REVIEW: Sprite Zero Cranberry

Sprite Zero CranberryAs one of those rare and socially mysterious individuals who abstains from alcohol for reasons completely unrelated to health, religion, finances, or even just a really overactive bladder, I readily acknowledge I’ve missed out on more than my share of, uh, experiences in life.  Some I don’t feel too badly about, but oftentimes I can’t help but feel a tinge of regret for having never had the chance to drive backwards through the drive-thru at McDonald’s, nor make-out with a mannequin in a department store window.

More than anything else, though, I miss having the pretentious but totally boss ability to pair foods with beer and wine, and then brag about it to everyone I know.

I’ve always suspected I would make a fine sommelier, what with my extensive background testing seasonal McDonald’s pies and limited edition Oreo flavors. In fact, I’ve often imagined myself amongst many a social gatherings, carrying on about how my drink selection perfectly matches the bold and intrepid flavors of whatever dish I’ve slaved over (or at the very least, the frozen pizza I just popped into the oven.)

Come to think of it, what makes alcohol so special that only it can be paired with foods? If you’re going to brag ad nauseam about how your bright, citrusy Chardonnay compliments the diverse selection at the Thanksgiving feast, you’d think those of us still relegated to the kids’ table could do the same with soda.

Sprite Zero Cranberry seems like it would be just that kind of soda. Forget the seasonality of cranberries at holiday parties, the bright, tart, and tangy flavors strikes me as the perfect relief for copious amounts of turkey and stuffing, with that lemony carbonation of Sprite Zero serving as just the stimulant to get those much needed second helping burps going.

Of course, Coca-Cola isn’t the only soda company to reckon just that, which is probably why Sierra Mist has been making a cranberry flavored lemon-line soda for a few years now, and why Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale has been a staple on grocery store shelves each September through December.

Those sodas are good, but they do have flaws. Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash tastes too lime flavored if you ask me, while the cranberry taste gets a little too intense after a single glass. Cranberry is a great flavor and all, but there gets to be a point where it’s too much. Thankfully, Sprite Zero Cranberry doesn’t take it that far.

Sprite Zero Cranberry Label

Appearing identical to your standard glass of Sprite Zero, the essence of cranberry hits you as soon as the cap comes off. It’s a good essence though, and not the kind of essence that involves actually standing out in a cranberry bog with your grandfather. The first taste is floral and sharp, but it quickly gives way to the unmistakable taste of Sprite Zero. For a regular diet soda drinker like me, it’s a taste that comes across as neither overly artificial nor overly lemony (as many store-brand or lesser lemon-lime sodas seem to be.) Bolstering this quality is a distinctively cranberry finish, leaving an endearing, but not overpowering, fruit flavor.

Sprite Zero Cranberry with cranberries

It’s very good, and pairs wonderfully with a hearty turkey sandwich. The deficits are minor; the cranberry flavor could be bolder (like you’d find in a cranberry juice) and the soda could also convey some element of lip-puckering tartness. I mention that with some caution, however, as the attempts to replicate authentic fruit flavors in diet sodas often turn out maddeningly artificial. And maddeningly artificial gives me headaches, especially when it comes to having to endure an hour at the kids’ table while I attempt to instruct little Patrick that no, in fact, the turkey leg cannot be used as a weapon. In any case, those looking for an extra cranberry tartness should do as I did and dump dried cranberries into the fizz.

Sprite Zero Cranberry isn’t quite the fruit-filled cranberry hit that Sierra Mist Diet Cranberry Splash is, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Lighter, with that distinct Sprite bite that’s sandwiched between an enjoyable cranberry essence, it doesn’t become artificially cloying or saccharine as quickly, and yields instead to the similarly non-overpowering lemon-lime flavor of Sprite Zero.

Overall, I actually enjoyed it more than the potent Sierra Mist Diet Cranberry Splash, a fact which, among other things, will likely leave me with more pours and conversation to impress upon my nine-year old cousins at the Thanksgiving kids’ table. Whether or not it can save me from getting a turkey leg thrown at me is another question still yet to be determined.

(Nutrition Facts – 0 calories, 0 calories from fat, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 45 milligrams of sodium, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 grams of carbohydrates, 0 gram of dietary fiber, 0 grams of sugars, and 0 grams of protein.)

Item: Sprite Zero Cranberry
Purchased Price: $1.99
Size: 2 liters
Purchased at: Safeway
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Non-diet tasting diet soda. Cranberry taste is floral and slightly spicy, with a smooth, non-artificial finish. Doesn’t taste as saccharine or lime flavored as Diet Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, and has a better carbonated bite. Equality in beverage and food pairings. Pairs well with turkey sandwiches.
Cons: Lacks over the top cranberry flavor and sweetness that cranberry sauce has. Not as tart as actual cranberry juice. May lead to excessive burping. Getting hit with a turkey leg at the kids’ table during Thanksgiving.

16 thoughts to “REVIEW: Sprite Zero Cranberry”

  1. I was so excited to see you were reviewing this, because I heard it was being introduced into stores soon, but so far, the only place I’ve seen it is at Target in 12-pack cans, but I surely hope it will be available elsewhere around me, soon!

  2. I’m admittedly a Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash addict, but I was excited to see Sprite had announced their own version. I love Sprite way more than Sierra Mist when it comes to the regular versions, so I wanted to see of the same would ring true for the cranberry versions as well.

    But it definitely did not. Sprite Cranberry was okay, but it just didn’t have the same kind of kick I love from Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. And after a while it didn’t really taste like cranberry at all (it kinda started to remind of those Sprite Remixes they had like a decade ago). So I guess my Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash addiction lives on.

  3. I never knew Canada Dry Cranberry was seasonal in some places–it’s been around all the time for a few years where I live (and is most delicious and makes a great mixer for rum or vodka).

  4. I love this product and have been searching for it in the 12 packs which is how i first found it I reaaly would love to be able to buy it that way please bring it back in 12 packs please please

  5. please put it back in 12 packd i love this product and have driven in a 50 mile radious of my home trying to find it and I like it in a can rather than in a 2 liter please please

  6. I bought this at Kroger (Fry’s). About three weeks ago, love it! Cannot find it now, anywhere. I can find the non diet, but I want the diet. What happened to it? I would love it in cans.

    1. My sister, who is diabetic and loves this stuff, was told that it is seasonal. I am assuming that means fall season since she states she can’t find it anywhere and asked me to look around.

  7. Sorry. I’ve only had the sugared version but NOBODY knows what I’m talking about….no one else has seen nor tasted it & get quiet then change the subject when I try to describe it.We stumbled upon this the night before Thanksgiving & took a chance. We grabbed a cherry 7-up as the old standby but opened this one first. I had trouble remembering to eat & not screaming at anyone wanting a refill, “no! It is MINE!” Later, it was gone & c7u was opened, it was bland and unappealing in such a close recall of Sprite Cranberry. Haven’t seen it since. I hope to find it today to take to a potluck party tonight!

  8. I adore Sprite Zero Cranberry. I would love to find it on the shelves in my town. No one here is selling it. It’s one of the best drink I’ve found since diet coke. Please send more of them to South Georgia area.

  9. Please, please, PLEASE don’t keep Sprite Zero Cranberry a seasonal drink. I LOVE IT !!!! Most diet drinks get blah after a while but I could drink Sprite Zero Cranberry everyday ALL day.

  10. I will buy as many 12 packs as is necessary to keep this drink year round. it is my favorite drink i’ve ever had. Please bring it back

  11. Count me in as a fan. I have five cans of Sprite Zero Cranberry left, so I went to get another case from Kroger a week later, but they didn’t have it anymore. You gave a perfect description of the flavor.

  12. If I had known it would not be available after one 12 pack I would have bought at least 20 12 packs, probably more because my family and friends never got a chance to taste it. I do not care for
    Sprite. If that is all they have at a restaurant I get root beer or ice tea. At the coeur d’alene casino they only have the sprite so i put a touch of orange of orange or root beer into it. I had to try the cranberry sprite. It needs to stay! Please deliver it to all of the stores in Spokane, Washington! Our household only drinks coke products. My husband drinks coke. BUT, I drink coke zero or 7-up. Sprite does not measure up to the 7 up. Cranberry sprite does!!! So bring on the cranberry sprite and I will not buy 7 up anymore. I can guarantee that all of my family and friends will also.

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