Thursday, 17 February 2011

AOk Red Grape & Cherry Juice Drink

aok red grape & cherry juice drinkMade by: AOk Drinks Ltd

Origin: UK

AOk Drinks was founded in 2008, with the aim of creating a drink to deliver the body's daily antioxidant requirements in a single serve. Antioxidants are utilised by the body to combat 'free radicals', being harmful molecules which enter the body in a variety of different ways, ultimately as a result of our interaction with the environment.

Unless free radicals are neutralised by antioxidants then they cause damage to cells that results in accelerated ageing and ultimately disease. The result of the founders' research was a drink formula combining different, complimentary active ingredients, thereby producing a potent antioxidant mix.

The drink is a deep purple colour, opaque at the core like a young red wine, and containing a small amount of red fruit puree in suspension.

Aromatic on the nose, with a sweet, earthy (like ginseng) and berried quality. There are various notes of gingercake, liquorice, menthol, molasses....quite complex.

Sweet, soft earthy blueberry and prune flavours give way to the gently sour and tart cherry. Gingercake and mint add interest, and there is a nice balance between the sweet and tart elements.

The effect becomes lightly mouthwatering on the finish, with the sweeter notes sustaining the flavours well.

There's a lot going on here on the nose and palate, although considering the prominence given to cherries and cherry juice on the label, it's distinct flavour is well integrated and hard to isolate beyond the tart effect it produces on the finish. The dark, rich and sweet flavours should appeal to fans of blueberries, ginseng and Concord or black grape juice. Quite apart from that the drink's powerful antioxidant content is delivered in a compact and handy size.

Our thanks go to Helen Lewis for providing the sample.

Packaging claims: Anti-oxidant drink, 100% natural ingredients, no artificial sweeteners, no artificial colourings, no artificial ingredients, no added sugar, your daily recommended requirement of antioxidants, one of your 'five a day', just 145 calories

Ingredients: Juice from concentrate and pressed juice 99% (grape 83%, tart cherry puree 15%, ginger 1%), rehydrated powdered aloe vera juice 1%, natural flavour

Price: Should be about £1.60-£1.70 for a 250ml PET bottle, available from branches of Waitrose, via Ocado, and from health food stores nationwide

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Fever Tree Naturally Light Indian Tonic Water

Made by: Fevertree Ltd

Origin: UK

Fevertree Naturally Light tonic water uses pure fructose (fruit sugar) as a sweetener, instead of sucrose, thereby delivering 45% fewer calories than the standard product (20.5 Kcal per 100ml in this case).

This version is clear and bright, with fine bubbles rising steadily. Fresh lemon icing on the nose, this is delicate, powdery and very attractive.

On the palate there follows a fresh lemon citrus attack, with a zesty flavour and good intensity. This drink has a very clean mouthfeel (no cloying, oily or salty notes), with a firm and bone-dry finish.

We're not normally convinced by anything lighter or milder (read low calorie), but this one really works. The drink is well balanced and does not compromise on flavour. The key difference is that this version is drier on the finish compared to the regular ('Premium') version. All Fevertree drinks deliver on flavour and have a clean finish, which is really their signature.

Packaging claims: Lower in calories, Fever-Tree with 45% fewer calories, no artificial sweeteners, flavourings or preservatives, contains natural quinine

Ingredients: Spring Water, Pure Fructose (fruit sugar), Citric Acid, Natural Flavours, Natural Quinine

Price: Should be about £0.75 for a 200ml glass bottle (£3.00 for a 4 x 200ml pack), widely available