Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Five Alive

Although I am just now getting around to reviewing it, Five Alive has been a longstanding favorite of mine. I used to drink Five Alive a lot as a kid growing up in the 90s, and in the Baltimore-area grocery stores of my early youth, the juice was readily available in a wide variety of different forms: concentrate, cartons, cans, family-sized jugs...you get the picture. But when my family moved to South Carolina during my teenage years, I thought that I had essentially seen the last of it. I would stumble across the juice every now and then, but in general, Five Alive seems to be somewhat uncommon in this area. However, on a recent stroll through my local Wal-Mart, I noticed a shelf of the familiar blue cans among the few other frozen concentrates that the store actually still carries.

Needless to say, I was excited to learn that Wal-Mart had begun stocking the stuff. Five Alive is one of my favorite citrus juices, and after several years of estrangement, I was very happy to find a new supply of it. True to its title, Five Alive is a citrus juice medley of five different fruits: orange, lemon, lime, tangerine, and grapefruit. As I have said countless times before, I absolutely love citrus, especially in beverages, so Five Alive could not be more of a perfect fit. But even outside of my personal biases, the drink is excellent in its own right. Citrusy flavors tend to be strong, and they can often be difficult to balance within a beverage, but the makers of Five Alive (MinuteMaid: therefore, Coca-Cola) have managed to balance five different citrus juices very, very well. 

Each of the five juices in Five Alive has been carefully proportioned to compliment the other four flavors, and none of them take over as a predominant flavor. I would say that the orange is a little bit stronger than the rest (especially considering the extra orange flavor from the tangerine), but it acts more as a base for the juice as a whole, rather than as an overwhelming presence that drowns out the others. Each of the flavors blends together perfectly, and the juice takes on a sort of "citrus all-flavor," rather than tasting like a many store-bought juice cocktails in which all kinds of flavors are just sort of smashed into a bottle.

Overall, Five Alive is a wonderful, relatively healthy beverage that has really withstood the test of time. The formula is just as tasty as I remember, and the frozen concentrate is always a nice option, as it is much less expensive and requires a lot less space to store. The finished mixes up to make about 48 oz. of juice, and it does require you to supply your own pitcher, but the small, 12 oz. can of concentrate can be easily kept out of the way in the freezer until you are ready to make the juice, unlike pre-bottled juices that are heavy and awkwardly shaped and require large amounts of space to store before opening. 

The popularity of frozen juice concentrates has dwindled a good bit over the past couple of decades, and many grocery stores and food retailers have decreased their stock dramatically to reflect this declining demand. But Five Alive is definitely one that is still worth checking out.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 12 oz. can [48 oz. when mixed]
Price: $1.54

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