Kroger Refresh Raspberry Lemonade Drink Mix Sticks (Kroger)

A box of Kroger Refresh Raspberry Lemonade Drink Mix Sticks, from Kroger
I'd rather drink water.

This story starts off like so many others: I was at Kroger, when I suddenly realized that I didn’t have any drink mix sticks. I don’t use them all the time - I’m trying to get “used” to the taste of water, as if anyone can get used to something so goddamned boring - but I still like to have some on hand, just in case I want a little something more in the flavor department. 

I’m not sure I’ve ever had any from Kroger…maybe I have, I guess all of the different private labels just kind of blend together after a while. At any rate, as I’ve mentioned before, Aldi’s limited selection was preventing me from experiencing a wide plethora of different kinds flavors. Not only do we have regular sticks, but we also have ones specifically for energy and sport performance, and any other number of situations. And, thanks to Kroger, you can add “refresh” to the list of covered situations.

I really don’t know what territory this is supposed to cover that regular drink mixes don’t already cover. It’s like these brands just have to toss out random names and create random lines that just aren’t necessary. There’s no mention of antioxidants or anything that would replenish lost bodily fluids (I’m thinking sweat, creepos)...it’s just a typical drink mix with the word “refresh” slapped on it, just in case you’re looking for something refreshing, I guess. 

It smells over-the-top, like a bad candle, or terrible perfume. I mean, it doesn’t smell specifically like those things (there aren’t too many raspberry lemonade perfumes out there), but it hits the nostrils in much the same way those things do - with a certain forcefulness that almost goes straight to the brain. There are really no hints of natural scent in there anywhere; it’s just a mess of sweetness. I have to say it’s not the most enticing aroma I’ve ever experienced, but to be fair, it’s also far from the worst. One thing I can definitely tell, is that this is going to be very sweet.

Yep, this is about what I expected. There’s a tartness that’s presumably the lemon (although raspberries can be tart too, I suppose) and it also does pop out in the flavor department somewhat. It’s equally balanced with a very fakey, very sweet raspberry that kind of goes overboard. I mean, I don’t expect these flavors to taste spot-on to real fruit, considering there’s no fruit juice at all in these, but I at least don’t want something that almost makes my stomach cringe at the mere thought of taking a swig. And that’s where we find ourselves with these. 

For being part of Kroger’s “Refresh” line of drink mix sticks - which, as a reminder, I still have no fucking idea what the difference is between this line and the “regular” sticks, aside from that stupid little liquid drop with the word “refresh” next to it - it’s not something I would really want to drink in any situation where I feel like I needed immediate refreshment. It’s too tart and sweet to really be something that’s chuggable - usually in active situations, I would think most people would prefer something that’s lightly flavored and that can be swallowed in massive quantities. This isn’t it. Nor is this really something I could see myself kicking back with on a hot summer’s day. 

Really, I’m struggling to see where this would be a flavor that I would even consider, and I’m coming up blank. I think I would rather drink regular water, and, in case you couldn’t tell from my first paragraph, I hate regular water.

If you really need a positive, I picked these up for $1.49, which is actually cheaper than Walmart’s Great Value version. However, keep in mind that price was a sale price…these are normally $1.89, which is about on the line between “decent” and “not good”. I feel like these are the type of thing that’s frequently on sale (at least they were the last few times I’ve gone down that aisle) but maybe I just hit it at the right times. I wouldn’t pick these up at regular price, but for $1.49, that’s a pretty solid deal that I will apply to a different flavor in the future, because these are pretty disappointing.

Overall: 2.5/10. Artificial lemons and artificial raspberries come together to form a very artificial bond that’s quite a bit on the sweet side. It’s counterbalanced by some tartness, but this is not a very enticing combo. Also, I have no idea why this is part of Kroger’s “Refresh” line, because it’s not at all something I would drink in…well, really any situation, let alone one where refreshment was my main focus. The biggest positive: These seem to be frequently available, on sale, for $1.49 which is actually a pretty solid deal. Full price ($1.89) isn’t so impressive. Either way, I’m never getting this again.



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