Matthew Kelly / Supercall

Juice Box Cocktails for Every Grown-Up ‘90s Kid


Somewhere between nap time and college graduation, we forgot the simple truth that drinking something fruity from a brightly colored box or bag is just plain fun. And with a few snips and a little tinkering behind the bar, that same juice box can still refresh you as a grown up. The quintessential boxed apple juice will never go out of style, but as long as we’ve got our handy scissors out, we might as well peek inside a few of our other favorites from back in the day as well. Capri Sun and Kool-Aid both pack enough flavor to stand up to spirits, making them great candidates for spiking too.

So put on your big boy (or big girl) pants and get mixing. Here are three ways to make cocktails inside your favorite childhood juice drinks.

Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Round glasses are for squares. Juice boxes are where the real fun is (and we’ll fight anyone who says otherwise). Simply snip open the box to reveal a whole new world of cocktail mixing possibilities. But keep the bendy straw—because everything’s better through a bendy straw).

In this take on a Lion’s Tail—an early 20th century tipple—boxed apple juice takes on a powerful mix of scotch, Applejack and bourbon. The peat-heavy Black Bottle blended scotch perks up the sweet bourbon, while Applejack gives the apple juice some extra heft. The combo lands the little pugilist in a whole new weight class.

The Essentials

Apple juice box
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
Of all the Capri Sun flavors to grace the elementary school lunchroom, Pacific Cooler is undoubtedly the most beloved—and one of the weirdest. A mix of apple, pear, orange, cherry, pineapple and—the unorthodox kicker—grape, the juice pack is like a clarified fruit smoothie. As kids, we would never dream of drinking it any way but through the designated straw hole. But these days we gladly rip open the packet to see what we can make with the smorgasbord of flavors inside.

Spiking it with white rum was a good start, but we took things a bit further. Funky rhum agricole dries out the cloying sweetness (something we never noticed back in the day), while maraschino liqueur and a splash of lemon juice amplify the hodgepodge of tropical fruit flavors. It’s the best way to revive the flavors of days past without actually having to relive elementary school.

The Essentials

capri sun
white rum
Matthew Kelly / Supercall
The squeezable Kool-Aid Burst was the go-to to-go drink for every ‘90s kid who had no time between kickball games to mix up a fresh batch of Kool-Aid from scratch. Now, it’s the go-to spikable juice drink for grown-up hipsters who still don’t have time between kickball games to waste. Break one open, and you’ll be blown away by a wall-shattering explosion of blueberry candy flavor, which, when mixed with cachaça and lime juice, evokes a blueberry-speckled Caipirinha. Cucumber bitters add some mature nuance to the sweet mixture.

You can spike the bright blue beverage right in the squeeze bottle if you own the world’s thinnest funnel or are up for syringing the mix into the vessel, or you can do as we did and lop off the top entirely. Either way, the kid-at-heart cocktail will have you exclaiming, “Oh yeah!”

The Essentials

Berry Blue Kool-Aid Burst
lime juice

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