You know that holiday season is right around the corner when Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash reappears on the store shelves. This limited time offering first appeared in 2006 and has returned every fall/winter since, adding a diet version in 2007, returned again in 2008, gained a newly designed label in 2009, and for 2010, the addition of real sugar. Let's take a look at this new version of Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash!
The new Cranberry Splash is part of the reboot of Sierra Mist into Sierra Mist Natural. While not taking on the "Natural" name, Cranberry Splash is now being positioned as "Naturally Sweetened" and "Made with Real Sugar", while assuming the branding and redesign of Sierra Mist Natural. The drink has seemingly been a success for Pepsi, noted by its return year after year. Even the folks at Dr Pepper Snapple Group have tried to get in on the "cherryish carbonated beverage that also works well as a mixer" game with Pomegranate 7Up, which has also returned seasonally.
Personally, I've never been a fan of the flavor of flagship Sierra Mist… but I absolutely love Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. I wondered how the flavor would change with the shift in sweeteners from high fructose corn syrup to most likely a cane/beet sugar combination ("Real Sugar" is never really defined on the bottle, but this is what Pepsi confirms that they use in their Throwback products under the same branding).
Well, I'm not disappointed. If nothing else, I think the drink has actually improved. There is still that sweet, bitter flavor that you associate with cranberries. But to be honest, in the previous iterations of this drink, it was more like a "red, cherry-ish" flavor. The addition of sugar really helps that cranberry taste punch out! The flavor profile is far more distinctive now. Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash still has the uniquely "light" flavor that reminds me of one of my other holiday favorites, Schweppes Raspberry Ginger Ale.
It's clean, it's flavorful, it's good.
Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash
Carbonated water, sugar, natural flavor, citric acid, tartaric acid, malic acid, potassium benzoate (preserves freshness), potassium citrate, Red 40, calcium disodium EDTA (to protect flavor), Blue 1
A 20 oz. bottle contains 260 calories, 60 mg of sodium, and 67 g of carbs (67 g sugars). This drink is caffeine free and contains no juice.
As far as Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash is concerned, it's still available. Additionally, Walton Beverage Co's distributor website notes that "Diet Sierra Mist and Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash will be restaged with great new graphics but will not be converting to Natural until 2011."