Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Sprite Cranberry

Years after cranberry sodas have graced holiday store shelves, Sprite finally threw its hat into the ring. But, much like the Apple corporation, their "me too" products are often not to be ignored.

I myself am not a big fan of Sprite, but any time Sprite makes a variation, I stand up and take note. See: Sprite Remix Aruba Jam.

The aroma begins in typical sprite fashion, but with a clear addition of tartness, which could perhaps be guessed as cranberry.  The sip isn't tart, though.  It's sweet, but not as sweet as original sprite.  A simple and subtle cranberry flavor forms on the tongue, which soon becomes a generic red berry, which then becomes a generic fruitiness.  And that's about it.  It's a short experience, but it's complex and balanced.

Why can't there be more versions of Sprite?

By the way, just like this and this, Sprite Cranberry goes well with this.

Sprite Cranberry:- Outstanding
Original Sprite(for comparison):- Good

Monday, December 23, 2013

Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash

Aside from being included in just about everything in the months between September in January, cranberry is a flavor that is often injected into sodas in particular for this time of year.

Last year I wrote about Canada Dry's Cranberry variety, which has been gracing autumn and winter shelves for years now. Also years old now is Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, but is still only seasonal.

Sprite reigns king of the lemon lime sodas in the US and has done so for a long time, but in 1999 Pepsico realized that Slice really wasn't cutting it as competition. 7 Up might be a worthy opponent, but Pepsi does not own the rights to 7 UP in the US.

And so, Pepsi created a new brand to compete on the lemon lime shelves: Sierra Mist. Ever since my first sip, I always knew it was a loser. It just was never as good as Sprite, and I'm pretty sure that its brand performance hasn't been incredible either, though I have no numbers to back that up. A few years ago, Pepsi switched the drink's formulation and called it Sierra Mist Natural.  My verdict remains the same.

Cranberry Splash must be somewhat successful, because it keeps coming out every holiday season.

The Sierra Mist flavor base, in my opinion, is one that is fairly dull and lacks vibrancy.  Despite that it uses sugar over HFCS, it tastes like a mixture of sugar syrup and citric acid.  Luckily, the cranberry makes it better.  It instantly adds a tartness that makes your taste buds stand at attention.  The tartness evolves into an easily detectable cranberry flavor that's quite enjoyable.  But too soon it dissipates into the dead Sierra Mist aftertaste.

It's better than the normal stuff, but not by much.  And, like Canada Dry Cranberry, it looks beautiful in the glass, and tastes better with gin.

Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash:- Good
Original Sierra Mist(for comparison):- Passable

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle Sandwich

I don't often delve into "health foods" or anything with reduced calories specifically for pleasure.  However, the lady of the house is a big fan of Skinny Cow products, which are a slightly healthier option for those who enjoy frozen desserts.  As someone whose vices lie more toward chips and corn snacks, I am not a dessert lover.  However, I find myself constantly impressed with Skinny Cow.

Skinny Cow offers tons of different desserts in tons of flavors, but occasionally they'll issue some ephemeral ones as well.  This time they have a Snickerdoodle ice cream sandwich which I'm unable to ignore.

The experience begins in a fashion that's unlike actual snickerdoodles: the teeth sink into the two soft oatmeal cookies which have a deep flavor base of molasses.  Later detectable are brown sugar and a bit of cinnamon.  The ice cream is a simple and very enjoyable vanilla.

But in this case, the snack's "healthy" status is what elevates it.  Because Skinny Cow seeks to use less fat in their ice cream, they employ a more clever use of food gums to increase the cream's viscosity and improve the texture.  The result is a cream that's almost chewy, and it's really a joy to pull away each bite.

Between the ice cream's texture and the cookie's flavor, this snack belongs in the order of its full-fat brethren.  If Skinny Cow actually advertised these as ice cream oatmeal creme pies, which is what they really are, they'd be in 4-NOM territory.

Skinny Cow Snickerdoodle Sandwich:- Great

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Jack Links Sriracha Beef Jerky

Jack Link's might be the most widespread brand of jerky.  It's nice to see that they're branching out their varieties a bit.

The initial flavor is very much like your average bite of beef jerky, with perhaps a more savory note that I might call onion-like.  On the chew, chiles make themselves quite apparent, and the heat begins.  It's not until after the swallow that the heat really hits you, and it's substantial.

Overall, a simpler experience than I was hoping for.  To me, sriracha calling cards are heat, sweet, and garlic, and this product really only checks one of those boxes.

Jack Link's Sriracha Beef Jerky:- Good
Original Jack Link's Beef Jerky:- Good

acquired: Walmart