Sprite Cranberry Soda Review.

Uh oh – it looks like a new CRANBERRY SODA has entertered the arena!

I’m leaving “entered” misspelled because this was already a shitty opener.


There it is. Sprite Cranberry. Joining mainstays like Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash and Cranberry Canada Dry, Sprite Cranberry’s arrival involves a pretty severe overuse of the word “cranberry.” I mean jeez.


The lack of color is a real issue for me. Clear cola is Sprite’s gimmick, but we’re dealing with CRANBERRIES this time. You don’t hear the word “cranberry” and think about the fruit, or the sauce, or my weirdly-named long-dead hamster. You think of the COLOR. You imagine a swatch of deep red, or a less gross version of the elevator scene from The Shining.

Cranberry without the red is like orange without the orange. Orange minus orange equals zero, and so, by this logic, I have paid $1.79 for a two-liter bottle of nothing.


Now here’s where things get confusing.

Or more confusing, depending on where you landed with my orange math.

From smell to taste, I didn’t detect much in the realm of “cranberry.” I wouldn’t know how to describe the odor as anything but “Sprite-like,” while the flavor read as “subdued regular Sprite with a hint of bitterness.”

It wasn’t BAD, but I didn’t prefer it to the existing cranberry sodas.


…but then I realized that the Sierra Mist and Canada Dry varieties didn’t scream “CRANBERRY” either. They smell nice and they taste nice, but their connection to the fruit is mainly in color.

In the end, we are all Pavlov’s dogs.

The photo above compares a glass of Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash to a glass of Sprite Cranberry. Tasting one right after the other proved that even if I didn’t like Sprite Cranberry as much, it mostly boiled down to how red the soda was.

Moments after this, I poured a glass of the Canada Dry and compared that to the Sierra Mist. “Red versus red.” I had to admit that the odors and flavors really weren’t miles apart.

I’m not saying that there aren’t differences. Of course there are. I’m just saying that “color” is the biggest difference. We taste with our eyes, too.

My preferred order is as follows:

In first place by the narrowest of margins is Cranberry Canada Dry. It makes me think of blankets and fireplaces.

An extremely close second is Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash. It’s very red and I like the word “splash.” Plus, there’s lots of emphasis on limes. I’m all for lime emphasis.

In last place is Sprite Cranberry. It is not red at all.


Hours later, I got an idea. What would happen if I mixed all three cranberry sodas?

The result is in that paint-stained Mason jar. It’s one part Canada Dry, one part Sierra Mist and one part Sprite. And it’s garnished with raw cranberries.


It’s fucking awesome, and I’m not just saying that to curse. It tastes like fruit punch spiked with tonic water, which is about as close to “cranberry” as artificial flavors can get. Truly incredible, and I will swear that on the memory of every dead person I know.

Or maybe I just like drinking from a Mason jar?

(That’s definitely it.)

46 Responses to Sprite Cranberry Soda Review.

  1. …in before people tell me that Sierra Mist tops Canada Dry. I demand visual proof of your taste-test before I can accept that answer. (And I love Cranberry Splash, too.)

  2. I look forward to the annual release of Cranberry Splash. I thought there was a holiday Pepsi one time that was supposed to be Spice-flavored, but it was not very good. I guess cinnamon and nutmeg do not transfer well to liquid form.

  3. But the big question is, how does it taste with booze?

  4. The redless Sprite is indeed a letdown. It looks like soapy dishwater that’s been shaken up. Now I have to get me some Canada Dry; thanks for the reminder!

  5. This really needed a video review.

  6. ha! I love that you mixed them, I think I need to go buy some sprite & Canada dry, already have the sierra mist here. And Joe asks a good question! :)

  7. I’d been drinking some store brand cranberry soda, but it was discontinued last year:( I think hoarding enough of these three and mixing might work (with cake-flavored vodka… don’t judge, it’s awesome). And agreed with countz3r0– video review!

  8. @ Tony

    Yeah, the Holiday Pepsi. I remember it and kind of liked it. I think it came out in 2004. I’m not a big Pepsi (or Cola drinker, for that matter) but it had a nice spiciness to it that made it taste more unique than just the overly sweet taste of Pepsi.

  9. Cranberry Splash is definitely the biggest as far as the “big event” feel. No doubt. I reviewed it during its debut year and it was such a huge thing at the time. They started strong and they’re still strong.

    Canada Dry wins the war ever so slightly for me. Part of that is because I associate it with the fancy Christmas dinners of yesteryear. It didn’t come in cranberry back then, but still.

    If I’m throwing a party, I serve Cranberry Splash. If I’m having people over for Christmas dinner, it’s Canada Dry. So I guess I could flip between the two, depending on circumstances.

    @Tony: Yeah, loved the concept of Pepsi Holiday Spice, but really, really disliked the flavor. It was probably okay with a mixer, though.

    @Joe: I don’t know! Maybe I will in an hour’s time.

    @countz3r0: It was originally going to be! But work wanted too much of my time this week, so I could only afford to lay outside like an idiot for ten minutes, photographing soda.

  10. I thought Sprite Cranberry was okay. It reminds me of the tropical Sprite Remix soda that was out years ago. I tried all three sodas for the first time and I like both Sierra Mist and Canada Dry equally.

  11. @DESandman: I first tried the Sprite a few weeks ago, and was completely unimpressed. It wasn’t until comparing it to the others today that I noticed how the flavors, while different, weren’t different enough to be venomous towards any of ‘em.

    Soda politics!

  12. While I can certainly appreciate these three cranberry-themed drinks, the real king when it comes to citrus-based red soda pops has to be Cherry 7Up. It’s so festive and bubbly (and quite tasty)!

  13. Canada Dry was the original and thusly takes 1st place by default. It reminds me of Christmastime with my parents more than any other soda in existence. You can’t top that memory shit, yo.

  14. Matt: The real question is how do these stack up against the legendary Pomegranate 7Up? Now THAT was a kickass holiday soda! Why didn’t I stock up when I had the chance?

  15. I agree, this would have made a good video review! But I still enjoyed it because that Sierra Mist cranberry is my crack.

  16. The best thing is that there are now more options. Last year, I couldn’t find any Cranberry Sierra Mist because it was always sold out. Now at least there may be some Sprite on the shelf still. (I have never seen the Cranberry Canada Dry before – I’ll have to keep my eyes open)

  17. I was wondering when you were going to get to this one. I’ve been selling this for over a month at the grocery store where I work. Unlike the other two varieties, I haven’t tried this one yet. While it really doesn’t sound like I’m missing much, I’d still like to pick one up before the end of the season, especially since I do like Cranberry Canada Dry and Cranberry Splash Sierra Mist.

  18. Soda is very serious business.

    I have nothing more to add, I just love this place so very much because of it.

  19. Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash > canada dry cranberry ginger ale ! I will argue with anyone who says otherwise. This is something I feel VERY strongly about!
    Matt: You know in your heart, the Sierra Mist is better. Even if you won’t admit it.

  20. @Ultraman: I want to like it better. I really do. It’s more popular online, so I’d be a part of the loud majority. I also dig its label and title to death. It’s the coolest kid on the cranberry soda block.

    But, when faced with the decision, I’ve almost always gone for Canada Dry.

    Disclaimer: I got the regular kinds for this review, but I only drink regular soda for site-purposes. In everyday life I’d pick diet. So I’m really saying Diet Canada Dry > Diet Sierra Mist.

    Now I’m rambling. About soda. S ooo dd aaa.

  21. OMG, I think I love you, lol!

  22. I’m kinda surprised 7-Up hasn’t gotten into the cranberry business. Or Sunkist fruit sodas. Yea, they had pomegranite 7-up years, and cherry 7-up has been around for years, but still think it needs to be made.

  23. BTW, just got back from a RiffTrax Live showing of “Santa Claus and the Snow Fairy/Santa Claus Conquers the Martians.” Had a great time.

  24. I had the sprite a couple days ago, and was wondering were the cranberry went. Matt, you might say Canada Dry wins on taste, but you have to admit Sierra Mist has the best label.

  25. It kinda looks like Mountain Dew’s Whiteout flavor. At least when it’s in the bottle

  26. Cranberry Sprite is like the guy that comes to a christmas party with no bottle of wine in hand. Yeah, he came to the party, but he might as well not have, that ungracious heathen.

  27. Yesterday I bought some store brand “Cranberry Soda.” It was not aligned with either ginger ale or lemon-lime, just listed as cranberry soda, and it was amazing. I couldn’t serve it because, as has been pointed out, the bottle counts, but that stuff was seriously good. Its what I will sneak when no one is looking.

  28. The Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash is very good, but I can’t comment on the Sprite or Canada Dry, as I have not had the opportunity to try either. But based on color, the Canada Dry looks more appetizing.

    Also, does anybody else see a face in the mason jar?

  29. So really, the best cranberry drink of the season is Bud Lime Cran-brrrr-ita. I got one case at the grocery store yesterday, $9.99. It really does taste good.

  30. Going to the store later to get all three. If anyone asks why, my answer will be “Matt made me do it.”

  31. I’m glad you covered this because there was no way I’m buying a cranberry-flavored soda with no color. It brings a whole new level of artificialness to soda. I can’t help but imagine a man and women wearing lab coats and mixing test tubes to find this soda flavor, while apes with wires in their heads going apeshit in cages behind them. Possibly spewing blood from their mouths and causing a pandemic in London.

    Nah, the best cranberry-flavored drink is Mike’s Hard Cranberry. I could drink cases of it and usually do on Thanksgiving.

  32. This post leads me to admit one of my odd Christmas morning traditions. Every Christmas morning since I was a kid, I’ve HAD to have some kinda of special festive drink while opening presents. I’m nuts about it….could not do Christmas without it. Wether is be Holiday Spice Pepsi, or one of those hundreds of weird soda/juices they sold in gas stations in the 90′s. I have not been able to break the habit. Last year it was blueberry muffin Dunkin coffee. It just wouldn’t be the same without a festive beverage for me.

  33. I see Cranberry Splash in the stores year-round here, which takes away some of the charm. So much, that Cranberry ginger ale gets my vote. I haven’t seen or heard of Cranberry Sprite until I read this.

    I miss Pepsi Spice. It was like egg nog or chai tea Pepsi. Of course, I’m also the weirdo who misses Pepsi Blue. And I typically hate Pepsi products.

  34. Finished for the week and now I catch up on all the great holiday posts. I agree with the verdict but the Sprite is just so dang attractive.

  35. I choose Sierra Mist because it’s made with actual sugar.

    I wanna try mixing it with something but I don’t know what. Vodka?

  36. The first place that I saw these were in a Target and they were in cans. I just read this article today and I went to a gas station and they had cranberry Sprite.

  37. Sprite Cranberry is my least favorite of this trio as well, but it tastes pretty awesome with moonshine and moonshine soaked cherries.

  38. Isn’t it worth doing an experiment with mixing Sprite Cranberry with a drop or two of red food coloring? Sure you shouldn’t be doing their work for them, but with the pavlovian effect evened out it’d be interesting to see how the taste really holds up.

  39. I have a bottle of Pepsi Holiday Spice somewhere (at least I hope it didn’t get tossed) and wanted to do a video on it this year but alas it’s missing. Maybe those fawn-like creatures that live in a realm beyond my wardrobe door came in and took it one night.

    I think Cranberry Splash may just narrowly lead the pack but I lump Pomegranate 7-Up in with this lot and it’s tough competition!

  40. I don’t like ginger ale, so I have no interest in the Canada Dry, but I’ve been wanting to try the Sprite Cranberry. But after reading this, I think I’ll just stick with my Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash.

    Also, when I saw that last picture, I thought to myself, “I bet he mixed them all together.” And sure enough, you did, you magnificent bastard.

  41. I just had some of this brew at a party yesterday. Great stuff, thanks for sharing!

  42. Matt! I am an old fan of X-entertainment. When someone posted a link to this I immediately knew it was you, even tho I hadn’t checked in on you nor knew about your new projects. I guess my point is that your voice/style is so distinctive you are immediately recognizable!

  43. @Cat: Awesome! Glad you found me again! :)

  44. You really make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually something which I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complicated and very broad for me. I’m looking forward for your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

  45. Yesterday i tried some of the Sprite Cranberry Slurpee at 7-11 (no idea why they still have it at the end of Feb?) And it had zero cranberry taste, it tasted more like cherry!

  46. I WAS LATE HAVING THE OPPORTUNITY TO TRY SPRITE CRANBERRY AND I MUST SAY THE TASTE WAS TANTILIZING.I Didn’t know it was a holiday promotion but I truly wish the company would consider stocking the shelves with that favor regularly, lots of my friends fells the same. It would be a pleasant surprise to see that drink back on the shelf.

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