Back in May, Pepsi announced many new beverages in their lineup. These included Diet Pepsi Jazz Black Cherry French Vanilla and Diet Pepsi Jazz Strawberries & Cream, along with a new holiday entry: Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash.
While I continue to mourn the disappearance of 2004's Pepsi Holiday Spice (a personal favorite), I applaud Pepsi for again trying something in the "mainstream flavor with a seasonal modification" category. The packaging of the drink defines this as "lemon-lime soda with a splash of cranberry," though it should be noted that Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash contains no actual juice.
Personally, I've never been a big fan of Sierra Mist. I have always felt that Pepsi's previous lemon-lime drink, Slice, was superior in flavor. (Sierra Mist Free is even worse). As too much caffeine tends to keep me up at night, I've always on the lookout for a good caffeine free beverage when given the opportunity to have a soft drink. Typically, the leaves you with Sprite (blah, expect for the 3 Remix flavors — Tropical, Berryclear, and Aruba Jam — no longer available), 7Up (which was good until they ruined it), or some other non-cola option (which tends to be rare). If given the option, my favorite caffeine free drink is Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale, which you typically can only find in 2-liter bottles. All that to say that I was very interested in seeing what Cranberry Splash tasted like, but I was skeptical due to the Sierra Mist base.
So, my thoughts? Overall, I'm impressed.
The coloring of the drink is pretty much what you'd expect to find with a cherry beverage, such as you'd see with 7Up Plus Cherry, Cherry 7Up, Fanta Strawberry, or ever something like Door County Cherry Cider Cooler. It's a light red, typical of a non-cola derivative. Cranberry Splash is packaged in the same type of bottle that is used for both Pepsi and Sierra Mist. Upon opening the bottle, a pleasant aroma awaits you, similar to what you may encounter with a fresh batch of Kool-Aid. It's strong, but relaxing.
The flavor itself has some bitterness, which I would tend to associate with the cranberry flavor. It was better than Jones Soda's Halloween 2006 entry, Creepy Cranberry Soda. The drink starts out well, with a cherry flavor, with the aftertaste sharing a more pronounced cranberry/lemon-lime combination. Overall, the drink feels "light", and really did remind me quite a bit of Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale. Heck, I think I liked this drink better than normal Sierra Mist, which is saying a lot. I would imagine that this probably would go well with food, or more likely, probably a good mixer for alcoholic beverage drinking folks.
I'd recommend trying Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. What's interesting is that in all the marketing, this drink is pitched as a limited time thing. However, unlike other seasonal flavors previously offered by Pepsi (such as Pepsi Holiday Spice, the first-run of Mountain Dew LiveWire, Mountain Dew Pitch Black, and Mountain Dew Pitch Black II), Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash has no reference to "limited time" or "limited edition" on the actual labeling. In fact, there's no "holiday" element at all on the package. One wonders if Pepsi has plans for this drink beyond the holidays.
Finally, should you hop over to the Sierra Mist official website, you'll find that they have built a small section for Cranberry Splash, including drink recipes you can make with the beverage in downloadable PDF format. Given that these probably won't be online forever, I've included the PDF here (see if you can find Pepsi's typo!), as well as provided the recipes below. You can chuckle at the fact that they all include Pepsi-owned products. Enjoy!
Created by those little red scamps the Cranberry Elves, these cranberry recipes are sure to become holiday favorites. You could say we're "juicing up" you holidays. But we wouldn't recommend it.
Cranberry Vanilla Smoothee
12 oz. Sierra Mist® Cranberry Splash™, 3 cups ice, 2 tbsp vanilla ice cream, 2 tbsp vanilla yogurt, splash of white cranberry juice – mix in blender. Makes 3 servings
Cranberry Energy Spritzer
3 parts Sierra Mist® Cranberry Splash™, 1 part Tropicana® Orange Juice, 1 part SoBe® A-Rush
1 part Sierra Mist® Cranberry Splash™, 4 parts Tropicana® Orange Juice
Sierra Mist® Cranberry Splash™, splash of grenadine, splash of cranberry juice
3 parts Sierra Mist® Cranberry Splash™, 2 parts Dole® Sparklers™ Pomegranate/Blueberry