12 February, 2011

Sparkling ICE

I received an email last week, telling me about Sparkling ICE, a naturally-flavored sparkling beverage made with mountain spring water and fruit juice.  The folks who make Sparkling ICE are promoting their pink and red beverages as a great choice for a Valentine's Day refresher.  We requested samples for review, and they came in a few days later.

We received three flavors to try: Pomegranate Berry, Pink Grapefruit, and Lemon Lime.  I thought the inclusion of Lemon Lime was a bit curious, given how the email mentioned their "red" flavors (Pomegranate, Grapefruit, and Black Raspberry) as Valentine's Day-themed colors, but our tasting panel (Lynnafred, Maryanne, my stepdaughter Jamie, and my granddaughter Emily) didn't seem to mind the incongruity.

Lemon-Lime was our first pour and - as it turned out - the weakest of the three flavors.  I have yet to try a naturally-flavored lemon-lime beverage which contains real lemon juice and doesn't taste like some sort of household cleaning fluid.  The blame for this is probably on the cleaning products industry which has for decades poured lemon oil into every damn solvent and polish they can get their hands on,  This has left my family - and probably millions of others - with an immediate negative reaction to an entire flavor category of soft drink.  Every one of the tasters, right down to the 8-year-old, wrinkled their nose at the lemon-lime ICE and said, "Eeww.  Furniture polish."

The Grapefruit flavored Sparkling ICE was lots better.  I was favorably impressed even before taking a sip: when I opened the bottle, it was like peeling a ripe, delicious ruby red grapefruit in my hands - the aroma was that perfect and real.  The flavor was truly grapefruity - more accurate and authentic than Fresca.  None of us tasted much of a sucralose aftertaste, either, which is a credit to the flavormeisters at Sparkling ICE.  Good stuff.

The crowd favorite was the Pomegranate Berry.  Its medium-red color was highly suggestive of its namesake fruit, though most of us agreed that the pomegranate flavor wasn't the primary note (a look at the ingredients panel revealed that there was, in fact, no pomegranate juice at all in the blend - the taste profile was created by apple juice concentrate and "natural flavors.") Still, the flavor was pleasant and fruity and highly drinkable if not really very much like pomegranate.

Y'know, Sparkling ICE does have a bunch of things going for it.  Their mountain spring water is a huge plus, and so are the natural flavors.  There are no calories.  They throw in antioxidants and a handful of vitamins, so a 17-ounce bottle provides you with 20% of your recommended daily dose of vitamins B2, B3, B5, B6, D3, and Biotin - and an awesome 200% of vitamin B12 - and even manage to make the stuff taste pretty good.  So I'm afraid they might be shooting themselves in the foot with the marketing campaign that was pitched in their first email to me:

Nothing makes a person feel sexier and more confident than making healthy food and drink choices. This Valentine’s Day, skip the box of chocolates, pink and red colored candies, and festive sugary drinks and toast Cupid with a delicious glass of Sparkling ICE! . . . Stock up with Sparkling ICE and you’ll be hearing those three special words in no time!

Dudes.  You have got to be kidding me.  Skip the box of chocolates and give the Better Half a bottle of diet soda??  I might as well bring the pillows and blankets to the couch right now, because the only "three special words" a strategy like that will earn me are, "SO I'M FAT????"


Anonymous said...

This is really good stuff, however the best flavors are the black raspberry and the pineapple coconut. I hate raspberry flavored everything but this stuff is fantastic. The only flavor I've yet to try is the lemonade which I not seen in a store. The lemon lime is the worst, and I found the pomegranate soapy.

The other thing about this stuff I like is the fine carbonation; the stuff is almost needle-like. The bottle acts like a champagne flute to keep the fizz active.

Zodiacvirgo said...

The best new flavor is the Coconut Pineapple