So, recently I was asked to review a brand new product to the UK – the Zeo range of soft drinks. Having looked at their website, I was intrigued: firstly, because they’re Russian (and soft drinks rather than vodka-based!), and secondly because they claim to use “interesting and surprising flavours that spark off each other to create something rather special.”
I was sent one bottle of each of the three carbonated flavours to test: 275ml beautiful glass bottles that claim to contain “a secret blend of fruits and botanicals brought together to create a refreshing, tingling taste sensation, without using a single artificial ingredient”. Even better, they range from 45 to 59 calories per bottle, meaning that they’re far less calorific than a lot of alternative soft drinks that are on the market.
One of the big selling points is the tingling sensation that they apparently provide when you drink them – apparently due to the range of botanicals that are included. It’s a range that is very much aimed at adults rather than children, with its sophisticated branding and range of (primarily citrus-based) flavours.
All three drinks are all very different…
1. Burst: I started with this variety as, in addition to peach, it includes grapefruit which is one of the very few foods that I can’t stand. Slightly pinkish in colour, it was the grapefruit smell that stood out when I first opened the bottle, giving way to the peach. They’re right about the tingling sensation – it’s almost as if they’re trying to replicate the slight tingle of alcoholic drinks without the booze – and I can see how people would find this refreshing. I couldn’t get past the grapefruit though, and it left a strange feeling in my mouth afterwards – similar to the feeling you get after using a very strong mouthwash.
2. Zest: Looking like a cloudy lemonade, the Zest variety combines lime flesh and zest – which you can certainly smell when you open the bottle, although it smells a little synthetic to me. Again, that tingle came through, and the disappointment that I was expecting from the smell was justified. The drink has a very fruity flavour on the aftertaste, but before that it’s just a little…well…medicinal. I didn’t enjoy this one at all.
3. Crush: This is the one that I was the most excited about trying, as it contains blood orange (one of my favourite fruits), along with fresh lime, lemon and orange. It’s not very appealing in its colour (think urine) but it smelt lovely – you could really smell the blood orange when the bottle was opened. This was the most zesty and citrusy of the lot, and I quite liked the flavour…but that tingle really did put me off, and the aftertaste wasn’t fantastic.
After trying these new drinks, I was a little disappointed: while a lot of time and money has obviously gone into their packaging, their branding and the concept, the actual contents of the bottles was a bit of a let down. I don’t think I’ll be trying them again, but if you’re interested in giving them a go, you can buy them from Ocado for £4.29 for 4 x 275ml bottles (price correct at the time of writing). Alternatively, visit drinkzeo.com to find out more.
Please note: these drinks were received free of charge, but in no way impacted on our opinion. We were not obliged to write a positive review, and the company did not see this review before it was put up on the site.