REVIEW: Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade

Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade

Maybe it’s just me, but I’ve always thought of ginger ale as a drink that skews toward the older demographic. I can’t say for sure because I don’t spend much time at skateparks or halfpipes, but I don’t imagine too many people under 21 grabbing an ice-cold ginger ale after doing some kind of extreme sport.

Even for the legally-able-to-drink-but-under-65 crowd, ginger ale is something that might be included in a fancy drink you order to impress a date, but not a beverage you imbibe on a regular basis.

On the other hand, lemonade is a drink for kids. Sure, adults will get a glass at an outrageously marked-up price from the neighborhood stand run by kids who always mess up the directions and either serve the strongest or weakest lemonade ever concocted. And yes, if you are of drinking age you’ve might’ve had lemonade with vodka. But if you are at a fancy dinner for a job interview — like at the type of place with tablecloths and metal utensils — chances are you are not ordering a lemonade (unless said interview is for a job at Country Time or Snapple).

So that brings us to Canada Dry Ginger Ale and Lemonade. As soft drinks go, it’s not very creative or wild. Soda flavors have proliferated over the past decade in a seemingly endless pursuit of the most extreme outcomes to the point where bacon-flavored drinks are passé. And this Canada Dry offering certainly isn’t a fancy craft soda using dragon fruit, passionfruit or other variation of fruit that I’m not certain truly exists.

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It’s just ginger ale and lemonade, but it’s surprising this combination of flavors is really satisfying and refreshing.

The aroma is barely existent, with a faint smell of ginger ale and no lemon at all, and the color is more translucent than you might expect. But the flavor is where this drink shines, as it should. You do have to focus a little to pick out the separate ginger ale and lemonade flavors, as they meld into almost a mellow Mountain Dew-like taste with a bit less citrus kick and a touch less carbonation. Further research confirms that this also makes an excellent mixer with vodka or other spirits.

The label touts that it’s made “from real ginger and real juice,” but before you get ready to count a glass as a daily serving of fruit, take notice that it contains a whopping 1 percent lemon juice. For the mathematically-challenged, included is a visual aid showing 12 ounces of the drink with the amount of lemon juice it actually contains (about 3.5 milliliters). A juice drink this is not.

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I guess this would be easy to make yourself by mixing ginger ale and lemonade, but why go to that trouble when the good folks at Canada Dry have already found the right flavor combination that is surprisingly good.

(Nutrition Facts – 12 fl. oz. – 140 calories, 0 grams of fat, 50 milligrams of sodium, 36 grams of carbohydrates, 36 grams of sugar, and 0 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $1.00
Size: 2 liters
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Pleasant, mellow and refreshing flavor. Mixes well with your favorite alcohol.
Cons: Won’t count as your daily serving of fruit. Can’t be sure if this drink will make you feel old or young.

REVIEW: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds Cereal

I do not like Brussels sprouts. I would not eat them here or there. I would not eat them in a truck. I would not eat them with a duck…-billed platypus.

Am I trying to go all Dr. Seuss on you? I could not, would not. But would I eat Brussels sprouts with cinnamon sugar?

Those are foods (assuming cinnamon sugar counts as a food) that I figured were on opposite ends of the tastiness spectrum. What would cinnamon sugar blasted on Brussels sprouts taste like? Since I’m uncertain where the produce section is at my local store (or what Brussels sprouts look like), I’ll leave that question up to you. As a close substitute, I can tell you what the new Cinnamon Toast Crunch Blasted Shreds taste like.

It was with some trepidation that I picked these up, because I put Cinnamon Toast Crunch (CTC) on the Mount Rushmore of breakfast cereals, while Shredded Wheat would go somewhere in the bowels of hell.

I remember when Cinnamon Toast Crunch came out in the 1980s, during a glorious era of sugar cereals when manufacturers didn’t even try to hide how much of the magic white crystals were in them. Just about every cereal had the word “sugar” in it, and if that wasn’t enough, there was even one called Super Sugar Crisp. Sadly, many cereals now trumpet how they have whole grains, help lower cholesterol, and other such nonsense.

So can a cereal that brings together two extremes taste good? Actually, yeah. Obviously, CTC Blasted Shreds are not as good as the original CTC, but it’s still a tasty cereal with a bonus feeling of eating something that is not completely bad for you.

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Upon opening the box, the Shreds did not really have that trademark CTC smell, and they are smaller than I envisioned after seeing an oversized example on the front panel. Even though they’re small, my box contained a good number of conjoined twins that looked more like the larger Shredded Wheat I remember.

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I’m just as likely to eat cereal straight from the box as I am with milk, and these Shreds proved to be quite good sans cow juice. They didn’t seem as heavy or dense as I thought they’d be, and the flavor faithfully replicated the original Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal while the Shredded Wheat did nothing to detract from that.

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Once you dip them in a milk bath, things get even better. The Shredded Wheat did an admirable job of keeping the milk from making the cereal too soggy while allowing some milk in, resulting in a nice crunch with a hint of softness. The overall texture of the cereal is not as rough as you might expect from Shredded Wheat either, and it still packs a potent sugar punch.

While these don’t quite match the original CTC, they do hit the sweet spot by balancing a tasty sugary cereal with healthy whole grain wheat.

(Nutrition Facts – 2/3 cup – 230 calories, 40 calories from fat, 4.5 grams of fat, 1.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 5 milligrams of sodium, 160 milligrams of potassium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 7 grams of fiber, 13 grams of sugar, and 4 grams of protein.)

Purchased Price: $2.98
Size: 23.2 oz. box
Purchased at: H-E-B
Rating: 8 out of 10
Pros: Much more fiber and protein than regular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Tastes good with or without milk. Allows you to brag to others about eating a healthy breakfast of Shredded Wheat (feel free to omit the cinnamon and sugar blast part).
Cons: Not as good as regular Cinnamon Toast Crunch. Doesn’t have the added vitamins and minerals that are typically blasted onto breakfast cereals, which is ironic given the name.

ANNOUNCEMENT: New Impulsive Buy Reviewer Denis

Greetings and salutations fellow lovers of all foods with questionable nutritional value. I’m the kind of person (some would say a “special” kind of person) who upon seeing a commercial at 2:15 a.m. introducing a new fast food concoction will immediately put on my slippers — and probably some type of pants — and hop into my car to sample said new product.

While I like to think my knowledge of fast food vittles is pretty solid, my knowledge of fast food restaurant operating hours is sometimes lacking. On more than one occasion, these late night trips have ended in cruel disappointment when I arrive to find a darkened drive-thru.

Then, when I return home empty-handed at 2:30 a.m., I must explain to my just-awoken wife why I left the house barely dressed in the middle of the night. Thankfully, she has seen my fast food obsession all too often during daylight hours and generally accepts my explanation while shaking her head and falling back asleep as she questions some of her life choices.

As a teenager, I got to experience the wonderful world of fast food as a somewhat-dedicated employee of Taco Bell. Mind you, this was many years ago when The Bell had those hideous polyester uniforms that were mostly brown with subtle accents of white, orange, and yellow, as if the company was trying to match those equally hideous San Diego Padres uniforms of the time.

The upside to working there was that an absent and disinterested management team allowed me and my esteemed colleagues to experiment with different Taco Bell ingredient combinations, and thus, a love for all that is new and unique in the world of fast (and junk) food was born.

After attending college for a period of time that fell short of those pesky graduation requirements, I got a regular job (not at Taco Bell). Sadly, this job does not afford many opportunities to indulge in my fast/junk food fetish, which is why being a contributor to The Impulsive Buy is a dream come true. Truth be told, that dream is not exactly at the top of my list, but it certainly seemed more achievable than most others, as I’ve been informed many times that no matter how much I wish or hope I can never become a dinosaur.