A very popular trend in the beverage world these days is “functional beverages,” that is, drinks that provide some sort of added benefit other than just quenching your thirst. Thus brands are pumping vitamins, nutrients, and other supplemental ingredients into their drinks to differentiate their product lines. In the case of Solixir, their entire product line features the use of “botanicals,” or ingredients derived from plants.
Solixir is based near Chicago, pretty close to BevReview HQ, so they were kind enough to run over some samples for us to review. The line comes in 3 varieties: Orange Mate (Awaken), Pomegranate Ginger (Restore), & Blackberry Chamomile (Relax). They are packaged in 12 oz. slim cans, similar to Red Bull. To me, while the packaging is very sharp and reminds me a lot of the long-gone Jones GABA line, I think the cans created a false early impression that these drinks would taste like a soda. They don’t. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
If viewed as “carbonated water plus some flower stuff,” Solixir fares quite well. And to be honest, that’s pretty much what they are, though they would prefer a description of “Sparkling water. A little juice. Botanicals.” You get the idea.
The “wake me up” flavor, fittingly named Solixir Awaken, comes in a red can and is subtitled with an “Orange Mate” flavor. This is the only Solixir flavor with caffeine, though it also contains ginseng. The drink itself is yellow, which ties in well with the listed orange flavor. However the scent is not citrus at all. It’s like your eyes were expecting Florida, while your nose is reminded of the spices from Christmas. It’s quite the paradox. I can’t say I was much of a fan of this flavor. It tasted bitter and very strong on the cinnamon. Very herbal and grassy overall. It woke me up, alright, but not in a way I expected.
Solixir Awaken (Orange Mate)
Sparkling spring, water, pure juice from white grape and orange juice concentrates, botanical extract blend (yerba mate leaves, asian ginseng root, wood betony leaves, angelica root, turmeric root, ginger root, cinnamon bark, nutmeg seed), natural flavors
A 12 oz can contains 55 calories, 0 mg sodium, and 13 g carbs (12 g sugars). Caffeine content is 2.5 mg/oz. (For comparison, Mountain Dew contains 4.5 mg/oz.)
Moving on to Solixir Restore found in the green can and noted to have a “Pomegranate Ginger” taste. The drink itself is pinkish in color and smells faintly of pomegranate. While it has an herbal taste, noted by the inclusion of not only ginger, but also honeysuckle and elderberry, it was very good. The flavor overall is faint, and I’m not sure it would go well with food. But as a stand-alone beverage, it does provide a burst of refreshment that you won’t find with typical carbonated beverages. It’s light with just enough fruit juice flavor to tease your taste buds.
Solixir Restore (Pomegranate Ginger)
Sparkling spring, water, pure juice from white grape and pomegranate concentrates, botanical extract blend (ginger root, European elderflower, European elderberry, stinging nettle leaf, dandelion root, tontines honeysuckle stem), natural flavors
A 12 oz can contains 60 calories, 0 mg sodium, and 14 g carbs (13 g sugars). Caffeine free.
Finally we have the blue can, which features Solixir Relax and a “Blackberry Chamomile” flavor. So, this is supposed to be the “chill out” beverage of the group, you say? I’m quite a fan of hibiscus in drinks, but was disappointed that it didn’t show up better in this red/purple-colored concoction. There’s no mistaking that blackberry flavoring is present; you’ll notice the smell right away. It’s also a light drink, not overpowering with fruit flavor. In fact, I found this taste just a bit tart, with an aftertaste that faded away into dryness. This was probably my 2nd favorite flavor behind Restore.
Solixir Relax (Blackberry Chamomile)
Sparkling spring, water, pure juice from white grape, blackberry, and lemon concentrates, botanical extract blend (chamomile flower, passion flower herb, lemon balm leaf, jujube berry, hibiscus flower), natural flavors
A 12 oz can contains 50 calories, 10 mg sodium, and 12 g carbs (11 g sugars). Caffeine free.
I’ll say it right now. Solixir isn’t for everyone. Those I’ve shared it with have given me mixed reactions. Some absolutely loved it. Others were wondering about the whole point behind this functional drink line. So understand that it may be an acquired taste experience. If you are into organic and more functional-styled drinks, Solixir is right up your alley. It’s got natural ingredients and a pretty straightforward concept, with functional elements that you may or may not experience. Pretty easy to understand. I really like how they have positioned each of the flavors with a clear purpose and explanation. Maybe it’s just my palette and flavor expectations (Dissenting opinions are welcome in the comments!) However, if you’d like to discover something new, natural, and not loaded with 4 different types of sweeteners (here’s looking at you, Pepsi Next), give Solixir a taste!
Full Disclosure: These beverage were provided compliments of Solixir