The folks over at Sparkling Ice were nice enough to send us a few different flavors of their beverage to sample, so we figured it was only right for us to give our opinion on this new fruity water.
Sparkling Ice is a flavored carbonated water, that uses sucralose, instead of sugar, to add sweetness to the drink, while still maintaining a zero calorie nutritional rating… (is rating the right word?). It comes in a variety of flavors like Ginger Lime, Pomegranate Blueberry, Orange Mango, Pink Grapefruit, and 12 more, for a total of 16 flavors offered.
We got to sample six of the 12 flavors and we’ll get into them more in a minute, but there was really only one that I didn’t care for, other than that, all of the flavors were pretty delicious, but that’s not really that surprising considering it is still using a sugar substitute.
Sparkling Water Craze
It seems like everywhere you turn these days someone is drinking some sort of sparkling water, but not all of them are created equally. You may think that Sparkling Ice is trying to tap into the marketplace that is currently dominated by LaCroix, but that’s not necessarily the case.
As I mentioned above, Sparkling Ice does have a sugar substitute added to it in the form of sucralose, which gives it the sweetness that you don’t find in other sparkling waters. LaCroix does not add any sugar or sugar substitute, which is why I can’t stand it and find it absolutely disgusting. My wife guzzles the stuff like it’s going out of style, but I can’t stomach it, so Sparkling Ice is a nice alternative for me.
If you’re looking for an alternative to LaCroix that doesn’t have an artificial sweetener you can look at Sparkling Ice’s other brand, Talking Rain, which is much more of a LaCroix competitor than Sparkling Ice is.
Sparkling Ice is more of an alternative to diet pop (soda), than it is to those unsweetened sparkling waters, and because of that, it’s not really any healthier than those beverages.
While sucralose itself is not the same artificial sweetener found in, say, Diet Coke, it is very similar to the sweetener used in those beverages, aspartame. They are both very concentrated sugar substitutes that allow sweetness to be added to a beverage using very little of the sweetener, therefore keeping the sugar content at zero, thus giving the appearance that it’s healthier.
I’m not here to lecture you on the health risks of drinking pop, or diet soda, but I felt it necessary to ensure that you don’t go out and pick up Sparkling Ice, based on this review, under the impression that it’s some how a healthier alternative to your Diet Coke addiction.
Just look at it in the same way as say Vitamin Water… You know that you’re not getting essential vitamins from Vitamin Water right? At least not enough to really benefit you in any way…. You’re basically just drinking sugar water. And while Sparkling Water shows 0 grams of sugar, it’s still not a healthy alternative to, say, water itself.
Sparkling Ice Flavors
Now, with all of that stuff out of the way, lets talk about the actual beverage itself and the taste.
I am not a fan of diet pop in any way, shape, or form. I think the artificial sweeteners taste gross, I think they leave a weird after taste, and I’m just generally not a fan of them… never have been. I don’t even like the “zero” versions of things they came out with recently. When it comes to sweetening my drinks, I prefer real sugar, and if necessary, good old fashioned high fructose corn syrup in my pop. So when Sparkling Ice said they wanted to send me some of their drinks to sample, I immediately thought I wouldn’t like them, due to the fact that they use similar sweeteners to diet pop.
I was wrong… for most of the flavors anyways.
For one, due to the sweetness of Sparkling Ice, I was able to drink an entire bottle of it without gagging, which is more than I can say about LaCroix. I don’t know, I think I’m just conditioned to expect sweetness when drinking something with carbonation like that…
As I mentioned above, we were sent six of the 12 flavors to try out and out of all of them, only one of them was gross enough for me to just pour down the drain. I’ll let you guess which one that was.
The six flavors that were sent to us were: Pomegranate Blueberry, Strawberry Lemonade, Pink Grapefruit, Orange Mango, Ginger Lime and Lemon Lime.
My favorites of the flavors were definitely the Pomegranate Blueberry, Strawberry Lemonade and Orange Mango. Those all have flavors that I enjoy normally, and the combinations are both delicious and refreshing.
To a lesser degree, the Pink Grapefruit and Lemon Lime were tolerable, but probably not a flavor that I would choose had I been paying for them myself.
And, if couldn’t guess already, the Ginger Lime ended up down the drain. It was pretty disgusting and not something I would recommend to anyone, unless of course you’re a huge fan of ginger… which I am not. My wife, who seemingly loves everything, didn’t even really care for this flavor. So I definitely can’t recommend it.
Mixed Drinks with Sparkling Ice
Now, while I can’t recommend all of the flavors, what I can recommend is that you use these as mixers in your adult beverage of choice.
The folks at Sparkling Ice sent over a bunch of different alcohol drink recipes using Sparkling Ice, but I didn’t have any of the ingredients, nor am I patient enough to mix up a fancy drink, so I just went with my go-to… Tito’s Vodka.
1 shot of Tito’s Vodka in a rocks glass with ice, topped off with Sparkling Ice flavor of your choice, makes for an absolutely delicious drink. Before I started the FODMAP diet early last year, my drink of choice was Captain Morgan and Coke, but I could not have sugars or high fructose corn syrup during the elimination phase of the diet, so I gave up my favorite drink and instead switched to Tito’s and Soda.
After discovering that HFCS was not part of my issues, I started using Sprite as a mixer instead of Soda water, but the variety if flavors offered by Sparkling Ice, make it a no brainer as my alternative mixer of choice. The only problem with that is I don’t think a lot of bars carry Sparkling Ice as a mixer, but at least I can use them when I’m at home.
So if you’re looking for an alternative to soda water or sprite for mixing with your vodka, definitely give this a shot.
Sparkling Ice is delicious, there’s no doubt about it. Is it healthy? No. Is it healthier than your diet soda…. probably not. But it’s a nice alternative if you’re looking for something sweet to indulge in.
The variety of flavors gives you plenty of options, which is awesome, and the combinations of flavor are unique enough to keep you coming back for more.
In addition to that, Sparkling Ice makes a great mixer for your next party. We recommend just mixing it straight up with some Tito’s Vodka, but if you’re looking for more involved recipes we can certainly pass some along.
So as long as you’re not afraid of artificial sweeteners, give Sparkling Ice a try and let us know what you think!