Clear, liquid Thin Mints

25 02 2011

When I think chocolate mint, I think Girl Scout cookies.

And when I think Girl Scout cookies, I think of the little triplets who live down the street and always come to our door asking us to buy a box of cookies … or two … or ten. I always end up with a million Tagalongs. I love Tagalongs.

Thin Mints are pretty great, too. Even though I’ve never been a big fan of mint, I do like it with chocolate — and  Thin Mints are the epitome of chocolate-mint cookies.

I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten Thin Mints and drank water with them. I’m also pretty darn sure I’ve never had that Thin Mint flavor in my water.

But in the natural foods section at Fry’s, that’s essentially what I found.

The brand is called Metromint, and it sells mint-flavored water in a rainbow of varieties: cherrymint, lemonmint, orangemint … and the most intriguing, chocolatemint.

Flavored water is pretty normal. But chocolate-flavored water? I had to try it.

I’m actually almost positive I’ve seen this stuff before. Last year in one of my classes, a girl brought in a bottle of “chocolatemint water,” and everyone was intrigued. As I recall, she also sat with the girls who everyone suspected brought vodka to class in their water bottles … so maybe it wasn’t chocolatemint water after all. But I digress.

I put this stuff in the freezer for an hour or so before I drank it so it would be nice and frosty. When I opened up the bottle and poured some in a glass (just in case anyone else wanted some and was terrified of my cooties), I gave it a cautious sniff.

Wow. Definitely mint. In fact, I could barely smell chocolate — but it had a strong spearmint scent.

Mint water? I thought. I guess that’s not so weird.

I took a generous sip, and I was shocked.

It tasted like … well, water.

(That was “well, water,” people. Not “well water.” That’s an entirely different story.)

I poured myself some more and took several more sips, trying to discern a flavor. I could make out a very, very faint hint of mint (and maybe chocolate), but I suspect that had more to do with the strong smell of the water than its actual taste. There was a slight aftertaste of mint, which reminded me of the toothpaste they use at the dentist’s office — only way more subtle.

I don’t get it. How can something have such a pungent odor and be next to tasteless? Maybe I just have insensitive taste buds (death by green pepper jelly?). The ingredients say it contains mint and cocoa essence … does “essence” involve briefly setting the bottle next to an unwrapped Hershey’s bar and hoping it soaks in the ambience? Because that’s about what it tasted (or didn’t taste) like, chocolate-wise.

On the plus side, the water has no sugar (or Sucralose, or anything) added. It’s just naturally flavored (or supposedly flavored) water. So zero calories, zero carbs, zero fat … and zero guilt.

Except maybe the price tag, that is. $1.50 for a small bottle of water is a little pricey, seeing as technically it’s just water. But hey, if you’re willing to pay a little extra for a very, very faint hint of flavor (and the chic factor of carrying around a bottle of mint water), then hey, more power to you.


Ingredients: Purified water, mint and cocoa essence.
Price: $1.49 at Fry’s.
It’s refreshing. But then again, it’s water.
Cons: Tastes like water — er, more accurately, doesn’t really taste like anything, except a faint aftertaste of dentist’s-office toothpaste.

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconuts

12 09 2010

Coconut juice. In a can. With pulp.

Oh, what’s that? You’re stuck on the title? Sorry; I couldn’t resist a Lion King reference. Not when it comes to coconuts.  (Actually, the original song was written by Fred Heatherton in 1944 — fun fact of the day.)

Now where was I? Oh, right — coconut juice, in a can. With pulp. As I meandered down the soft drinks aisle, this stood out to me. Maybe it was the bright label, or the fact that the can looked like recycled drainpipe, or maybe it was simply the fact that “coconut juice” sounds a little incongruous next to all the cola and cream soda. Whatever the case, I was intrigued.

Lately I’ve seen coconut water cropping up at grocery stores and even the local Circle K. It usually comes in those little cartons, and it’s touted as a health drink. I don’t know what the difference between coconut water and coconut juice is, though a little research seems to indicate they’re equivalent. Seeing coconut juice in a can, though, with pulp (because, yes, I’m mentioning the can and the pulp once again) struck me as odd. And almost repulsive.

I refrigerated the can first (because warm coconut juice does not sound appealing), and shook it before I drank it, since it contained pulp. (I think I made the right decision, because I later noticed that the can says, “Chill and shake well before serving.”) Before drinking it, I actually poured some into a glass, just to see how it would look.

Pond water? Milk that’s been left on the counter for a few years? This might prove interesting.

I took a tentative sip and mulled it over for awhile, unsure what to think. The aftertaste was stronger than the first impression, but I couldn’t quite determine what the flavor reminded me of. I took another drink and the answer came to me: skim milk. Very, very, very skim. With pulp.

I guess it makes sense. After all, coconut milk comes from coconuts (shocking, I know) and it had to have gotten its name from somewhere. The coconut juice was also a little sweet, especially the aftertaste, even though the can said “unsweetened.” Since coconuts are debatably a fruit, this also makes some sense.

I’m still not sure how necessary the pulp was. For someone like me who can’t even eat yogurt with fruit in it, all it did was trigger my gag reflex. But it most likely strengthened the flavor of the juice, though the pulp itself seemingly had no flavor. (Because, yes, I tried it by itself.)

Maybe my taste buds are still recovering from the green pepper jelly of last week’s escapades, but the coconut juice didn’t do much for me. It was a little boring. Sort of like watered-down milk with a dash of sugar.

Amy & Brian, the company that makes the juice, also sells pulp-free and lime varieties. The coconut juice with lime actually sounds pretty good. (Though that might just be because it reminds me of the Harry Nilsson song.) I may give it try, if I can find it next time I’m meandering down the soft drinks aisle. Until then, as far as health drinks go, I think I’ll stick to plain old water.


Ingredients: Young coconut juice and coconut pulp.
$1.79 at Fry’s Marketplace
Pros: Healthy, natural alternative to sugary drinks; palatable flavor. Also alleviates hangovers, for those of you party types out there.
Cons: The taste was a little boring; it seemed to be lacking something. A flavored version of the juice (like lime) might go over better.

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