Passionate lemonade enthusiast Ben Morrell continues his review series on this popular genre of drinks
Lemonade at its core is sugar, water, and lemon juice. Companies try, fail, and sometimes succeed to come up with a winning combination of those three ingredients to make something people will enjoy and continue to come back to fill their glasses with. One of the biggest names in mass-produced lemonade is Minute Maid. Available in almost all the Coke soda fountains, in vending machines in cans and bottles, and at the grocery store in cartons, it is easy to find… but does that mean it’s worth it? Read on and see if Minute Maid Lemonade has found a winning combination.
Despite the fact that Minute Maid is available in so many different places the branding on the containers seems really inconsistent to me. On the cartons there is a full-sized lemon in some water with a Minute Maid logo, all with a sky behind it. It’s like someone dropped a lemon in a pool on a nice day. On the bottles there are half lemons seemingly floating through the sky with the Minute Maid logo. Your dreams of a perfect lemonade? On the cans the logo is skewed with a half-lemon viewed seemingly from underwater. They do manage to keep it together somewhat with the overall depiction and feel through the themes of black logo, yellow lemons, and blue sky on all the containers. Although in my opinion they could take a note from other lemonade brands and make it more recognizable across all the containers. This could be achieved through an iconic shape, or a redesign and simplification of the overall look that could translate between carton, bottle and can.
When I opened up a container of Minute Maid lemonade my senses (and most likely yours would as well) were greeted by… the smell of the container the lemonade is in. This is probably a good sign the beverage you are about to enjoy is nothing but empty calories. At 260 calories per 20 oz it’s not a “diet” or “light” drink by any means. This is probably fueled by the use of high fructose corn syrup. This drink boasts that it’s “Made with Real Lemons,” but at “3% lemon juice,” the expectations are rather low.
When I finally took a sip of the lemonade my mouth instantly popped with lemon flavor, and that was about it for the drink. The flavor quickly dissipated. When I swallowed I was left with nothing but a sugary watery feel in my throat. I could be wrong, but the quick “pop” seems to be from the citric acid. (I make this assumption based on the way other lemonades, without citric acid, hit the mouth when drinking them. The flavor is more at the back-sides of the tongue as opposed to right at the front of my mouth.)
Despite the fact that this contains “real juice,” it ends up tasting like sugar water. This drink also doesn’t hold up to stronger flavors either. I tried some with food that was mildly spicy and I couldn’t tell if I was drinking anything other than water.
Overall, I am going to say save your money and drink something else. There is no flavor benefit, nor health value, from drinking Minute Maid Lemonade. Drink something more enjoyable… or save the calories and stick to water.
Minute Maid Lemonade
Pure filtered water, high fructose corn syrup, lemon juice from concentrate, less than 0.5% of: natural flavors, citric acid (provides tartness), modified cornstarch, glycerol ester of rosin, sodium benzonate and potassium sorbate (to protect taste), Yellow #5.
A 20 oz. bottle contains 260 calories, 80 mg sodium, and 70 g carbs (67 g sugars). Caffeine free.