REVIEW: Sparkling Ice Starburst Flavors

Who among us hasn’t been sitting around eating a fistful of Starburst when the thought suddenly occurred — “This candy is great and all, but what I’d really like to be doing is drinking it”? Well, friends, the good people at Sparkling Ice have read your mind (don’t ask why they were there to begin with; you don’t want to know) and are here with a solution: new Starburst-flavored Sparkling Ice.

If you don’t know Sparkling Ice, it is the primary product offering from Washington State’s Talking Rain beverage company, which started in 1987 and had roughly $500 million in retail sales in 2019. (I couldn’t find more recent sales figures; its website DOES have an extensive FAQ section, however, with real think pieces like, “Why did strawberry kiwi turn pink?” “Is the color safe?” “Is Sparkling Ice vegan?” and “Is it normal to have sediment floating in my Sparkling Ice?”)

And if you don’t know Starburst… that’s just weird.

So, does the low-calorie drink accurately capture its chewy sugar cube inspiration? As an avid fan of regular Sparkling Ice products, I was eager to find out.


This was the first one I had, and it was the worst. The taste was somewhere between “citrus aspirin” and an orange-Flintstone vitamin that’d been dusted with a heaping of artificial sweetener. The very first part of the drink made me go, “Hey, this tastes like an orange Starburst,” but everything after made me want to rinse my mouth out with paint thinner. Here’s the deal with artificial sweetener — I have no issue with it. Regular Sparkling Ice has it, and I’m a staunchly Zero/Diet guy when it comes to soda. But this was SO bad that it reminded me of being young and first trying Diet Coke, back when it just tasted like poison to a palate honed on only the finest real sugar cane (or, you know, high fructose corn syrup). In any case, I had no desire to drink more than two sips of this.


Though my first thought when I poured this one into the glass was, “Welp, this looks a little like urine,” I had it immediately after Orange, so, you know, there was nowhere to go but up. It managed to taste like its namesake flavor all the way through and had a fraction of the Sucralose taste, which earned it a second-place finish overall.


It tasted like a cherry Starburst, but it also managed to fall somewhere in the middle of the prior two in terms of the artificial sweetener taste. I also caught subtle cough syrup notes, which didn’t help my enjoyment. (Come to think of it, the actual cherry Starbursts sort of have that medicinal taste, too. So they really nailed the flavor on this one.)


Everyone knows that the pink Starburst is the best Starburst, case closed. (Out of the original flavors, that is. Tropical and Baja varieties really muck up the overall rankings with their deliciousness.) This, too, was the best Starburst Sparkling Ice. It captured the candy’s essence well but was once again marred by the sweetener. While it didn’t reach Orange levels of intolerability, it was still more noticeable than the Lemon kind.

In the end, I was surprised by how much I disliked these. The heavy application of Sucralose kept them from being anything I’d feel the need to purchase again. I’ll stick with regular Sparkling Ices and pilfer the Starburst two-packs from my daughter’s Halloween candy.

Purchased Price: $1.19 (each)
Size: 17 oz bottles
Purchased at: Target
Rating: 1 out of 10 (Orange), 3 out of 10 (Lemon), 4 out of 10 (Cherry), 5 out of 10 (Strawberry)
Nutrition Facts: (1 bottle) 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 0 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 0 milligrams of sodium, 0grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 0 grams of total sugars, and 0 grams of protein.

7 thoughts to “REVIEW: Sparkling Ice Starburst Flavors”

  1. To each their own on these! I absolutely LOVE the orange flavor. It’s what I want in an orange drink personally. I’d rate it best followed by cherry, which is a close 2nd, followed by lemon and then strawberry last.

    In other words if you are a fan of the Ice beverages like I am, give these a shot! A nice change of pace from the other regular flavors they have!

  2. It’s kind of wild how accurate these are in the first millisecond when it hits your tastebuds… but then it is such a strong artificial sweetener aftertaste that it’s impossible for me to recommend these to anyone

    1. If your taste buds are used to sugary drinks like regular soda, then I completely understand the artificial sweetener aftertaste. However if you are used to drinking diet sodas, then this is actually really decent.

  3. Orange is the best! If you do not like artificial sweeteners at all then this might not be the right review for you. Glad others enjoyed it as well.

  4. I love all but the cherry; it hints at cough syrup to me. But the lemon is my favorite, followed by strawberry and orange. I generally dislike artificial sweeteners, and while I can taste them in these, it’s nowhere near as strong as diet pop. As others have said, to each their own, I guess. ?

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