So, mint is an extraordinarily versatile, exceedingly summer-appropriate ingredient. It can add a refreshing bite to savory dishes, is the essential main ingredient in basically all of the world’s best ice cream flavors, and is the star of the show in that most refreshing of summer beverages, the mojito (without which would basically just be watery rum).
Mint is the miracle substance that makes Asia’s hellish, your-buddy-just-spontaneously-combusted-hot summers just the slightest bit tolerable; a fact that beverage and snack makers in Japan are finally catching onto, with each passing year seeing better and more diverse mint-infused offerings.
But lemon and mint? That’s the new flavor combo Pepsi is banking on to be the next big thing with its new “Pepsi Special Lemon Mint” drink offering, and we’re just the slightest bit wary.
It should be noted that mint and some type of citrus isn’t exactly a new concept. That’s the basic idea behind our aforementioned mojito, which we are (obviously) now currently imbibing, and we’re pretty sure we saw a mint and orange-flavored candy bar somewhere once. But not all citrus is created equal and, in our humble opinion, if there were to be one citrus juice not compatible with mint, it would have to be lemon.
Still, Pepsi seems confident in their new product, sending a chirpy press release our way extolling the virtues of the new, Food for Specified Health Uses-qualified beverage.
As part of the beverage company’s “Special” lineup of FOSHU-endorsed beverages, Pepsi Special Lemon Mint claims to block the production of new fat cells when the drink is consumed together with a meal. We’re not going to get into how much truth there is to that, though…
FOSHU endorsement or no, the true question at hand is, does the drink taste good? Well, the beverage just happened to hit shelves yesterday, so we went out to a nearby convenience store to grab one for ourselves.
The seal at the top is the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare’s FOSHU stamp of approval
We figured we had a pretty good idea of what the beverage would taste like even before we took the plunge, anticipating that cloying, artificial citrus-y sweetness common in cola drinks of this ilk. But, popping open the PET bottle and taking a swig, we were surprised to find the initial, dominant flavor is just that of a standard Pepsi, with just the slightest hint of mint leaf and a very faint lemon flavor coming in on the tail, finished with the inevitable tang of artificial sweetener.
A mere five calories per serving!
Despite initial expectations, we have to say the new Pepsi Special Lemon Mint is actually pretty good! Although we’re skeptical of the beverage’s health claims, the flavor alone is enough to make this a go-to summer drink choice when time of day or other circumstances rule out the boozy goodness of a mojito.
Pepsi Special Lemon & Mint is available throughout Japan now, although we did have a heck of a time finding a convenience store location that sells it; after scouring most of Shibuya trying to find one of the things, we finally came across a Lawson that was stocking it. It’ll set you back something like 150 yen (US$1.20) for a 490ml bottle.
Photos © RocketNews24; promotional images via Pepsi Co.