REVIEW: V8 Healthy Greens Veggie Blends

V8 Veggie Blend Healthy Greens

When poured into a glass, V8’s Healthy Greens Vegetable and Fruit Juice Beverage looks like I’m using that glass to shovel out water from an unkept backyard swimming pool. It doesn’t look very appetizing, but…now at this point, because I typed “but” after a negative comment, you might think I’m about to say something positive. Maybe say, “but it brings immense pleasure to the thousands of taste buds on my tongue.”

But I’m not going to say that.

It doesn’t look very appetizing, but it’s what I expected for a juice called “Healthy Greens” that contains spinach puree, yellow carrot juice concentrate, cucumber juice concentrate, celery juice concentrate, kale juice, romaine lettuce juice, and green bell pepper juice. But it’s not all vegetables. To prevent the juice from becoming completely gag-alicious, there are also apple and pineapple juices.

Now some of you might think I’m being an unappetizing green beverage hater, but I assure you I’m not. I’m a big fan of Odwalla’s Superfood Smoothie that has kale, spirulina, wheat grass, barley grass, wheat sprouts, Jerusalem artichoke, and Nova Scotia dulse. And it looks like pond scum.

So what does this V8 vegetable and fruit juice that doesn’t have eight vegetables taste like?

V8 Veggie Blend Healthy Greens Closeup

Its flavor reminded me of Campbell’s Vegetable soup, but cold and not as salty. It smelled tomatoey, even though there’s no tomatoes. It’s a bit sweet due to the apple and pineapple juice, but the vegetable flavor is dominant. I know that’s a bit gross, but the thing is, I didn’t feel compelled to spit it out.

Actually, the first sip was the worst, because I wasn’t sure what flavors were going to hit my tongue. And I got used to it after a few more sips. It’s the same reactions I had when I tasted the Odwalla Superfood Smoothie for the first time.

However, V8’s Healthy Greens juice is not anywhere close to being as tasty as an Odwalla Superfood Smoothie. But that’s understandable since the smoothie has more than twice the amount of sugar than the V8 juice.

It doesn’t bring immense pleasure to the thousands of taste buds on my tongue, but it tastes okay enough that I don’t mind drinking it in order to get a serving of vegetables.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 ounces – 60 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70 milligrams of sodium, 320 milligrams of potassium, 14 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 11 grams of sugar, 1 gram of protein, 20% vitamin A, 2% calcium, 100% vitamin C, 20% vitamin E, and 2% iron.)

Item: V8 Healthy Greens Veggie Blends
Purchased Price: $1.79 (sale price)
Size: 46 fl. oz.
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: Not gross enough to make me spit it out. A serving of veggie per 8 ounces. Provide 100% of your vitamin C. No added sugar. No artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives.
Cons: Looks like algae infested swimming pool water. Doesn’t have eight vegetables. Should’ve been a little bit more sweeter. Since it just juice, there isn’t a lot of fiber. Learning romaine lettuce juice is a thing.

REVIEW: Fairlife Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk

Fairlife Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk

Fairlife Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk has 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium, and 50 percent less sugar than regular reduced fat chocolate milk. It has no lactose, it’s been ultra-filtered, and comes from cows that are not treated with rBST. The cows that produce Fairlife milk listen to classical music all day, receive daily massages, go to cow hot yoga classes twice a day, are read bedtime stories, eat grass from silver troughs, and have the sound of crashing waves play while they sleep.

Actually, that last sentence I’m not sure about.

According to the bottle, the producers of Fairlife milk provide “extraordinary care for our cows.” I don’t know what that means, so I just assumed they are treated better than the wagyu cattle used to make Kobe beef.

Speaking of producers, if you think this milk comes from some farm in the middle of Indiana, you’d be wrong. It’s comes from some farm in the northwestern part of Indiana. Also, it’s distributed by some small beverage company that you’ve probably never heard of. I believe their name is Coca-Cola.

So how does this milk have more protein and calcium and less sugar than regular chocolate milk? You could watch this video that’ll explain it with cute animation. Or you could read the following boring words: ultra-filtering involves separating the different parts of the milk and then recombining them, but including more of the protein and calcium and leaving out the sugars.

Fairlife Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk smells and looks like every other chocolate milk on the market. It also has a nice thickness, thanks to the added carrageenan. Its flavor is mostly similar to other reduced fat chocolate milks, but it has a different aftertaste. It’s probably because of the added ace-K and sucralose sweeteners (sugar is also added), but I should make clear that the difference in flavor isn’t as dramatic as regular cola and diet cola. The aftertaste is not a deal breaker for me and my diet soda drinking taste buds, but I can see how it might be an issue for others.

Another issue others might have is the milk’s price. Fairlife is being marketed as a premium milk, so it has a premium price. A half-gallon…oh wait. A 52-ounce bottle retails for $3.99, which is more expensive than the average price for a gallon of whole milk, which I obtained from the United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics website.

You’re probably thinking, “Holy crap! That is some expensive milk.” And it’s probably being followed by, “Holy crap! You did actual research for this review.”

Fairlife’s Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk is pricey, contains artificial sweeteners, goes through an unfamiliar filtering process, and is distributed by one of the world’s largest beverage companies, but I really like it. I think it has a surprisingly nice flavor for something that has artificial sweeteners, I’m all for more protein and calcium, and the price doesn’t bother me too much because of what it offers over regular milk.

Dairy milk hasn’t changed much over the years. It’s the same milk that did the body good when I was growing up. That milk is still fine, but I like having the option for “super” milk that does the body better.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 140 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 20 milligrams of cholesterol, 280 milligrams of sodium, 13 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 12 grams of sugar, 13 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 40% calcium, and 25% vitamin D.)

Item: Fairlife Chocolate Reduced Fat Milk
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 52 oz. bottle
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Tastes like chocolate milk. Surprisingly good flavor for something that has artificial sweeteners. 50 percent more protein, 30 percent more calcium, and 50 percent less sugar than regular reduced fat chocolate milk.
Cons: Pricey. Contains artificial sweeteners. Slightly off aftertaste. Not sure what “extraordinary care for our cows” mean.

REVIEW: Vitaminwater Zero Drops Revive Fruit Punch

VitaminWater Zero Revive Drops

Finally, a drink that combines two of my favorite things: a Vitaminwater brand beverage and the toil and satisfaction of making something with my own two hands. Enter Vitaminwater Zero Drops. With only a few effortless squeezes, you can enjoy the familiar taste of Vitaminwater right out of any glass of water or water bottle you have lying around.

In what could only have been a response to the general public demanding an additional step in the Vitaminwater drinking process (which was just too goddamn simple before), you can now forgo the accuracy of a formula created by food scientists and received positively by millions in favor of what you think should be done. That’s right, you.

Remember when you forgot your keys yesterday, walked into your house to get them, blanked for a second, ate some pretzels you had lying around, and left your house without your keys? Yeah, well now the creation of your own Vitaminwater can be in those same hands.

VitaminWater Zero Revive Drops with regular Revive

With the pressure on, I decided to try the Revive Fruit Punch flavor. Being a longtime fan of the bottled version, I was wondering how close the two would be in taste. Unfortunately, my local Stop & Shop only had the full calorie version of Revive, apparently unconcerned with what Google tells me will take a 30 minute walk to burn off, so it will have to do.

Because Vitaminwater Zero Drops offer little detailed instruction on how much concentrated fluid to add, my strategy was to slowly keep adding it into a glass of water until it matched the color of bottled version. After a few tries, I matched the same reddish pink tone as closely as I think is possible.

VitaminWater Zero Revive Drops comparison

Had I any last minute doubts which was which, the taste comparison would have revealed which one was made by a Glacéau bottling plant and which one was made on my living room table. While the Vitaminwater Zero Drops were able to create that distinct and pleasing Vitaminwater taste that is much lighter and less sweet than its sports drink and soda competition, it is definitely apparent that something is…well, off.

But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s like eating cereal dry because you’ve already poured it into a bowl before realizing that you’re out of milk. Even without milk, cereal is still pretty good, but, just like any type of make-it-yourself beverage, it’s still gonna taste just a little bit different. Despite the clear presence of that original fruit punch tastiness, it’s still hard to shake the feeling that something is definitely missing, and not in the regular zero-calorie way.

But you know, maybe the problem is just me. Try as I might, I will never be as accurate as the industrial robots that pump this stuff out in gallons per minute. Not really helping this issue however, is the fact that Vitaminwater Zero Drops use the word “drops” pretty lightly. Instead, its a laser beam of concentrated flavor firing at an incalculable rate into your water. (Be thankful Glacéau doesn’t make eye drops). So, until you are a veteran at administering Vitaminwater drops (which I have set as my next life-goal) you are going to have to get pretty familiar with administering intermittent taste tests after each squirt. But don’t worry, this isn’t really a problem unless you purchased Vitaminwater Zero Drops because you were hoping for a fast, convenient way to effortlessly enjoy Vitaminwater on the go.

But all in all, at least the “do it yourself” aspect of this product allows you the opportunity to finally connect with your grandfather the next time he reminds you he built his own damn house using only his “pull yourself up by your own bootstraps” mentality, and his subtle yet still uncomfortably palpable racism. Vitaminwater Zero Drops may require some elbow grease, but if for some reason you plan on being away from actual Vitaminwater for a while, it’s certainly the next best thing.

(Nutrition Facts – 8 fl oz prepared – 0 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 70mg potassium 0 milligrams of sodium, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of
protein.)

Item: Vitaminwater Zero Drops Revive Fruit Punch
Purchased Price: $3.99
Size: 3 fl oz.
Purchased at: Stop & Shop
Rating: 6 out of 10
Pros: 18 servings of vitamin water for only four bucks. Stays mostly true to fruit punch flavor. Zero calories is not a lot of calories.
Cons: Not as effortless as it may appear. Forgetting your keys. Tastes mildly off from the original flavor.

REVIEW: Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink (Canada)

Mott's Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink

Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink is the worst thing I’ve ever had. Note that I didn’t say that it’s the worst alcoholic drink I’ve ever had. Or even the worst beverage I’ve ever had. It’s so much worse than that. It is the worst thing I’ve ever ingested — and as a kid I ate an entire sample-sized tube of toothpaste on a dare.

Yes, eating toothpaste straight from the tube is better than this.

I honestly don’t even know how to describe the flavour. It’s piercing and relentless. It is a dentist’s drill, screaming into your taste buds, forever changing you. Haunting you.

It starts with a base of the worst tomato juice you can imagine. I guess that’s just Clamato — however, I felt compelled to try Clamato on its own for the purposes of this review, and it wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t good, certainly, but at least I could drink it without triggering my gag reflex.

The ingredient list contains both onion and garlic as well as onion powder and garlic powder. This is stuff that can be quite tasty in other contexts, but here it seems laser-honed to make this drink as astringently foul as humanly possible.

Worst of all is the face-slappingly aggressive fake bacon flavour. You don’t notice it right away, but then it comes in hard and fast, lingering on your palate long after it has worn out its welcome. If you’ve tried one of those fake bacon products that were all the rage a couple of years back (bacon salt, bacon mayo, etc.) then you basically know what to expect — only multiplied ten-fold. This is extra strength fake bacon flavour. It is in your face and out of control. It will make you wonder why you like bacon in the first place.

Mott's Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink Closeup

I will say that the other flavours here (the disgusting ones) are so powerful that you can barely even tell you’re drinking alcohol until the buzz starts setting in. I’m sure the vodka adds some additional bitterness, but it’s so thoroughly masked by everything else that you’d have a hard time placing it. So if you’re the type of person who doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, well… Nope, I can’t finish that sentence. Even if you dislike alcohol, you’ll dislike this more. Because it is the worst.

I don’t think I’ve adequately described the horrors of this drink. I don’t have the words. Each sip was seemingly worse than the last. I knew that, for the purposes of the review, I needed to take at least one big swig rather than the tentative sips that it otherwise demanded. The prospect of this terrified me. No good could come of it. Eventually, I gathered up my courage and took a big, hearty gulp; it was like an assault. I let out a primal, guttural groan. I wanted to pass out from the awfulness.

Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink filled me with a kind of existential dread; if a mass-market product this horrible can exist, what does it all mean? What’s the point of even getting up in the morning if a big company like Mott’s can inflict something so odious on the public with such shocking ease? A product this bad is criminal. I demand public trials and jail sentences.

I will admit that I’m not a big Caesar guy, but I had a couple of other people try it as well (because misery loves company), including one person who has Caesars semi-regularly. Both agreed it was the worst. One person decried that his taste buds were forever ruined; the other took one swig, shook his head with a very declarative “No,” and dumped the rest down the sink.

The issue of how best to remove that taste from our mouths was discussed. We all agreed that a thorough toothbrushing followed by mouthwash was probably the best course of action. Even then, the taste lingered. It’s gone now, but the memory remains. I will carry it with me for as long as I live. I will never forget.

(Nutrition Facts – Not available on can.)

Item: Mott’s Clamato Caesar Bacon Vodka Drink
Purchased Price: $2.80 CAN
Size: 458 ml can
Purchased at: LCBO
Rating: 0 out of 10
Pros: It is so unspeakably awful it will give you an added appreciation for everything else in your life; after all, no matter how bad things are, you could be drinking this drink.
Cons: Horrible aftertaste. Horrible duringtaste. Horrible everythingtaste. If there is a hell, this is all they serve there. If the worst pain you’ve ever experienced — emotional or physical — could be distilled into a flavour, it would taste like this.

REVIEW: International Delight Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Iced Coffee

International Delight Hershey's Cookies 'n' Cream Iced Coffee

If you were to hack into the databases that contain my Safeway and Target purchases, you’d know I buy a lot of International Delight Iced Coffee…and Pepto Bismol. However, because I buy IDIC regularly (yes, I’m too lazy to type its name out, but not lazy enough to type an aside that says I’m too lazy to type its name out), I’ve gotten a little tired of the flavors they have — original, mocha, vanilla, and caramel macchiato.

The overcaffienated folks at International Delight (ID) have a long history of teaming up with other brands to make a variety of coffee creamers that’ll make any burnt office coffee (Except yours, Brad!) taste so much better, like Almond Joy, Cinnabon, Heath, York Peppermint Patty, Cold Stone Creamery, and Hershey’s. And now the jittery employees at ID have done the same with their iced coffee, creating International Delight Cold Stone Creamery Sweet Cream Iced Coffee and Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Iced Coffee.

The latter combines iced coffee with the flavor of Hershey’s I-Want-To-Say-They’re-Popular-But-I’ve-Never-Seen-Anyone-Buy-Them Cookies ’n’ Creme candy bar. If you’re one of those people who has never purchased a Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme bar, it’s made with white chocolate and tiny chocolate cookie balls. Although I’ve never seen anyone else buy it, I do purchase it on occasion and prefer it over a regular milk chocolate Hershey’s bar because of its flavor and it’s like a bizarro Nestle Crunch bar.

In previous IDIC reviews, I mentioned how the coffee flavor is heavily masked by the cream, sugar, and flavoring, but it’s somewhat noticeable. Well, with International Delight’s Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme Iced Coffee it’s almost nonexistent, getting lost within the chocolate cookie balls flavoring. This causes the creamy beverage to taste more like a cookies ’n’ creme-flavored milk. This will be a problem for those who enjoy the flavor of coffee, but it appears it hasn’t been an issue for me because I’ve purchased three cartons so far. Actually, I don’t know if it’s because I’m tired of the other flavors, but this flavor is now my favorite.

What I like most about International Delight’s Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme Iced Coffee is how they nailed the flavor of the chocolate cookie balls from the candy bar. It’s as if they went the cereal milk route and dumped a bunch of chocolate cookie balls into an iced coffee with a lot of milk and then strained the liquid. The creme doesn’t taste like white chocolate, which is a good thing because I don’t think white chocolate milk would be pleasing.

International Delight’s Hershey’s Cookies ’n’ Creme Iced Coffee is creamy and thick (Thanks cream and carrageenan!) and has a unique flavor that makes it taste like a fancy chocolate milk. A caffeinated fancy chocolate milk, I might add (76 milligrams of caffeine per cup). I’ll definitely be purchasing more with my Pepto Bismol.

(Nutrition Facts – 1 cup – 150 calories, 25 calories from fat, 2.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 10 milligrams of cholesterol, 105 milligrams of sodium, 29 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 23 grams of sugar, 3 grams of protein, and 15% calcium..)

Item: International Delight Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Cream Iced Coffee
Purchased Price: $4.99 (on sale)
Size: Half gallon
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: My favorite International Delight Iced Coffee flavor. International Delight nailed the chocolatey cookie flavor and it’s the most dominant flavor. Thick and creamy (Thanks cream and carrageenan). If it’s like their other flavors, it has 76 milligrams of sweet, sweet caffeine. Getting to type “chocolate cookie balls” several times in a review.
Cons: Drink something else or add more coffee to this if you love the flavor of coffee, because it’s like drinking Hershey’s Cookies ‘n’ Creme milk. Still no caffeine content listed on carton.