Last year, Jarritos rolled out 3 new flavors. The first was a Mexican Cola, which we’ve previously reviewed. They also introduced a “diet” line for the first time, consisting of 2 flavors. Let’s take a sip of Jarritos Light Mandarin.
The new “Light” line contains zero calories and no sugar thanks to the use of sucralose and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K). Besides Mandarin, the popular Tamarind flavor is represented in this new sugar-free lineup.
Bottle design is the same as other Jarritos products, with Light Mandarin being available in 12.5 oz glass bottles, as well as 1.5 L plastic sizes. The Jarritos logo now features a large callout for “Light” underneath, which stands out, but doesn’t compete with the overall look/feel of the product line. Like other Jarritos products, our glass bottle features the textured word “Jarritos” at the bottom of the neck, with a pattern continuing up. The label is a clear sticker affixed to the front and back of the bottle.
Light Mandarin is a bright orange color and can pretty much be considered Jarritos’ “orange” option. We’re big fans of the original flavor (though Jones Soda Mandarin Orange does give it a strong run for my money).
Remove the bottle cap and the scent isn’t a predicable orange. It’s more bitter, and not exactly authentic. In some ways, a whiff seems medicinal. As for the taste itself, there’s no mistaking that this is a diet beverage. Usually, you can do a pretty good job masking artificial sweeteners in an orange soda (see Sunkist Ten). That doesn’t seem the case here with Jarritos Light Mandarin. It just doesn’t taste like the Jarritos you expect; it tastes rather chemical. The drink starts out encouraging with an orange flavor, but right away you are greeted with the artificial sweeteners, which last right into the aftertaste. Very disappointing.
While we applaud Jarritos for jumping into lower-calorie options, it seems the formula used on Mandarin Light could use some tweaking. Look elsewhere for your diet orange desires.
Jarritos Light Mandarin
Carbonated water (water, carbon dioxide), natural flavor, citric acid, sodium benzoate (as preservative), modified food starch, sucralose, potassium acesulfame, Yellow 6, Red 40
A 12.5 oz bottle contains 0 calories, 25 mg sodium, and 0 g carbs (0 g sugars). Caffeine free.