Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Trader Joe's Strawberry Lemonade

I love lemonade. And I have enjoyed some lemonade that has been blended with other fruit flavors, particularly raspberry. But there's a catch: The second flavor has to be distinctly subordinate to the lemon.

This may sound arbitrarily doctrinaire, but there's a reason for it. One naturally expects lemonade to be highly sweetened. But one does not (or should not) expect, say, raspberry juice to be sweetened, because it's plenty sweet naturally.

Hence the problem with Trader Joe's Strawberry Lemonade: It has too much strawberry to be a flavored lemonade, and it has too much sugar to be a good strawberry juice blend. It ends up tasting like overly sweetened strawberry juice, with some lemon. This is not a good thing.

My first reaction was, well, not quite violent, exactly, but severe disappointment. Instead of refreshing summer lemonade, it was just another of what Nina has come to call TJ's "melted lollipops."

As I slowly finished the jug over the next ten days or so, I warmed up to it somewhat--but only by actively employing a mental trick. If I forced myself to perceive it as lemonade with some strawberry, it was OK. But the strawberry component is so dominant that I could maintain this illusion only with effort. When it failed, the impression with every sip was of badly over-sweetened strawberry juice blend.

Will I buy it again? 

No. I like lemonade too much to put up with this mangled version. If TJ's came out with a new formulation with half as much strawberry, I'd be eager to give it another try.

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