After spending several weeks using them heavily, I think it’s time that I write up my final thoughts on the Great Value drink enhancers previously discussed here. Some moved up, some moved down, and I figured out a neat trick.
Neat trick first: for pretty much any of the “fruity” flavors, you can add a bit of the Black Cherry to it. It acts as an en-tartening agent (that’s not a word, but whatever) without messing with the flavor profile too much. It works particularly well with several of the flavors, which I’ll mention below.
Also, a note: the bottles say “24 servings”, but I get a whopping 10 out of them, so apparently my potency is 2.4x what Walmart suggests. Given that I use the enhancers as a replacement for both soft drinks and candy, that’s not too surprising, but your personal tastes may vary based on just how much you squeeze into the glass.
Lemonade: This ended up being the only flavor I actually dumped (well, squeezed) out into the sink after three or four glasses. Country Time lemonade powder just isn’t my thing, and it’s no better in liquid form. It didn’t even last long enough to make it to the Black Cherry mix-in, but I can’t imagine that would have improved it much.
Cherry Limeade (has caffeine): How the mighty hath fallen. This was the flavor that encouraged me to try this whole thing, and to be honest I was surprised by how good it was with my very first glass. The problem: it’s not as good as the rest. Perfectly drinkable, sure, but also noticeably artificial, too strong on the cherry and not strong enough on the lime. I found myself very weak on it by the end. Disappointing, but other surprise flavors have picked up the slack, so it all works out in the end.
Black Cherry (has caffeine): This is a flavor they didn’t have the first time I picked up the drink enhancers. I bought it hoping for something better than Cherry Limeade. It is, but Black Cherry is still not amazing. That is, it’s not amazing by itself. Added to several of the other flavors, it significantly enhances them, at least for a tartness junkie like me.
Orange Blast: New as well. I avoided this one the first time because I’m generally not a fan of artificial orange, but it turns out that this is essentially liquid Tang, and I actually kinda like the flavor of Tang for some reason. I don’t love it, but it’s perfectly fine. It’s not special, though, hence the lowish ranking. A pleasant surprise nevertheless.
Pineapple Mango: Another new flavor. I wavered on where to put this, either C Tier or here, because I have a problem with it: it tastes very mango-y, and I’m not a huge fan of mangoes. I love pineapples, though, and I can’t deny that this particular flavor tastes exactly like fresh pineapple and mango juice. It’s a bit freakish, to be honest. Despite my lack of love of mango, though, I enjoyed every glass of this that I had, which bumped it up to B Tier.
Blue Raspberry: The third and final new flavor. I actually bought this one last; I kept ignoring it, because I consider “blue raspberry” a stupid stunt flavor. That turned out to be silly, because it’s actually quite good. Not mind-blowing, but a perfectly pleasant raspberry flavor. It’s definitely a bit better with Black Cherry added… and also turns a particular shade of purplish blue that I’ve been obsessed with since I was a kid. I freely admit that might bias me.
Strawberry Watermelon: This one moved up the ranks. It still tastes like a Jolly Rancher, but the flavor’s better than I realized that first glass. Don’t bother putting the Black Cherry into it, though; that just makes it taste exactly like Fruit Punch. I mean, I guess you could, rather than buying Fruit Punch separately, but… why?
Strawberry Kiwi: Nothing changed about this flavor, really; it’s still exactly like Crystal Light’s version (or Jell-O, if you have fonder memories of wiggly food than ’90s diet beverages). I just realized I actually really like the taste of strawberry kiwi. A hit of Black Cherry in it improves it even further.
Berry Blast (has caffeine): Still a tasty blueberry/strawberry mix, still very good, still an unfortunate color. (I love purple! I just don’t like drinking it.) Black Cherry boosts this as well, and I’m honestly not sure I’d drink it without a squeeze of Black Cherry now because of how much the tartness enhances it.
Fruit Punch: I realize it might be weird to give Lemonade such a low ranking and this flavor such a high one when they’re both replicating specific, very artificial flavors. Whatever: I loved Fruit Punch Kool-Aid, and I love this. Its only flaw is that it isn’t tart, but hey! That’s what Black Cherry is for. With a bit of that, I’d put Fruit Punch at low S Tier. As is, it’s still delicious.
Raspberry Lemonade: Still the (utterly shocking, to someone who’s not crazy about raspberry) champion. It’s not just me, by the way; everyone I’ve had try it loves it. I dunno what it is about this flavor, but it’s got all the magic necessary to go the distance: tart and fruity in a perfect balance. It’s possibly the only one that is actually made worse with Black Cherry, as that increases its tartness to an almost unpleasant level. No, Raspberry Lemonade is perfect where it is.
So, there you have it: an extensive review nobody wanted. I’ll note that I’m still not brave enough to try the Grape, and I don’t like tea, so the various sweet tea variations are very much Not My Thing. If you’ve tried any of those flavors, feel free to leave a comment as to what you thought. I’d be curious to know!
You might ask: which ones do you plan on keeping around? Well, I bought three more bottles of Raspberry Lemonade today, and I have an unopened Fruit Punch. I think I’ll pick up a Berry Blast, Strawberry Kiwi, and maybe even Pineapple Mango the next time at Walmart… plus more Black Cherry for mixing. In the end, I’ll probably cycle through all the lower-tier flavors that I enjoy… with a whole lot of Raspberry Lemonade betwixt it all. So good. So, so good.