While pumpkin is the unmatched king of fall food, this year we’re seeing a push to bring an old favorite fall flavor back in the spotlight: apple. Dunkin’s Apple Cranberry Refresher is a very unique offering for those who seek a fall themed beverage, but don’t necessarily want coffee or pumpkin flavor.
The Dunkin’ Refreshers all start off with a green tea base mixed with a fruit concentrate and served over ice. While it has experimented with different Refresher flavors, this is the first seasonal/holiday version we’ve gotten.
When ordering the Apple Cranberry Refresher, you are given the option to add coconut milk. Normally, I aim to try everything “plain” first, but I had a suspicion the flavors would be strong and need the coconut milk to mellow them a bit. I am very glad I did this as I think the drink would have been nearly undrinkable for me without it. As the name would suggest, the predominant flavors should be apple (Honeycrisp according to Dunkin’) and cranberry with “notes of fall spices.”
The drink comes with a purple-ish tone when you opt for the coconut milk, but mine wasn’t nearly as purple as the advertised products. I noticed the bottom of the cup had almost a pulp-like look, and I guessed it was just the concentrate settling from its journey home. After a good stir, I took the first sip. The layers of flavors that I tasted were a little overwhelming at first. The apple and cranberry were very present but quickly overshadowed by the “fall spices.”
I am not sure if the recipe has those fall spices (cinnamon, nutmeg were the flavors I mostly tasted) as a separate part from the apple cranberry concentrate, but they were borderline overpowering. Especially so towards the end of the drink where the bottom seemed to be almost entirely made of those dang spices. Despite my best attempts to keep swirling, the cinnamon flavor took over about halfway through and wouldn’t relent.
The coconut milk added no perceivable flavor but helped to dull the very sharp spices. The green tea was undetectable. What was frustrating was that every few sips the drink would be palatable and then I’d hit this pocket of cinnamon that tasted what those horrible cinnamon brooms smell like. I also got a large (remember: I bought a 12pk of a mystery flavor soda, so I am kind of a risk-taker), and I almost tossed the last 1/4th. As the ice melted, however, it mellowed the drink to a point where I could finish it.
While it was a noble effort to try and offer a fall item not pumpkin-centric, the unevenly strong cinnamon flavor made it hard to love from beginning to end. If the fall spices are a separate thing, I would absolutely order it again with WAY less of whatever the recipe asks for. Otherwise, this drink treads too close to tasting like what an apple cinnamon candle smells like.
Purchased Price: $3.59
Rating: 5 out of 10
Nutrition Facts: 230 calories, 6 grams of fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, 0 milligrams of cholesterol, 90 milligrams of sodium, 44 grams of carbohydrates, 0 grams of fiber, 40 grams of sugar, and 1 grams of protein.