Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade, Original and Cranberry

I saved Mike’s Lite Hard Lemonade for a warm summer day when I needed some mild afternoon refreshment. In photographing the bottles before drinking (a charming ritual to which I have become accustomed chez Foodette), I pondered how Mike’s brought the calorie count down from 220 in the original version to a mere 109 in the Lite. These two factors appear to be mainly in play: Truvia, and reduced alcohol volume. They are evident in the taste and effect, respectively.

If you’ve ever tried reduced calorie versions of your favorite beverages featuring stevia sweeteners, you’ll have a sense of that slightly different, not-quite-like-sugar taste and mouthfeel which are noticeable in Mike’s Lite drinks. The regular lemonade was a little truer to the taste of the original than the cranberry, where that weird Jello-like Truvia taste was on display.

Also important to note, the alcohol volume in the Lite lemonades is 3.2%, down from 5% in the original Mike’s Hard Lemonade. It doesn’t even rank in the “alcopop” range (4-7% alcohol content) of beverages, an ignoble variety that includes Smirnoff Ice, most bottom shelf Chardonnays, and Juicy Juice. Seriously, who is the intended customer for this beverage? Yes, I’m a calorie-conscious pretty lady, but I am not willing to trade off this much in the buzz department! I was literally not feeling it.

If I wished to ingest 100+ calories and not feel the effects of alcohol, I would have had a San Pellegrino Limonata without vodka. The original Mike’s is a summery, refreshing alternative to beer, but unfortunately, the Lite versions have shed calories in a way that defeats the purpose of the brand.

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