Taste test: Cranberry juice cocktail

Blood-red, straight-up cranberry juice is a bit too tart for most of us raised in the "sugar-added" generation. The real stuff always makes me think of the three-day cranberry juice diets that purport to help dieters detox and drop pounds in record time. Because it's made with real cranberries, the "juice cocktail" mix has some small health benefits, but watch portions if, like us, you choose not to get the artificially sweetened varieties. Our panelists tried 10 brands of cranberry juice cocktail, sweetened with sugar or other fruit juices. None had fat or fiber, but the calories in each 8-ounce serving varied slightly.

Kathy Saunders, Times correspondent

Product/serving Nature's Place Organic Northland Great Value
Calories 130 130 140
Judges' comments Shimmering, tart and robust. "It's like Kool-Aid and reminds me of when I was 7 years old," said one judge who loved the taste and appetizing red color. Judges were divided on the appearance of this juice. Some decided it looked too diluted. Others compared it to Coca-Cola. The taste, though, appealed to all of them. Judges liked that Northland's brand wasn't too sweet. They described it as "crisp." Walmart's cranberry juice cocktail was a big hit among our panelists. They appreciated the deep, red color and the juicy balance between sweet and sour tastes. They described it as sassy and smart. One judge detected a slight raspberry flavor. "Bring on the vodka," said another.
Shopping information $4.99 for a 64-ounce bottle. $3.79 for a 64-ounce bottle. $2.98 for a 64-ounce bottle.
Product/serving Nature's Place Organic Northland Great Value
Calories 130 130 140
Judges' comments Shimmering, tart and robust. "It's like Kool-Aid and reminds me of when I was 7 years old," said one judge who loved the taste and appetizing red color. Judges were divided on the appearance of this juice. Some decided it looked too diluted. Others compared it to Coca-Cola. The taste, though, appealed to all of them. Judges liked that Northland's brand wasn't too sweet. They described it as "crisp." Walmart's cranberry juice cocktail was a big hit among our panelists. They appreciated the deep, red color and the juicy balance between sweet and sour tastes. They described it as sassy and smart. One judge detected a slight raspberry flavor. "Bring on the vodka," said another.
Shopping information $4.99 for a 64-ounce bottle. $3.79 for a 64-ounce bottle. $2.98 for a 64-ounce bottle.

ALSO SAMPLED: Ocean Spray ($2.50 for 64 ounces); Hannaford ($2.69 for 64 ounces); Nature's Nectar ($2.19 for 64 ounces); CVS ($2.50 for 64 ounces); Market Pantry ($1.80 for 64 ounces); Publix ($2.85 for 64 ounces); and Winn-Dixie ($2.99 for 64 ounces).

Panelists: Nan Jensen, registered dietitian with Pinellas County Cooperative Extension; Jim Yockey, aesthetician at Anu You Institute; John Hehn, foodie & owner of All Brite Lighting & Power Design Inc.; and Bob Devin Jones, artistic director of Studio@620. All foods were tasted blind.

Taste test: Cranberry juice cocktail 11/06/09 [Last modified: Friday, November 6, 2009 3:30am]

    

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