Nu South Strawberry Lemonade

Here’s a nice, cooling drink for the summer, sent by Nu South, a flavored lemonade beverage company. It’s a bright pink drink with lemonade and strawberries, two of the heat’s favorite things. If only they found a way to add in a pool float, it would be perfect.The drink is very cool and refreshing, and I like the fact that the company has many varieties of lemonade from different states, like Georgia to represent their peach lemonade. This lemonade represents Alabama. The color might be a little artificial for some, and it definitely imparts some of that in the taste. It’s bright pink, like the color of the terrible sunburn my face now sports, with a little eye area sectioned off in the shape of my Wayfarers. There’s a predominantly floral, tangy flavor from the combination of the tastes, and it reminded me a little of Red Robin’s freckled lemonade, but with less fruity flavor and more lemon. It tasted a lot like red gummy bears.The lemonade flavor wasn’t extraordinary, but it definitely imparted a good, sour flavor that made the drink far less saccharine than it would have been. It cut the sweetness and helped, but the overall texture of the drink is a bit syrupy. I could see myself ordering this in a restaurant and not minding that, but in a retail bottle, I want something a little less sugary.

Little Hugs Beverages

Well, color me wary. 24 juice drinks for the low, low price of $3? Without any pandering and possible blowjobs to the American Beverage Company? Sign me up.

Their alibi seems to check out. They’re the first and oldest kid’s single serve beverage in the United States. That seems plausible, meaning that they’ve remained quietly under the radar like a Soviet Spy, letting the other drinks take the flash in the pan spotlight, or that they’re so potent they’re on par with Plutonium and nobody dares take down the beast.

Spoiler alert, it’s option two. They’re cheap, but they’re nothing to shake a stick at. Writing this review even has me at a loss of words. At 12.5 cents a barrel, as they’re iconically shaped, I am quite positive that the exact cost of ingredients equals what you paid for. There’s nothing flashy on these. The plastic barrel is vaguely opaque, reminding me of the equally gross Nik-L-Nips, and comes adorned with disturbing Kool-Aid spawn shaped like barrels, which you will soon tear the heads off and drink their life juice from.

I don’t understand how the Kool-Aid friends play and frolic, because they contain absolutely no source of energy. What I’m talking about is sugar. Each juice is violently colored so that when you imbibe, you’re trying to pretend that it’s flavored like the color, when in reality, they dyed water and called it an afternoon. Let’s start with the least offensive. Aaaaand, that would be orange. It tastes a little like my childhood, at least when my childhood traded childhoods with a kid who ate at McDonald’s twice a week, bringing back a weak, weak flavor of Hi-C orangeade and St. Joseph’s baby aspirin. It’s kind of sweet. It’s relatively harmless. And it only gets worse.The grape color travels faster than the “flavor,” and before you know it, you have a torrent of purple liquid running hell down your throat. Shit. This is water and food coloring. And possibly a variation of cancer. When you look at a full bottle, it sort of resembles a hand grenade. And that’s when you should have stepped back and just said no.There is literally no taste to this other than the bitter hatred of citric acid. It’s a saccharine no man’s land. This should only be used in Gitmo.Little Hugs hears your complaints and bitch slaps you. You want sugar? Okay, here’s sugar. All the sugar that could have been evenly divided between grape, orange, blue raspberry, and your dentist’s cavity bill is shoved into fruit punch, a philosophical quagmire that manages to be watery and intensely sweet at the same time. Is it sweet or diluted? It’s the Schrodinger’s Cat of the bunch. Mac from Always Sunny would call it the wild card. The underlying notes, ha ha ha, are Smarties and cough medicine. It’s a delicious hobo cocktail and, again, is so far removed from fruit punch in its original form. Like chicken rings.
Last, but not good enough to cure your diabetes, is blue raspberry. I never really understood such a concept. Is raspberry so freaking boring that it needs to go to fat camp over the summer and start high school as the sexy new kid? The Wikipedia article is disturbingly sparse. What kind of a mutant marketing firm would commit such an atrocity?I’ll be frank. Blue tastes and smells like antifreeze, but is nowhere as palatable. I’ve written a living will and it’s in the third desk drawer on the left.For fun and in accordance with the side effects of Stockholm Syndrome, Swagger and I mixed each flavor together and created Satan’s cocktail. Grape dominated all of the flavors and we both promptly fainted from the chemical overload. Goodbye, cruel world.I take it back. This isn’t for college students. This isn’t for humans. Or animals. Leave the Little Hugs alone and go buy some Capri Sun. We’re not made of money, but this is getting ridiculous.

Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale

Today, I was feeling lazy. Like, stay inside all day and make Captain Crunch deliver my physics exam to the professor lazy. Like, lunch on crappy pizza and stay in my pajamas lazy, because it was rainy and cold out and I just wanted to get to know the couch a little better.

I don’t know, though, there’s something about a good mug of tea that warms up my day, but it wasn’t wintry enough for one. Sure, it was cold and gross, but since I’d been feeling summer, I couldn’t get summer from my brain. So there was no way for me to have hot tea, because of my mood and also because I’d run out of mugs.I did have one ace up my sleeve, though. I had a green tea ginger ale that seemed perfect. Canada Dry Sparkling Green Tea Ginger Ale. The list of ingredients is shorter than the name, I swear. It’s a lovely green drink that definitely looks like green tea, and when the bottle is opened, you get a wonderfully refreshing tea scent. From that alone, I was hooked.This is extremely carbonated, with bigger, heavier bubbles resilient enough to pop as you swallow and ensure a nice burp, and the flavor is perfect, like a nice steeped tea taste with just enough sugar to keep it dry, refreshing, and yummy. It’s not overly tea flavored, and it’s not bitter at all. What really weirds me out is that though the title explicitly says there’s ginger ale in this, which I was very excited about, there is absolutely none in the ingredients list. I know that “Canada Dry Ginger Ale” is the brand, but it makes it awfully confusing to the average buyer.

The drink is just titillating. It’s an original concept and a nice variation from an old classic.

Crystal Light Apple Mango Slurpee

Another Slurpee adventure. This is the one Slurpee that Erik refuses to try. He hates mangoes and peaches with a passion, so every time we get juice that I want to have for myself, I get a mango juice or a mango blend. Poor guy. But when I saw this, I had to try it and see for myself how it tasted.

I think the combination is pretty ingenious, but it’s definitely a bit of wishful thinking. Checking this out, it was nuclear orange when I looked at it, rivaling Buffalo wings and some Cheeto flavors, and smelled very much like apple gummies or air fresheners. The flavor is very, very tangy and sweet, as though I just poured a straight packet of Tang into my mouth without water, and you really don’t get a lot of the mango.That’s why I gave it to Erik to see if he could taste them. And he couldn’t! He had no idea there was mango in it. It smells a little perfumey, but aside from the color and the label, there’s no hint of mango at all. All I tasted was an artificial sour apple taste, and that was so intense that I lost my taste for it after about three sips. The Crystal Light is tempting for a snack that’s low in sugar and high in taste, but this might be a little too flavorful for me.

The Vitamin Water Challenge, Part 2: Orange

Okay, guys. If you remember the last Vitamin Water Challenge, it was apparent that the brand name really did trump the little guy. But what about a new flavor? Today’s challenge is the Vitamin Water Orange versus the Kirkland Signature Orange Mango. Will the new flavor addition save the day? Or is the power of marketing just too clever and honed to be defeated?The two flavors start out differently and end differently. Cup B is a violent orange color, the kind reserved for Pauly D and most carrots, and Cup A deviates more towards a yellow-orange, sunnier color. Both are scented mildly, to the point where I can’t tell which is which. That’s a good sign.Cup A is orange flavored, and reminds me of drinking a watered down Hi-C. Like if you leave a glass of it out in the sun with some ice, it’ll taste like this. It’s orangey, but very subtle and diluted in flavor. Only when you drink the entire bottle at once does it then start to taste a little more flavorful.Cup B is definitely the orange mango. There’s much more flavor, but it still retains the same density as the water and doesn’t get syrupy or bogged down, and the mango flavor is delicious and mixes really well with the orange. Both flavors are present within the drink and neither one takes a spotlight over the other. There’s an even balance of sweetness, too, whereas if the orange flavor is too natural, it will get bitter, or just taste too sugary. This one retains the fruit’s characteristics without getting too much like a kid’s juice box.Aaaaaand, the verdict. Cup A was Vitamin Water, Cup B was Kirkland Signature. Are you surprised at how much better it tasted? I am, especially with the results of the last Vitamin Water Challenge. It’s nice to see the underdog win once in a while. I think I’m the winner overall, because I get to enjoy these waters and this gorgeous day, but for the sake of the challenge…

WINNER: KIRKLAND SIGNATURE

Delish! I’m pleased with this one and, once again, no calories! Until the next challenge, (two flavors left!) I’m the Foodette!

F’Real Classic Milkshakes

On late nights, (probably the same kind of nights Fleeper, Erik and I go out searching for Chinese food) we generally make a stop at a Cumberland Farms or a 7-11 to grab some snacks and see what kind of strange convenience store offerings they might have. You might recognize this theme from my berth of Slurpee posts late last year, and now we’ve found a new frozen treat to try: F’Real Milkshakes.

They just looked…slightly unreal. Milkshakes just have no place in a convenience store. And a milkshake that’s stored, indefinitely, in a freezer, and then taken out with the possibility of having an altered texture is just strange. Yes, that’s right. You can grab the milkshake and not only have it prepared, but have it to your textural preferences as well- regular, extra thick, or less thick.

We tested two of these to see how good they’d be in comparison to a regular milkshake at regular prices- milkshakes from Herrell’s in Northampton and Bart’s, both roughly in the $3-4 range, respectively. Compared to this shake at $2.50, this was a steal. We tried chocolate malt and vanilla.The range of flavors is unimpressive. The line itself has a spattering of coffeehouse frappuccinos, smoothies, and the like, but it seems like they’re spreading themselves out too thin in a chilly, bipolar episode with all the attempts to pinpoint the trends. Sticking to ice cream seems to be a wise decision. The chocolate malt, on “regular” setting as a control, turned out to be pretty decent. The milkshake came up through the straw at an even consistency and didn’t give any extra uneven chunks of ice or leftover powder and the flavor wasn’t bad at all.I can’t say that it was entirely impressive. It was your average, run of the mill chocolate, and there was less malt than I personally prefer, but if it’s 2 AM, where else are you going to get a milkshake fix?The vanilla fared worse for the ware. Deciding to make a thinner milkshake, we experimented with the machine’s settings and ended up with something thicker, almost at the consistency of regular ice cream. It was very disappointing, and the flavor was less vanilla and more frozen milk. It was average and we sipped lazily at it before setting it on the table to thaw out a little more, and before we knew it, we’d forgotten about it completely and threw the rest out.

Thai Fanta

Another trek to an Asian grocery, one that’s a little closer, brought this delightful…thing.

Swagger and I found this while stopping for a cool drink on a muggy day. There were a few flavors there, the standard orange and strawberry, but this looked intriguing. It was the only flavor where no english was present, so I was excited to have a drink.

The package was bright and green and featured many photos of tropical fruits, leading me to believe that maybe this was a tropical fruit, maybe a punch flavor. WRONG. When I opened the can- and it has that special can shape, that slightly more triangular shape of opening. Do you know what I mean? That one.

Well, when I opened the can, I was hit with a strong flavor of bubble gum. Strange. And when I tasted it, that was all I tasted. Bubble gum. It was as though someone had taken eighty five Bazooka Joes, thrown out the comics, and melted them down to make this soda. It was the same green color as the can, oddly enough, and threw me off for the flavor.

There might have been hints of tropical fruit flavor, but there’s a chance I’m making that up because I’m confused.

2/10- STRANGE