Last month I posted about trying to find a brand of lemonade that didn’t contain artificial sweeteners. To my surprise I found that even the non-diet versions contained both sugar and sweeteners.
Anyway, with the current heat, I thought I would list a few alternatives for those of you who are either suspicious of artificial sweeteners, or – like me – simply cringe at their aftertaste. It’s not an exhaustive list, so if you have a favourite that isn’t mentioned here, feel free to comment.
I mentioned Qcumber, which is a mix of cucumber juice and sparkling spring water. This has become a favourite here, it is a different taste and really refreshing.
I had thought that Volvic flavoured water was also sweetener free; but at the time, all I could find in the shops was Volvic with sweeteners, so I thought maybe this had changed. But no, you just have shop around, and look to avoid the “sugar free” versions; which unfortunately, my local store seems to stock exclusively. The non-“sugar free” simply contain mineral water, sugar, flavourings and the standard preservative. They come in a variety of flavours – lemon and lime makes a good substitute for lemonade, but I also quite like the strawberry flavour. However, I find them all a little overly sweet, but that is my palate, and they are fine when used as mixer for Pimms and stuff.
Fentimans make a wide range of pleasant fizzy pop. Their Curiosity Cola is quite an adult taste, with hints of ginger. Their Ginger Beer is great, and I love their Dandelion and Burdock.
I am also quite addicted to Bundaberg’s Root Beer, with its smooth sarsaparilla and licorice taste.
Moving away from fizz, Lipton Ice Tea is also quite sweet to taste, but is free from sweeteners, provided you avoid the diet versions. A variety of flavours, but I like the classic Lemon Tea.
Some of Ribena’s range of squashes are free from sweeteners – you need to avoid the “No Added Sugar” flash, as anything marked with this contains Aspartame. However, I have been finding the sweetener-free version harder to find, with more and more supermarkets jumping on the “sugar is bad” bandwagon.
I used to love Robinson’s Barley Water, but once again, that is now only available with saccharin.
So now I buy cordials made by Rocks Drinks, an independent UK company making fruit juices, cordials and squashes from natural ingredients – no artificial sweeteners, flavourings or preservatives. As you might expect, a little more expensive than the ubiquitous Lemon Barley, but very tasty.
Before anyone points it out: yes, all of these contain sugar, and are therefore fattening. But you don’t have to drink them all the time.
My regular “soft drink” is still as follows: take a tea or herbal teabag of your choice – I like Twinings Lemon and Ginger – and put 3-4 bags into a litre jug, filled with tap water. Optionally add sliced lemons or limes. Leave in the fridge overnight, and it is ready to drink. No sugar, no sweeteners, and very refreshing.