Saturday, March 5, 2011

MASH: Grapefruit Citrus Zing

Yes, I love New York. I think everyone who reads this blog knows that very well. But one of the few things that I hate about New York is that sooner or later, small neighborhood stores that I have loved going to, visit after visit, almost always end up changing from cute little independent local spots to just another national chain outlet that I can easily go to at home.

That's sort of what happened to my favorite little bodega (mini-mart to the rest of us). Honestly, the service had been bad, the prices were kind of high, and the food tended to be out of code...but what they did have going for them had been the Universe's biggest selection of Snapple (as well as many other soft drinks, both popular and obscure). I could always find something interesting there. Well, times have changed since my last visit, and the location is now a rather generic cafe/sandwich place. The sandwiches aren't bad and the staff is a heck of a lot nicer, so it's not a complete loss. But sadly gone is the amazing drink selection.

They did, however, have the MASH line, which I have never seen before.

MASH, according to the bottle blurb, is meant for everyone. It's not a soda nor is it 100% juice. And it also boasts of being a low calorie option. Yeah, we are going to get to all of that in a second...

Anyway, I happen to like grapefruit juice -- or even grapefruit soda -- so I thought I would start there.

The drink is only very lightly carbonated, which I really liked. It's pretty much a known fact to long time readers, but I will repeat myself: I am one of those people who like my carbonated beverages on the slightly flat side, so whenever something is already going easy on the bubbles that works for me.

The grapefruit flavor comes across as very natural. It's got just a slight bitter edge with no aftertaste. If you've ever eaten a really ripe, fresh pink grapefruit and sprinkled it with sugar, and then drank the juice that stays in the rind...well it tasted pretty close to that. It is a sweetened drink ,but it uses sucralose (AKA Splenda) as the sweetener rather than HFSC or even regular sugar. Personally, I can live with that, as I am one of those people that don't mind or notice the taste of Splenda/sucralose (it's my sweetener of choice for coffee, actually).

I liked the body of it. It wasn't as thick and filling as a juice, and yet it was as sweet and as bubbly as a (somewhat flat) soda. I actually went through several of these over the course of my stay. New favorite grapefruit beverage, hands down!

Remember I said we could get back to a couple things that bothered me? Well, here goes: The first thing being that the label says it's not soda, but it's not 100% juice either. Actually, the label calls it a "water drink." Well, a water drink that uses sparkling water (AKA carbonated water...gee, kinda like SODA!). Interesting choice of words there. While I certainly wouldn't exactly call it a soda, considering that it contains only one per cent actual juice, I think they were creatively dressing the proportions. After all, soda as a soft drink choice is starting to go down the same dark, scary back alley that trans-fats and other delicious but questionably beneficial items go to flash their wares while hiding from the fuzz.

This also extends to the calorie count. I understand that at the moment there is a lot of pressure on manufacturers to make everything as low-cal as possible (because we certainly can't expect people to just, ya know, be responsible for their own portion control) and the bottle boasts that the drink is a mere 40 calories a serving! Problem is, the bottle is 20 ounces, and the serving is considered to be 8 there are 2.5 servings per bottle. Now, really -- how many people are going to actually pour out the precise 8 ounce serving? Yes, I realize a small percentage will. But let's be honest; most people are just downing the entire bottle. Would it really be that horrible a sin to list the true calorie count of 100 calories for the entire bottle? 100 calories as to compared to your average soft drink is still pretty damn good!

I'm not basing the rating on anything other than the flavor -- but clearly I am annoyed by the trend of creatively wording the blurb and manipulating the serving size to keep the food police happy. A pox upon both or however many houses they have!

94 Corner Cafe (94th & Broadway, New York City)


40 Calories per 8 oz. (or 100 for the entire bottle)

Kosher, sweetened with sucralose


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