We went through an entire summer of experimenting with Sugar-Free Kool-Aid replacements.
Using the unsweetened stuff with Splenda was crazy. Splenda is light and fluffy, like Hollywood snow, and it doesn’t want to mix into our giant Kool-Aid pitcher. It refuses. It says “Unhand me, madam, I said good day!”and then makes a huge mess all over the counter. Plus, the taste is bizarre, like melted plastic covered in frosting. I don’t care for it one iota. I kind of managed to trick my tastebuds by blending it with a powdered agave (excuse me… “cactus sugar” which I got from the Asian grocery store downtown. The Asian grocery store is a place very dear to my heart.) but then Esteban pointed out that agave does have calories, and the powdered version is a little weird in that it kind of refused to blend. The man speaks the truth, because normally, you let the Kool-Aid hang out in the pitcher for a few hours and it kind of blooms and doesn’t need to be stirred but the weird yellow cactus sugar did not believe in mixing with the common solution and preferred to congregate in the bottom where it looked frighteningly like bug larva.
I gave up everything and started drinking iced tea, which I like unsweetened but Esteban feels tastes like potting soil water. He’s from the country, though, and they don’t believe in iced tea around here. It’s a fact. He turned to Mio beverage squirty stuff, except tended to just powersqueeze it into his glass of water, obtaining some kind of ultra-concentrated slightly opaque situation that similarly couldn’t be healthy. Yes, I’m aware how ridiculous it is to discuss the health implications of artificially sweetened and artificially colored ultra-concentrated bright red beverages of no actual organic origin.
When traditional Kool-Aid clearly wasn’t going to fly, we decided to debase ourselves with Crystal Light. I’ve said before that I’m not a fan of Crystal Light. Not only does it sound like a skinny stripper in a two dancer strip club, it also tastes watery to me most of the time. Like iced tea that got one too many ideas. Or maybe Kool-Aid that’s been stretched to pull some kind of fishes and loaves miracle. We tried some of the Crystal Light “mocktails” which I didn’t mind (the appletini one tastes like green Jolly Ranchers) but Esteban started calling “Slurm”.
As in, “Hey hon, can you refill my slurm? I’m parched.”
If given a choice between the names “Crystal Light” and “Slurm”, I concede that the stripper name is slightly more enticing.
I basically decided to just start drinking vodka throughout the day, because what other hope did I have? But then, our Targets upgraded to have quasi-grocery stores! And now I die happy because Target with quasi grocery means that I can get weird Archer Farm’s crap that I’ve never seen before.
So I was perusing (cashew/peanut butter! It is a thing! Thank you, Target gods, thank you!) the aisles and found an entire slew of fake Crystal Light from Market Pantry (Target’s store brand) and it was way cheaper than the appletini stuff, so I figured, eh, what the hell. Cherry lime? Sure. If Esteban’s going to call it Slurm, I might as well buy the cheap stuff.
Then the heavens opened up and there was much rejoicing. You guys, Market Pantry? Market Pantry fake sugar-free Kool-Aid pretty much saved summer. The cherry lime flavored stuff tastes like Sonic Cherry Limeades. I even could almost say that it’s tastier than real Kool-Aid’s Tropical Punch flavor. Plus, it’s cheaper than Kool-Aid was all the time. I no longer have to buy $90 worth of it from Amazon because the price is fairly consistent. Thank you, Target, thank you.
Sometimes clouds really do have a silver lining. It is a known fact.