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Pete's Natural Ling + Zing Raspberry Kola is made in New Zeland from Lightly sparkling water, Raw sugar, Lemon juice, Lime juice, Kola nut extract, raspberry extract.
I am a total fan of Pete's Natural products. I have tried all the flavours, and the bottles are so eye-catching I can't bear to throw them away - I have a row of them filled with coloured glass pieces decorating a windowsill in my kitchen! This bottle is just as attractive as the rest in the range, and will shortly be joining my collection now that I have finished the contents.
Add to my appreciation of Pete's Natural range my predilection for cola drinks and there was no way I would not like this new flavour. I chilled it before serving it - I was visiting a friend and the only glasses she had available were huge so that slightly dwarfed the contents. However, as she said, that left lots of room for the bubbles! Not that this drink is over carbonated, but it is definitely sparkling and the space at the top of the glass meant that you got the full effect. So maybe that was not such a bad thing.
The flavour was exquisite. Very fruity, with the raspberry slightly dominating the cola and lemon flavours, and really thirst quenching on an unbearably hot afternoon. I did not want to dilute it with ice, but we had chilled the bottle in the fridge so it was nicely refreshing. My friend likes her drinks very sweet, but I don't, so the degree of sweetness was just right for me. I suggested, if she wanted hers a little sweeter, she could serve it with a dash of lemonade. Personally I liked mine just as it was. But she is going to try it next time with lemonade or sarsaparilla (probably half and half) as she did like the raspberry taste and said it was really just as flavoursome as real fruit. There was none of that artificial taste you get with some raspberry drinks (and some "flavoured for children" medicines which I still recall with shudders from my childhood!).
I made raspberry extract myself once, with lightly stewed then liquidised and sieved fresh raspberries. We grew our own raspberries when we lived in Europe, and the taste of this drink reminded me strongly of our own brew. We used to sweeten it with a little honey (yes, we had beehives too!) and give it to the children as a hot toddy when they had sore throats. In some ways this drink reminded me of those days, probably because the fruit flavour does taste so authentic, and partly too because the ingredients are all natural - just as I would have used them. I don't have time to do brews like that these days so it is good to know you can still get real foods even if you live in a city. I can't wait to sample the next flavour in the range.
Just as a PS, I had to drive home from my friend's place later that day. It was a five hour drive on a very hot day so I filled a couple of bottles of water for the trip. One was the Pete's bottle which I had not bothered to rinse as we had not long finished the contents. It was a pleasant surprise to find that the raspberry residue had flavoured the water so it was just like one of those "fruit waters" you can buy at exorbitant prices from a garage or supermarket. It was really nice, thirst quenching and with just enough hint of flavour for me to imagine that I was drinking designer water rather than just ordinary tap water from my friend's house!
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