment a little with the right mix.

  2. It sounds cool and refreshing Carol! I have the peppermint plant, and I have hardy hibiscus. (Is that the same, and do you use the leaves or the flowers?) I’ll have to work on getting the stevia leaves, and then I’d like to try it. Thanks for sharing! ~Katie

    • Hi Katie. There are all kinds of hibiscus, so I can’t really tell you unless you know the botanical name of yours. You use the flowers. Check the Facebook page, I put a picture.

      • I have hibiscus plants (two – one with white flowers and another with light pink flowers…). I’ll have to find their names….although, it does say in your recipe to use the leaves?

  3. This does sound refreshing! I’ve been on a No Kool-Aid campaign for years; my husband is the only one in the family that likes it–because his mom gave it to her family–my kids and theirs haven’t had it–at least not at my house! 🙂 Thanks for the link to purchase the hibiscus, too. I was wondering where to find it.

  4. This is so cool! My boys love Kool Aid (and my husband as well), so this would be so handy! Where do you get all your leaves? I’m excited to give it a try! Happy Monday!

    • Hey Brooke. I buy my herbs in bulk from the Bulk Herb Store. (See links or ad in sidebar.) Also, my daughter suggested mixing it with apple juice to sweeten a little until they kiddos get used to it.

  5. Dear Carol,
    I keep seeing this Stevia as an ingredient for drinks but what exactly is it? I have many severe food allergies and I miss the summer sweet fruit punch drink with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I have found that Jif makes a natural no stir peanut butter that is awesome and doesn’t make me sick along with Berlin White Spelt bread and Smucker’s simply fruit raspberry seedless spread but I have a corn allergy and am afraid that the stevia is a corn product. If you know thanks and reply with Kool-aid in the subject box so my filter won’t send your message to the spam file. Thank you so much Susan from Michigan.

    • Good question, Susan. Stevia is an herb that is 300x sweeter than sugar. What is used in this recipe is just the dried leaves. You can also purchase stevia drops. They are an extract of the leaves. And you can buy stevia powder. I used to have stevia growing in my yard and the boys loved to chew the leaves…but they couldn’t stand more than one or two at a time because they were so sweet.

  6. This is such a wonderful idea – makes me start to think about what other herbs I can use to make a really nice drink.

  7. I love making a pitcher of iced hibiscus tea in the summertime. But I don’t add stevia or peppermint. I like it tart.

    Another tea I want to try iced is Tazo’s Wild Sweet Orange.

  8. You may also buy teas with Hibiscus flowers in them from Celestial Seasonings (I think Red Zinger is one of them?) right in any supermarket, then use one drop mint extract and a pinch of stevia powder ,viola! Rose of Sharon is another name for a type of Hibiscus bush that comes in lavender and pink(s) flowers, I have these and one huge flowered plant called Dinner plate Hibiscus…would any of these do? I also have chocolate mint growing. Where would you find stevia plants or seeds to start the plants?(I really like Birch sweetener called Xylitol…but, don’t get it from China and don’t get it made from corn!) I buy Xylo Sweet on line expensive but, a little goes a long way-its very sweet and leaves no after taste it kills germs in the mouth so its great for teeth and gums health- well known in Japan- its in gum too. Blessings to All good health!

    • I really can’t advise you about the bushes in your yard Deb, but using the Celestial Seasonings and the Xylitol are great alternatives. Thanks for sharing those ideas. As for the stevia, I found the plants at my local farm store, but since I stink at drying my own herbs, I like to buy from the Bulk Herb Store. That way I know they are done right.

  9. My mother used to make this with lemons added to the mix. Sadly we didn’t know about stevia a the time so sugar…I know I know was the sweetener of choice. Thanks for reminding me of this wonderful alternative to kool-aid. We have our first child and I don’t use sugar at all so this will be our drink of choice :-9

  10. I am diabetic, so lots of sugary drinks are right out. This tea is a godsend. I have been keeping cool with it for a few weeks now and loving it more every day. Thank you for sharing!

  11. In the Mexican culture we have used Jamaica, pronounced hymyca (hibiscus) for decades to make agua fresca (ice tea), it’s yummy & acts as a natural diuretic if you drink it concentrated and very little or no sweetener. It helps lower elevated blood pressure, bad cholesterol and detoxify the entire body. You can find easily at an Mexican/Latin market if you have one in your area or in the ethnic food isle at the grocery store. It’s usually inexpensive at the Mexican markets if you buy in bulk. My local market sells is for around $4.99 lb, but you don’t need a pound if you are not going to make it very often.

    • Thanks for sharing that, Lorena. I do buy it by the pound, though. We drink that much!

  12. The only thing we do with kool aid in my family is mix it into homemade play dooh it gets rid of the weird smell. Love your alternative drink. Thank you for sharing it with us on foodie friday.

    • Sounds like a good way to color your play dough, Diane. I wonder if it stains the kiddo’s hands.