recess drinks woman napping

Your stress is no match for this ultra-calming, low-cal drink

When our mothers were telling us to brush our teeth and make our beds, they never could have anticipated how trendy taking care of yourself would become. We’re all looking for easy self care tips to adopt, and drinking more water was one of the ideas that most people latched onto from the start. But here’s the thing about chugging your H2O: you feel great, but it’s really boring. So we branched out into other health drinks and, we can only assume, LaCroix stock skyrocketed. But there’s a new option that’s sure to give the bubbly favorite a run for its money: Recess drinks.

This CBD world darling developed a following almost overnight. One sip and it’s easy to understand why it’s one of the most popular CBD drinks on the market. While LaCroix tastes like water that’s been sitting sort of near a fruit, the Recess drinks are packed with flavor. In fact, on the sparkling water spectrum, they fall much closer to Spindrift, the sparkling water that uses a splash of real fruit juice for flavor, than LaCroix. All that and, well, their formula also uses CBD, which doesn’t hurt.

What you need to know about the Recess drinks before you buy

Here’s the rub, though: Recess drinks are pricey, especially if you’re comparing them to sparkling water. So before you drop the dough on one or more of their 6- or 8-packs, you probably want to know what you’re getting into. I’ve tried all three flavors and knocked one back every day for a week. In the name of science, of course. (Spoiler alert: These drinks earned a spot on my list of products that help my anxiety management.) Here’s what you can expect from the sips.

The Recess drink flavors

Recess comes in three different flavors that aren’t what you’ve come to expect from sparkling waters. You can choose between Peach Ginger, Pom Hibiscus (as in Pomegranate), and Blackberry Chai. Unlike some other drinks that boast multiple flavors, Recess drinks actually deliver. Peach and ginger are equally present, you can taste both pomegranate and hibiscus, and Blackberry Chai truly delivers on both fruit and warming spices.

None of the flavors are overly sweet. If you have doubts about Blackberry Chai, which is polarizing among the people I’ve talked to, you can still confidently order a case of either Peach Ginger or Pom Hibiscus. They’re both fruity with just a hint of a bite. If you’re a fan of chai, give the other one a try. I’m a fan of the combination. Luckily, Recess also offers a sample pack in case you want to try all three.

How much you’ll pay for Recess drinks

If you know what flavor you want to try, you’ll drop $39.99 on an 8-pack. If you’re less sure or want to give them all a go, you’ll need to pony up $29.99 for a 6-pack sampler. Keep in mind that the drinks do take 2 to 3 weeks to be delivered. So if you like them and want to restock, you’ll need to plan accordingly.

What the nutrition for Recess drinks is like

Like Spindrift, Recess uses a splash of real fruit juice in their drinks. That means, yes, you will get some calories and sugar in each can. But try not to stress about them, especially since that would be ironic. Each can of Pom Hibiscus and Blackberry Chai packs in a scant 25 calories, with roughly 20 of those coming from sugar. For easy math, that’s 5 or 6 grams of sugar per can. Peach Ginger clocks in lower, with 15 calories per can and just 4 grams of sugar.

recess drinks label ingredients
For easy reference each can of Recess comes with a panel quickly explaining the key ingredients and the health benefits of each of them.

Ingredients in Recess drinks you need to know

I loved drinking Recess every day for a week. I had a sampler pack and loved each and every flavor. But what I couldn’t get enough of was how much these drinks helped me manage my anxiety at work. Which, you can imagine, reverberated into my life at home. And that’s thanks to the chill-inducing ingredients in those Recess drinks. They combine CBD with adaptogens that, though they haven’t reached the fame of cannabidiol, deserve attention and a place in your wellness routine. You probably already know about CBD oil and its health benefits, but here’s how the lesser known ingredients can help you through your rough days:

Schisandra berry

Schisandra, also called five-flavor berry (or five-flavor fruit) or magnolia berry, is just starting to show up in wellness products from hip, heavily-branded companies. The berries, which do boast five flavors (sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and sour), are added to some of these products as a powder. That means you won’t necessarily get to taste them even if they’re on the label. But what’s truly special about these berries is their lignan content, which is the root of their wide range of health benefits.

Going into the science is a topic for another post, but Schisandrins A, B, and C are compounds extracted from the plant that all hold different health benefits. Schisandrin B, for example, has a positive effect on Alzheimer’s disease. The berries can also help with menopause, possibly protect your liver from damage, and potentially help combat depression. But Recess drinks use them for their adaptogenic properties. That means they might help your body adapt to and resist the effects of stress and anxiety.

American ginseng

First things first: it’s very important to distinguish between American and Asian ginseng because they have opposite effects on your body. While Asian varieties have invigorating properties, it’s believed that American ginseng has a calming effect. This root can also help keep your blood sugar levels balanced, meaning you’ll be less likely to experience the energy lull that comes with a blood sugar crash.

Like its Asian cousin, American ginseng has also been shown to help combat fatigue. The research, though done in cancer patients, may point to the adaptogen’s ability to also help those of us suffering from regular stress-driven exhaustion. Additionally, ginseng can help your working memory while keeping you calm. So you’ll not only be more focused while working but also approach your work with an efficiency that comes from handling your stress well.


This amino acid is mostly found in green and black tea, but you can now get it through supplements instead knocking back a pitcher of the drinks. This supplement seems to alter levels of a couple neurotransmitters, producing a state of calm. In fact, it’s this benefit that helps you stay cool, calm, and collected despite the high levels of caffeine in black tea. The amino acid works synergistically with caffeine. So you’ll get the alertness you want without the distraction of the jitters that sometimes come with a caffeinated cuppa.

But it also seems to act sort of like an adaptogen. Students were better able to handle stress and experienced less anxiety under pressure when given L-theanine in one study. It can even quell anxiety symptoms in patients with schizophrenia. So a daily dose might just mean a boosted ability to tackle that big work project without stress derailing your efforts.

My week with Recess drinks

So in the name of science, and because the drinks are delicious, I spent one week knocking back a can of Recess a day. I had just changed to a different day job, so it was the perfect time to try out a stress-busting drink. Our busy season was just weeks away and my to-do list was getting longer by the minute. But the week I had these Recess drinks went smoother than normal.

I don’t mean there was less stress. There wasn’t. I don’t mean that I didn’t hit bumps in the road and that everyone at work was nice and professional. I did, and trust me, they weren’t. But I was able to keep my stress levels relatively low and stable, which helped me sail through the week. Other people’s anxiety got to me less. Road bumps, when they did come up, didn’t derail my work. I was able to take a big breath, let it go, and move on to plan B.

On a less serious note, it was also a delicious week. Between lunch and my pre-workout meal is when I tend to get hungry. I chose to sip on Recess drinks during this time. I loved all the flavors, but it also helped bridge the gap to my next meal. Even better, I didn’t feel deprived or reach for junk food. Although I’m not able to afford constantly keeping them in stock, I would in a heartbeat if I had the money.