Great Value Lemonade Drink Mix Sticks (Walmart)

A box of Great Value Lemonade Drink Mix Sticks, from Walmart
If you like your lemon drinks tart, then this one is for you.

Shopping at Aldi really kind of blinds your eyes to just how many choices there are in life, sometimes. For example, with drink mixes, Aldi has a few different flavor choices for “regular”, and have recently added a few flavors caffeine-enhanced “energy” varieties. That’s pretty much it. So then imagine my shock when I go to other stores and am bombarded with 50 different varieties and flavors...such was the case when my wife and I went to Walmart on a shopping trip during a beach vacation.

How in the hell does one decide on just one? Actually, it was made somewhat easy via process of elimination: I didn’t need the kind with caffeine, and a bunch of the other “regular” ones were sold out; out of the remaining options, I settled on lemonade, simply because it's a common flavor that no one should be able to screw up. (The same can't be said for flavors like "kiwi strawberry" and other odd combinations that could go either way.)

First impressions: oh good, the packets are easy to tear! For some reason, some other store brands (Aldi, cough cough) don’t seem to be pre-scored very well, so I always end up having to either fight it, or just use scissors. These tear easily across the “tear here” line without making much of a mess. You know, Aldi’s packets are a little bit cheaper, but I wouldn’t mind upping the price if it meant an easier opening packet. Maybe that’s just me, though. Value shouldn’t have to come at the expense of convenience.

After adding it to water, the smell emanating from it is very inviting, up there with the best lemonade drink mixes. It actually smells pretty realistic, with an emphasis on the “tart” aroma profile, which is very similar to the smell of real lemons. But would the taste actually live up to that? As I think we all know, just as it’s not wise to judge a book by its cover, it’s certainly unwise to judge a food product solely by its scent. 

Well, the flavor certainly does live up to that, offering up a strong blast of tart that definitely won’t be to everyone’s liking. Adding to this is that they seem to have dialed back on the “sweet” a little bit, letting the tangy take over. Personally, I prefer my lemonade to be more on the sweet side (along with almost everything else in my life), but I can certainly appreciate what Great Value is bringing to the table here; it does have a flavor that’s different than other store brands I’ve tried. And while it wasn't enough to win me over entirely, it's one I would definitely get again when I'm sick of the usual flavors.

As a little side note that’s more just me thinking out loud, I wonder if this would possibly taste good in fresh-brewed iced tea (or sweet tea). It would be like a poor man’s Arnold Palmer, using this instead of actual lemons (which, truth be told, aren’t all that expensive to begin with, but still).

Overall: 6.5/10. Fans of tart over sweet should find more to like here, with a rather realistic-tasting lemonade that ups the sour quotient far higher than I was expecting. It is offset by some sweetness, but the tangy flavor profile might be off-putting for some looking for a sweeter-tasting drink. While it's not my cup of...uh...lemonade (I prefer the sweeter versions), it is very inexpensive ($1.19 per 10-count box) and one that might appeal to a certain subset of people turned off by the sugary taste of other lemonade brands.