Passionate lemonade enthusiast Ben Morrell shares a guest review with this popular genre of drinks
When someone says the phrase "comfort food," this generally brings to mind thoughts of things like macaroni & cheese, pot roast, or spaghetti & meatballs. All hot foods that make you feel good. While lemonade is not hot, this is a comfort beverage that is generally consumed in the heat. There's something comforting about getting out from the hot summer sun and enjoying a long drink of the lightly sugared lemon drink that cools and refreshes the whole body. Finding the perfect glass of lemonade however can be fairly elusive. Too acidic, too much sugar, not enough lemon, too much lemon; it's a fairly difficult balancing act. I'm going to take a look at Simply Lemonade and see if they come anywhere close to a perfect glass of lemonade… or miss the mark entirely.
Simply Lemonade is a brand of the The Simply Orange Juice Company, which is part of The Coca-Cola Company. The first thing you can't help but notice are the many bottle sizes. They start with the 13.5 oz "travel size," work up to the popular 59 oz, and finally cap out with the jug-like 89 oz. The small size is something you can easily fit in a lunch sack and somewhat mocks the larger 59 oz shape. A funny note here on pricing: The small size can generally be found for about $2.50 a bottle, the medium size anywhere from $3-5 dollars and most of the time the "jug" size can be found for about $5-7 dollars — at least as experience from a local sampling of grocery stores in the Houston area. So if you're looking to save money, go for the larger size for sure, but then again, the point of this review is to see if it's worth even buying in general.
All of the bottles let the color of the lemonade show through: it is a vibrant pale yellow that doesn't contain any artificial colors. The labeling has a white background with a picture of a large lemon on it. Lettering is in a black frilly font, spelling "Simply Lemonade" on the front with the phrase "all natural" in yellow across the top. The screw-on top is a nice solid green shade, reminiscent of the color of lemon tree leaves.
Looking at the contents on the back of the bottle solidifies what they say on the front about "all natural." Containing only "pure filtered water, natural sugar, lemon juice, natural flavors," this lemonade is also 11% actual lemon juice. (From my personal experience most lemonades stay in the 7 to 10 percent range). So right from the onset, Simply Lemonade is setting the bar fairly high. They don't hide their product behind colored plastic, they claim all natural ingredients, and you can only find it in the refrigerated sections (thus implying it'll go bad otherwise). An 8 oz. serving contains 120 calories, 15 mg sodium, and 30 g carbs (28 g sugars).
Let's pop the seal and see if it delivers on its promises!
The green cap is held in place with a green sticker that reminds you to "Shake Well," and once the green screw cap is removed there is a foil cap under that that needs to be peeled away. Once that is removed a faint hint of sweet lemon comes from the top. Pouring out the first few glasses provides a nice satisfying "glug" sound due to the concave nature of the neck of the bottle.
Simply Lemonade delivers on its claims: the lemon flavor here is strong, but at the same time (because of the natural sugar?) it isn't followed by a sickeningly sweet aftertaste. Another thing that amazes me is that it's not as acidic as I was expecting for 11% lemon juice. I've had lemonade that is 7% lemon juice that feels like a kick in the mouth. The "tart" flavor is held back very well and in fact it's one of the first times I have actually been able to refer to the more "fruity" nature of a lemon. It has a very clean finish due to the natural sugars and the taste is very smooth overall. This drink is almost the personification of "refreshing" in my book. They seem to have worked hard to perfect a lemonade recipe and it shows.
If you have been gun-shy about poorly made lemonade or it being too tart or acidic, I'd suggest giving Simply Lemonade a try. Its bottles don't hide the goodness they have managed to create and it might change the way you think about lemonade.