Is 'Reformulated' 7 Up the Best Citrus Soda? Our Taste Test Winner Revealed

Lisa Lacy

I've always leaned toward 7 Up when it comes to lemon-lime soft drinks, but I've never had a good reason for it. So when I saw that 7 Up had recently reformulated itself (and had signed on Chris Farley's better half in Tommy Boy to promote it), I figured it was time to revisit the lemon-lime triumvirate and ally myself with one once and for all.

So ... I conducted my own Lemon-Lime Taste Test.

I rated the three major lemon-lime sodas -- 7 Up, Sprite, and Sierra Mist (nee Slice) -- in four categories, worth (arbitrarily) five points each:

  • Taste
  • Carbonation
  • Packaging Style
  • Nutrition

The Results:

7 Up

Taste: 3 points. The reformulated version is, in a word, mild. There's not much that separates it from, say, seltzer water. It's refreshing, I suppose, but it's also kind of bland.

Carbonation: 3 points. There are way too many bubbles. I think it'd almost hurt if you drank it too fast.

Packaging Style: 4 points. I miss the can with dots, but the logo is dominant and proud and the swirls are kind of trippy.

Nutrition: 3 points. The least nutritious of the bunch (not that you're looking for a "healthy" drink when you choose a lemon-lime soda ...). It has 140 calories per serving and 38 grams of sugars. The can also touts "natural flavors," but I'm not sure what that means.

Total: 13 points


Taste: 2.5 points. Sprite tastes more artificial to me than the others. But, ironically, it says it has "natural flavors," too.

Carbonation: 4 points. Less than 7 Up -- it goes down much smoother.

Packaging Style: 3 points. The bottle is minimalist, although the "Sprite" logo has perhaps been modernized since my lemon-lime-soda-laced youth.

Nutrition: 4 points. 100 calories per serving and 26 grams of sugars.

Total: 13.5 points.

Sierra Mist

Taste: 4.5 points. The best way I can think to describe it is, "It tastes like what I remember 7 Up used to taste like." In other words, it tastes like a classic lemon-lime drink and I can actually sense lemon and/or lime.

Carbonation: 5 points. Much smoother bubbles. In other words, not overly bubbly. This would never hurt your throat no matter how fast you drink it.

Packaging Style: 5 points. I like the splashing limes and lemons. It's almost anticipatory. (Although the old can with the mountains was too Mountain-Dew-like and made me feel like I should be eating a Taco Bell burrito and playing video games.)

Nutrition: 5 points. The "best" -- 100 calories per serving and 25 grams of sugars.

Total: 19.5 points.

So ... there you have it:

  • Gold: Sierra Mist
  • Silver: Sprite
  • Bronze: 7 UP

I'm surprised by the results myself ...

What's your favorite lemon-lime drink?

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