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Crystal Light Flavor Faceoff

Absurd NYC ban aside, I’m trying to drink less soda -- though someone should really tell that to the 20oz Coke Zero that magically appears in my hand around noon each day.  (I don't have the heart.)

Clearly, at work, I have the willpower of a banana slug. 

But at home, I try not to buy soda because I know if I don’t have it, I won’t drink it. Yes, yes, I’m thisclose to buying a Sodastream – but honestly that’s driven more by my addiction to kitchen gadgets than my love of sugary carbonated beverages that rot my teeth and cause obesity.

So, I bought a pitcher (SEE? Another gadget!) to brew my very own healthy H2O. I went with Zerowater, which I prefer over its more famous cousin, the Britta Water Pitcher Filtration System because that one leaves nasty little charcoal bits floating around in your drink. Ick.

I like my water flat or fizzy, but sometimes I thirst for something… more.

Enter Crystal Light (full disclosure: my awesome brother works on this tasty brand, but this test was MY idea -- as most good things are).

I’ve loved this line of diet lady-drinks for a long time. I have my go-to iced teas that I guzzle by the gallon. Who doesn’t? But I feel like I blinked and the number of flavor varieties in my local dirty Gristedes has quadrupled in the past year. Mocktails, Energy, and Fiber! These newcomers not only keep you hydrated for a raging all-nite sober dance party, they’ll keep you regular too.

Obviously, I needed to try them all.

Fresh off my solo ice cream taste test, with the bellyache to prove it, I decided to recruit a few new members this time – my trusty parents.  Luckily, they humored me.  Thanks Mom & Dad!

Incidentally, if you’re ever hosting a powdered beverage smackdown with your AARP-aged parents, you’ll need: 30 different flavors to keep things interesting, a spoon, a box of disposable bathroom cups, a case of your favorite bottled water, and a trip (or five) to the restroom. Each.

It was a hot night in Del Boca Vista when I commandeered their roomy kitchen island and set up this ridiculous non-alcoholic drinking game. Then we drank, and drank, and DRANK. And something odd happened... 

We 3 people who might not agree on the time of day (it’s 4:45 -- NO it’s quarter to 5 -- NO it’s dinner time!), were all remarkably in sync about the tastes we didn’t care for.  Who knew?

Anyway, enough sweet talk, let's get down to business.  I divvied the flavors into 5 main categories for a faceoff. Here’s how it went down the hatch:

THE CONTENDERS: Mojito, Peach Bellini, Pomtini, Margarita, and Appletini

SIP: Peach Bellini, Margarita, and Appletini
SKIP: Pomtini

THE CONTENDERS: Peach Mango, Grape, Citrus, and Wild Strawberry

SIP: Peach Mango and Strawberry
SKIP: Grape

THE CONTENDERS: Sunrise Ruby Red Grapefruit, Cranberry Apple, Strawberry Kiwi, Cherry Pomegranate, Strawberry Orange Banana, Sunrise Classic Orange, Fruit Punch, Raspberry Peach, White Grape, Raspberry Ice, and Citrus Splash

SIP: Strawberry Kiwi, Cherry Pomegranate, and White Grape
SKIP: Strawberry Orange Banana and Raspberry Peach

THE CONTENDERS: Pink Lemonade, Lemonade, Pomegranate Lemonade, and Raspberry Lemonade

SIP: Pink Lemonade, Lemonade, and Raspberry Lemonade
SKIP: Pomegranate Lemonade

THE CONTENDERS: Lemon Iced Tea, Peach Mango Green Tea, Raspberry Iced Tea, Peach Iced Tea, Honey Lemon Green Tea, and Raspberry Green Tea

SIP: Lemon Iced Tea and Raspberry Iced Tea
SKIP: Honey Lemon Green Tea

So next time you’re in Stop & Shop or Shoprite, Foodtown or Fairway, Publix or Piggly Wiggly, remember our family taste test and load up on the good stuff.

And Crystal Light Powers That Be -- if you are listening -- here are a few more flavor concoctions I’d like to see ASAP:
  • Lemonade + Lemon Iced Tea = Arnold Palmer
  • Cherry Pomegranate + Margarita = Cherry Limeade
  • White Grape + Raspberry Peach = White Wine Sangria
  • Grape + Fruit Punch = Red Wine Sangria
  • Wild Strawberry + Pomtini = Strawberry Daiquiri

So, do YOU prefer your water pure, or with a little pizazz? What’s your favorite Crystal Light flavor?

And what the heck do you do with all those empty plastic containers? Mix it up below…

tags:  food, taste tests


Chris said...

This looks so scientific! I love an Arnold Palmer/AKA Half And Half I hope they make that one real soon. For now its lemon iced tea for me.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Use empty cans as a bank

Susan R. said...

Here is what i do eith them.......... RECYCLE!