Category Archives: Mixers

Samovar’s Valentine’s Day Romance Tea Set

I like tea. I would like to drink more tea. Maybe a loved one should give me something like this for Valentine’s Day to encourage said tea drinking.*

Samovar Tea Lounge bundles three of its most “seductive and sensuous” teas into one box, offering four-ounce cans of each along with a mesh infuser that fits in your mug. The three teas are all pretty good: Maiden’s Ecstasy, a Pu-erh tea, is perhaps my favorite of the trio, rich and earthy but lightly sweet. The green tea, Jasmine Pearl, is traditional in flavor but comes packed into little balled-up leaves that unfold as they steep. Finally there’s Wild Rose Bai Mudan, which includes wild grasses and rose petals — not my favorite as it’s overly perfumy, but not a bad change of pace vs. chamomile.

*Loved ones please do not give me this. I already have it.

$79 /

Samovar Gift Box Samovars Valentines Day Romance Tea Set

Review: Allday Energy Shot

All day I’ve felt barely awake… so an “energy shot” was probably in order to feel awake enough to make it through the evening.

Allday Energy (their spelling) relies on L-Carnitine, L-Arginine, and D-Ribose — three things I’ve never heard of — to pump you up. Presumably lots of caffeine, too.

Naturally, that comes at a price. While the company claims it is delicious, Allday Energy is really quite awful, like cough syrup mixed with Kool-Aid… a difficult combination to stomach. I got it down eventually and, I’m happy to report, I finally woke up… but that might also have been thanks to the three pieces of pizza I sucked down. (And yet, I can still taste the Allday Energy, several hours later.)

Based on this limited testing, I can’t tell you if Allday Energy is any better at waking you up than other energy shots… but I can assure you it is one of the less delicious shots out there.

B- / $2.99 per 2 oz. shot /

allday energy Review: Allday Energy Shot

Review: Fever Stimulation Beverages

Tonight you’ll be consuming vast quantities of alcohol (remember one for your homies at Drinkhacker, y’all), so what better way to prep for the festivities than by downing something to up the level of your game.

That’s the theory, anyway, of Fever, which aims to “Make Healthy Sexy,” with its collection of herbal, non-carbonated beverages designed to “stimulate the body.” (Some say that’s code for aphrodisiac… you be the judge.)

They aren’t energy drinks, mind you, but herbal-infused concoctions that include such ingredients as Epidmedium brevicornum Maxim DeL, Clavo Huasca, and Pfaffia paniculata MK. Mostly exotic herbs, they’re designed to promote “pleasure, euphoria, and anti-oxidation.”

Three versions are currently on the market, each with natural caffeine from green tea and containing 260 calories in each (very, very cold) 16-oz. can.

Mango Banana tastes like neither of its namesakes, but it has a chalky texture and a muted banana finish that makes it at least hint at the yellow fruit. All versions of Fever have a bit of bitterness to them — almost certainly the result of all the herbal infusions — hence the need for big fruit flavors to make them more palatable. Mango and banana may not be enough. C

Kiwi Strawberry packs a more teen-friendly punch, berry in the body but with a raisin-like finish that makes it a bit less pleasant. C-

Pineapple Coconut is arguably my favorite of this bunch, a pina colada wannabe that is hefty on the coconut, which helps to mask some of those bitter herbal notes. B

As for the functional claims of the drink, ultimately I’m feeling about as “stimulated” as usual… but mostly I just want to find something to get this taste out of my mouth.

each $2.50 per 16-oz. can /

fever stimulation beverage Review: Fever Stimulation Beverages

Review: Cuca Fresca Cachaca and Caipirinha

It’s been a while — too long, perhaps — since we sampled a new cachaca at Drinkhacker HQ, but Cuca Fresca has arrived to our watering palates.

Cuca Fresca Cachaca - This unaged Brazilian rum is intensely fragrant, filling the room with sweet lime notes. The body is more typical of cachaca, with that smoky character that all young cachaca tends to have, but it’s balanced by a good amount of sweetness and citrus. The finish is light and even refreshing, something I rarely say about cachaca. A great choice for starting your caipirinhas. 80 proof. A- / $18

Cuca Fresca Classic Caiprinha – Don’t want the trouble of mixing lime and sugar with your cachaca to make a caiprinha? Pour this pre-mixed version directly on the rocks. This 44-proof concoction claims only natural ingredients — cachaca, lime, and sugar (which settles on the bottom of the bottle — shake well!) — so I had awfully high hopes. It certainly doesn’t taste bad, but it’s a little heavy on the sweet and doesn’t have enough lime for my tastes. It’ll work in a pinch, but it’s unfortunately not really a substitute for the real deal. (When is it ever?) Note that the cork-topped bottle tends to leak when shaken. Cuidado! B / $18 per 1-liter bottle

Cuca Fresca Premium Cachaça Review: Cuca Fresca Cachaca and Caipirinha

Review: Purista Instant Mojito Mixes

Premixed cocktails are always a dicey proposition, and Purista’s two new mixers probably aren’t going to win any overnight fans.

Offering two spins on a theme — a traditional Mojito and a Blackberry Mojito — these mixes promise they are “hand-crafted” creations made with premium ingredients: In the case of the former, all-natural ingredients including sugar cane juice, mint leaves, key lime juice, and natural flavors.

Surprise then that, when mixed in the proportions recommended by the bottle (1 part mix, 1 part white rum, 2 parts club soda), a Purista Mojito doesn’t taste like much. In my experiments, it mostly tasted like club soda, maybe with the lightest touch of rum and lime. Really no mint at all. Doubling up on Purista mix helped, but quickly caused me to overdo it, turning the normally refreshing mojito cocktail into something far too sweet — and again, lacking in mintiness. C+

The Blackberry Mojito mix (a deep purple which adds blackberry juice as its only additional ingredient) is even less forgiving, sour in small proportions and worse in larger ones. While the standard Purista can be doctored, this one doesn’t work no matter what you do to it. D+

$10 per 750ml bottle /

Review: Mini Chill and iChill “Relaxation Shots”

Energy is for sissies. The future is all about the chillax.

Little two-ounce plastic shots filled with caffeine, taurine, and other ‘ines are all the rage, but the newer phenomenon is shots designed not to pump you up but to cool you down.

Two boxes of these things arrived on virtually the same day, both with “Chill” in the name. It’s probably recklessly irresponsible to down this much chilling power all at once, but that’s why we’re here: So you don’t have to. Here’s what it’s like to be this “chill.”

mini chill shot Review: Mini Chill and iChill Relaxation ShotsMini Chill Relaxation “Natural Stress Relief” includes Valerian Root, GABA, L-Theanine, and 5-HTP. I don’t know what most of that stuff is, but I do know it’s purple. The flavor is berry-like but mild, very lightly sweet via a light touch of sucralose, and actually pretty easy to drink. Do I feel relaxed after polishing one off? Yes, but I’m barely awake enough to finish typing this as it is. Nothing to do with the beer, I’m sure. B+ / $36 for twelve 2-oz. bottles /

iChill Relaxation Shot “Blissful Berry” is a much different formulation, including Vitamins B3, B6, B12, B5, Valerian Root, Rose Hips, and Melatonin. While Mini Chill purports to be non-drowsy in its formulation, iChill specifically suggests it might knock you out. That’s if you can finish it off. The taste of iChill is horrible, to be honest, oversweetened to oblivion with a Stevia-based additive, with a bitter finish and a phony berry character. Tastes like medicine. Chilling medicine. D+ / $37.50 for twelve 2-oz. bottles /

Does this stuff work? Maybe. But frankly a Melatonin or Valerian Root tablet might do you just as much good if you’re feeling a little too wired.

Review: Tribeca Light Pre-Mixed Cocktails

Pre-mixed, bottled cocktails that include alcohol continue to make a splash. Tribeca Light’s tactic: Do it all with a low-calorie approach; the label promises that a glass of a Tribeca-tail packs just half the calories of a standard cocktail.

Naturally, some sacrifices may be in order… the promise of a “sophisticated taste in a natural juice malt cocktail” is certainly not the most enticing come-on I’ve ever received, and Tribeca’s faux-deco, ’80s-styled packaging doesn’t really prepare one for the top shelf, either.

Tribeca Light premix cocktails Review: Tribeca Light Pre Mixed CocktailsUltimately what we have here is a malt beverage in the Smirnoff Ice mode, one created with natural juices… plus artificial colors and artificial sweetener. Tribeca Light mixes proudly proclaim they contain alcohol, but at 10.2% alcohol each, they don’t contain much…

Three flavors are now being introduced. Here are thoughts on the full lineup.

Tribeca Light Mojito packs a lot of lime in, and just a little mint kick. The malt-bev base isn’t easy to miss, with that boozy kind of finish that comes off as bulkish. The sweetener, though, is the problem. It’s probably sucralose, with that overpowering saccharine aftertaste that the stuff always leaves in your mouth. B-

Tribeca Light Margarita tastes little like a freshly-made margarita. If you’re a fan of super-sweet margarita mix with a little splash of booze in it, well, you’ll love Tribeca Light’s rendition. C-

Tribeca Light Pomegranate Martini is a close approximation of what you’d get if you mixed cough syrup and Zima together and let it go flat. Mmmmm…. D

pricing TBD /

Review: CurrantC Black Currant Nectar

I can’t speak to the claim that “black currants have twice the antioxidants of blueberries,” but as mixers go, CurrantC actually works well for those looking to up the health quotient of their intake, alcoholic or not.

CurrantC is, as the name suggests, nectar of black currants, 43% juice and the rest water and agave syrup. A 16 oz. bottle contains 300 calories and (yow) 68 grams of sugar, which might explain why it tastes so good. Sweet and surprisingly thick, it’s tart but not super-sour the way straight cranberry or blueberry juice can be.

Oddly, while CurrantC comes in six flavors, they all taste about the same. I couldn’t detect much influence of Passion Fruit or Blueberry in the various renditions, but regardless of their lack of individuality, they all come across as solid products.

B+ / $4.29 per 16-oz. bottle /

currantc group shot Review: CurrantC Black Currant Nectar

Review: Cocaine Energy Drink

You don’t name your beverage “Cocaine” because it’s subtle. Banned in numerous jurisdictions (despite the warning on the label that the product does not in fact include cocaine nor is it intended to be used a substitute for any street drug (“and anyone who thinks otherwise is an idiot”)), Cocaine is intended to raise eyebrows and encourage the interest of thrill-seekers.

But really, what energy drink isn’t?

Sold in the usual 250ml cans, Cocaine comes in two main varieties (plus a sugar-free version, which I didn’t try). The blue Cocaine Mild is a pink, easy-drinking concoction, fragrant with sweet strawberry character but quite a bit chalky. It’s saltier than I’d expected but not oppressively so — a bit like Gatorade, if it has been blended with some jam. B

The red-can version, Cocaine Spicy Hot, is the slightest bit more red in color and, indeed, is spicy hot as the name suggests. There’s basic fruit and berry flavor, but a jalepeno-like heat overwhelms the drink. Some may find this exhilarating, but it really makes the drink hard to down casually. Perhaps that’s the point — to limit intake — but I figure it actually helps make Spicy Hot a better mixer than a straight-outta-the-can experience. B-

For both versions, additives include taurine, inositol, vitamins B6, B12, and C, L-Camitine, and D-Ribose. A whopping 280mg of caffeine rounds out each can.

about $2 per 8.4-oz. can /

cocaine energy drink Review: Cocaine Energy Drink

Review: Burnett’s Cocktails

More pre-mixed, ready-to-pour cocktail offerings, this time from Burnett’s which turns out some 20 vodkas and gins in every flavor imaginable. With these three concoctions, Burnett’s turns its vodkas into three simple bar standbys.

All are 30 proof and come in big, plastic 1.75-liter jugs. They are intended to be served on the rocks, but all must be refrigerated after opening.

Burnett’s Cosmo is made with vodka, natural flavors (cranberry juice and triple sec), and artificial colors, and it’s a perfectly credible rendition of the classic cosmopolitan. Like day-glo Kool-Aid, it’s a cosmo through and through, with a lightly cranberry fruit flavor and a little vodka kick. It’s a bit too sweet for my tastes — not that I drink a lot of cosmos — but I expect the target audience won’t really mind. B+

Burnett’s Margarita is a standard tequila recipe, with tequila, lime juice, triple sec, and vodka. Wait, what? Yeah, it’s a vodka+tequila margarita, which likely explains why there’s very little tequila character here. As with the Cosmo, it’s very sweet but not overly so. You can taste the lime and orangey triple sec, with really just a hint of tequila’s agave. Arguably best with salt, which keeps things more interesting. B-

Burnett’s Mojito is even stranger: It’s a mojito made without rum. Vodka stands in with lime juice and a “hint of mint” here to produce what is a strange little concoction. It isn’t bad. The mint is more than a hint, but it’s not particularly minty — almost evergreen, actually. The lack of rum is definitely not something that passes by without notice, and again that wild sweetness grabs hold as you sip the drink. Again, not bad, but a little strange compared to a real mojito — or even Bacardi’s pre-mixed version. C+

$16 per 1.75-liter bottle /

Review: Southern Comfort Sweet Tea and Hurricane Cocktails

Let’s be frank. Southern Comfort has a difficult reputation. Everyone I know has a story involving the peach-flavored liqueur, and it usually ends up with a blackout or someone’s head being shaved against their will.

Hey, it’s party booze. Nothin’ wrong with that.

SoCo is expanding its little empire with the craze du jour — premixed cocktails. As with many of these, no doctoring is intended. You just fill a glass with ice, pour in the stuff, and drink away.

Two flavors are launching, and we got to try a handle of each. Both are 30 proof and come in 1.75 liter bottles.

Southern Comfort Sweet Tea Cocktail is meant to evoke the flavors of sweet tea, a natural fit considering SoCo’s southern roots. The peachiness of SoCo is upfront here, a good slug of that apricot-like, sweet peach, with a backbone of tea. I don’t want to undersell it: It’s got a ton of peach flavor to it, which may be a turn-off for you if you’re looking for an authentic tea character. Ultimately I far prefer something like Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka with water and ice than this, but in a pinch it’ll do. Try adding a little water to cut down on the overpowering peach character. B-

Southern Comfort Hurricane Cocktail has an authentic, day-glo red color, but again it’s so peachy you won’t be reminded of those slurries served in every quickie-mart in New Orleans. Maybe that’s a good thing, dunno. Imagine SoCo mixed with a can of Big Red and you’ll have a sense of what drinking this concoction is like. Some cherry, some orange. Lots of peach, even more sweetness. Again, this all improves if you let the ice melt a lot or add water, but this one’s a bit tougher to recommend. C

$20 each per 1.75-liter bottle /

southern comfort hurrican sweet tea cocktail Review: Southern Comfort Sweet Tea and Hurricane Cocktails

Drinking Ginger Beer with Fever-Tree’s Tim Warrillow

What’s that hot kick in your typical ginger beer from? If you said ginger, you’re probably wrong: Many brands put cheap chili pepper oils in their brews to give them that kick, which is why so many come off as hot, but not particularly spicy in the way that real ginger is.

That’s just one of the insights I was granted by Tim Warrillow, a co-founder of Fever-Tree, whose artisinal mixers (particularly its tonic water) are the bottles of choice for discriminating drinkers.

We reviewed the company’s Ginger Ale previously — and in the next few weeks (late July 2009) Fever-Tree will finally bring its long-awaited Ginger Beer to the U.S. (It’s already the company’s #2 selling product in the UK, after tonic water.)

Warrillow brought a four-pack by today and we compared his new offering with standbys, including Reed’s, Bundaberg, and the new Gosling’s.

Warrillow’s pride is wholly appropriate. As much as I liked Gosling’s compared to its competition at the time, Fever-Tree runs rings around this brew to the point where I’m almost embarrassed. Intensely spicy with an amazing flavor of fresh ginger, you can actually see bits of ginger floating in the bottle. It’s almost translucent, there’s so much of it in there. By comparison, Reed’s honey-and-pineapple-sweetened ginger beer is pathetic, and the other two ginger beers tasted were effectively weaklings.

That translates to throat-warming heat and lots of it, with a lasting finish that is really quite delicious. But Fever-Tree Ginger Beer isn’t a one-man show. It’s perfectly sweetened (with cane sugar, not corn syrup), and is equally palatable on its own as it is with rum (the Dark & Stormy) or vodka (the Moscow Mule). Or, hell, whatever else you want to throw in there. Fever-Tree’s new brew can stand up to anything, I assure you.

A+ / $5.69 (estimated) for four-pack of 6.8-oz. bottles /

Snapple Goes Natural

The call it the Best Stuff on Earth. Hyperbole, perhaps, but at least that now means it’s not loaded with corn syrup.

That’s right: Snapple has the “natural” bug, undergoing what the company calls the most significant makeover in its 37-year history, replacing corn syrup with natural cane sugar. (Previous “natural” claims got Snapple into legal trouble…) Depending on the variety, calories are reduced up to 20 percent in the process.

I’m trying two varieties — Green Tea and Peach Tea — and find both refreshing and completely lacking in any harsh chemical character. The Peach is appropriately sweet, lightly flavored (“natural flavors” and citric acid are the only ingredients beyond water, tea, and sugar) and with a good dose of fresh tea flavor (both black and green tea leaves are used). A 16-ounce bottle has 180 calories but (yikes) 45 grams of sugar.

The Green Tea is a little closer to something you might call healthy — 131 calories and just 33 grams of sugar in a 17.5-ounce bottle. Full of fresh, natural, green tea flavor and slightly less sugary, but still sweet.

I haven’t tried enough of the Snapple Natural varieties to offer a full grade or review, but am enjoying what I’ve tasted so far. (I wanted to compare them to the old, corn-syrup Snapples, but they all seem to have vanished from the market already.) Try one for yourself and see how you think the new Snapple stacks up!

$1.50 to $2 per bottle / [BUY IT HERE]

snapple tea natural Snapple Goes Natural

Review: Señor Sangria

Pre-mixed, bottled sangria can be a dicey proposition. I mean, is it that hard to make good sangria yourself?

Well, yes, yes it is. That’s why you never make it at home, lardo — you’re too lazy. And you’ve got to have lots of fresh fruit handy. And a knife.

Screw that and pop open a bottle of Señor Sangria, a brand new sangria from a brand new company that tastes as good as the home-made hooch. You’ll taste the difference immediately: Señor Sangria may not be made out of Chateau Petrus, but the generally good quality of the starter wine is apparent. That’s good because Señor Sangria isn’t as sweet or as fruit-bombed as many sangrias tend to be. Here the wine — hearty and rich, not overly fruity — is the main player. Sugar has been added with an even hand, and the additional citrus flavors aren’t overpowering, light citrus, apple, maybe some cherry — though of course it’s hard to tell what characteristics are coming from the wine itself instead of added fruit.

Uncomplicated to be sure, this is nonetheless good, easygoing stuff, perfect for sipping by the pool barefoot — which is exactly how I’m enjoying it, suckers! Ridiculously inexpensive, too.

8% alcohol by volume.

A- / $9 (750ml bottle) /

senor sangria Review: Señor Sangria

Review: Avitae Caffeinated Water

Take water. Add caffeine. You have just made Avitae, “energy water,” and officially written as “ávitãe” (but with a long dash over the second “a” instead of a tilde, can’t make ‘em with HTML).

Avitae’s promise is simple: You get purified water with 45mg of natural caffeine added (putting it in the same ballpark as your typical 12-oz. soft drink), no flavors of any kind, and no aftertaste. For the most part it lives up to that promise. This is very clean, clear water, with only the tiniest hint of a bitter aftertaste present — kind of like the flavor you get when you chew up an aspirin. But seriously, you have to strain to pick that out.

I’m not thrilled about the bottle shape, a cone-shaped design that, when wet (as with condensation straight out of the fridge), is prone to slipping in a floor-ward direction. The plastic is also very thin and makes weird noises when you squeeze it. Hey, maybe that means it’s good for the environment though.

B+ / $25 for 16 500ml bottles / [BUY IT HERE]

avitae water Review: Avitae Caffeinated Water

Review: Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer

goslings ginger beer Review: Goslings Stormy Ginger BeerThe canonical recipe for the Dark & Stormy cocktail calls for Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and Barritts Ginger Beer. The folks at Gosling’s are no fools though — they figure they can horn in on the other half of the D&S equation by making the ginger beer as well. To wit, they’ve spent the last year perfecting their own ginger beer recipe, with a specific eye toward making a companion for Black Seal to be used in this classic mixed drink.

The tagline “a refreshing zip of ginger” is wholly appropriate: This is a classic ginger beer, nicely sweet on first sip then bracing with a hefty dose of fresh ginger flavor. The bite is moderate to strong but fades quickly. It really is just right: Several steps above a regular ginger ale, but not overpowering like too many ginger beer brands which are busy trying to impress you with how much ginger root they can cram into the bottle. Carbonation level is spot-on, too.

Just now trickling onto the market. Give it a try if you find it — available exclusively in 12-oz. cans.

A / price TBD /

World’s Worst Diet: Red Bull for Eight Months

There are bad diet ideas, and then there’s this one: A woman lost 99 pounds over the course of eight months by consuming a diet consisting solely of up to 14 cans of Red Bull a day, “often accompanying them with nothing more than a handful of dry Honey Puffs.”


“I just continued to drink it because it’s an appetite suppressant and I noticed I was losing weight so stuck with it.”

Ms Robertson said she managed to keep her addiction secret from family and friends, and did not recover from it until after a two-week stay in hospital following a minor heart attack.

She’s better now.. except for a heart murmur and ongoing stomach and bowel cramps. And frequent anxiety attacks.

Review: Zico Coconut Water

“Nature’s sports drink,” they call it: Spiked with natural electrolytes, tons of potassium, no fat or added sugar, it’s the water of the coconut, familiar to most of us only as it regards the consumption of the occasional beachside piña colada.

Zico aims to get thirsty athletes and yoga enthusiasts drinking more of the stuff, by dropping the juice into aseptic, single-serve packages that are, if nothing else, more convenient than cracking open an actual coconut for the liquid within.

Zico comes in a straight coconut version and two flavored editions, one passion fruit with orange peel and one mango.

How does one evaluate Zico? Put simply, if you like coconut water you’ll love Zico: The unadulterated Zico is quite sweet and redolent of coconut flavor. The aroma, however, is a little funky, as all coconut water tends to be, that kind of musty note that some will find difficult to get past. The mango and passion fruit + orange peel versions are, surprisingly, not as sweet as the standard version, but I enjoyed the passion fruit one the most, which was richer in fruit flavor than the mango and did a pretty good job of balancing everything asked of it.

Mind the shelf life if you buy a case: It expires relatively quickly.

B- / $24 for twelve 11-oz. units / or buy it from Amazon

zico coconut water Review: Zico Coconut Water

Review: Pepsi Natural

With little fanfare, Pepsi Natural seems to have abruptly arrived on store shelves: I found a small stack of the new, all-natural version of Pepsi in my local Safeway, on sale for $2.99 for a four-pack of 12-oz. glass bottles. (Regular price: $3.99.)

Of course I had to buy it so I could review the stuff.

It truly is a natural product (though be clear, with 38 grams of sugar, it’s not something I’d call “healthy”): The ingredients include water, sugar, apple extract, caramel color (both for color), citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, and kola nut extract, in that order.

Foremost you’ll notice that Pepsi Natural is somewhat less carbonated than other soft drinks, which gives it less of a bracing rush and a lighter, smoother taste. It’s certainly sweet, but not cloying, and it has some of that initial spiciness that makes regular Pepsi unmistakable at first sip. But as you drink it — and it goes down fast and easy — that spice evolves into more of a cinnamon character, and by the end of the bottle (or rather, well before the end) I was really enjoying the flavor and wishing for another glass.

I don’t normally drink standard Pepsi — I find it too chemical-tasting and metallic — but this reimagination is not bad at all. It’s already on my short list of favorite sodas, and even if you’re a Pepsi-hater, I suggest you give it a try.

So, Coke… where’s yours?

A- /

pepsi natural Review: Pepsi Natural

Zuvo: The Water Purifier from the Future!

By now everyone knows how terrible bottled water is, environmentally speaking, churning out 18 godzillion pounds of trashed plastic bottles and belching 430 quadrazillion tons of greenhouse gas into the air as bottles are shipped around the world.

But what if your tap water tastes like crap? Then what are you supposed to do?

Purifiers are great, but a lot of times they don’t work so well. I have the luxury of having tap water that tastes pretty good as it is, but the built-in purifier in my fridge actually makes the water taste like onions. Yeah, it’s cold, but jeez. Onions!

Enter Zuvo. This filter sits on the countertop and attaches directly to the faucet. Setup takes just minutes, provided you have a wrench handy and a plug, as the Zuvo requires AC power to operate.

Zuvo cleans water in several ways: with ozone (purportedly an oxidant that destroys contaminants without chemical residue), with ultraviolet light (water is exposed to UV twice during the purification process), and with a standard activated carbon filter. It’s actually pretty cool to watch: When powered on (by pulling the spigot on the faucet) the UV lamp lights up the transparent filter, which swirls the water around like a vortex. The kids really dig it.

So, how’s it taste? After setting up Zuvo and clearing it out for five minutes to let the charcoal settle, I can safely say the water that comes out of Zuvo tastes like nothing. Totally clear, totally pleasant — though the water that sits in the filter (about the size of one of those drive-through bank tube cylinders) hits room temperature after a while — you’ll need ice or have to let it run if you want your water chilled. Now my water doesn’t taste like much to begin with, but there is a very slight chlorine character in the standard tap water that Zuvo successfully wiped out. I expect if your water tastes worse, you’ll get even better mileage out of the unit.

Zuvo isn’t cheap — $275 — but over time it’s far more affordable than drinking bottled water. Definitely worth a look — this is a better alternative, in my opinion, than pitcher filters, which are a pain to fill and clean and which take up gobs of fridge space — and which don’t end up with water that tastes as clean as Zuvo’s. Give it a shot! – or buy Zuvo at

zuvo water purator Zuvo: The Water Purifier from the Future!