The results are finally in. The battle of the Grapefruit drinks was run in three heats plus a final (because the participants couldnt consume 10 cans/bottles at a sitting)!
The proposed blind tasting format was abandoned, as several of the competirors were drinks of colour (this is not meant to slight any ethnic drink or citrus challenged participants).
The first heat involving cans was almost a walkover some of the participants were clearly not competitive.
In lane 1 was Five Alive which was handicapped as it wasnt carbonated, although it does contain Grapefruit Juice. But the orange flavour clearly dominated on the nose and in the taste, which was surprisingly watery anyway. Also it came in a 341 ml can (all other cans were 355ml), so it obviously came up short. Just not competitive in the Grapefruit Class. Awarded 9th overall. Lane 2 was 7-Up Citrus Splash. Despite the several large Grapefruit pictures on the can, this was easily last and is unlikely ever to be invited back. Looked like 7-Up, smelled slightly of Grapefruit, but much too sweet with a barely perceptible taste of unidentified citrus. In last place-10th overall. The thoroughbred of this group was Sparkling Pompelmo, by Vitale, which had good grapefruit aroma and flavours with a touch of bitterness, some acid and a slightly sweet finish. Also outclassed was the fourth entry Presidents Choice Sparkling Grapefruit (although second in this group and 7th overall) with an attractive pink hue, although the bubbles dissipated very quickly. Excellent grapefruit nose, but less concentrated in flavour without the bitterness and somewhat bland overall.
Round Two was the 2-litre jugs. Because Wink Twist is still not available in cans it was matched against the Old Wink and Ruby Grapefruit. The Ruby Grapefruit (now discontinued) was just outclassed and was placed 6th overall. Medium pink in colour; sweet and fruity aromas and sweeter right through the taste. Wink and Wink Twist were closely matched. The Twist seemed slightly darker in colour; both had a tangy grapefruit aroma with Wink being slightly more fragrant and Twist slightly more fruity. On the taste they were almost identical. A dead-heat.
The third contest was the bottles. Grace Grapefruit Drink was never really in contention. Pleasantly sweet bouquet but just fruity flavours, without any of the characteristic grapefruit tanginess. 8th overall. Ting Jamaican Grapefruit was immediately noticeable as its bubbles seemed smaller, with more of them, but they disappeared quickly. A slight spiciness with a hint of ginger on the nose and a solid grapefruit flavour right through, which faded fairly quickly leaving that same hint of ginger. An excellent performance. Also competing in this round was a ringer Sumol Sparkling Passionfruit a yellowy-orange colour with excellent passionfruit aromas. Very tropical on the taste, with good acid. Good fruit taste with a very long persistent flavour but lacked the characteristic tang in the finish it finished sweet, which lost it a few marks (and merited 5th overall).
So, on to the final, and the top 4 were very close. The ginger notes in the Ting Jamaica Grapefruit were contentious enough that it just placed 4th in a very close race. As a consolation prize however, it was voted Best match with Vodka or Gin, so all of the Gin & Wink fans out there might want to try this instead. Also the Sumol Sparkling Passionfruit would be a great match in the various rum Island cocktails. Which leaves the photo finish between Wink, Wink Twist, and Sparkling Pompelmo (Vitale). For practical purposes it was a dead-heat. I finally gave the nod to Vitale because the bubbles and the flavour lasted a little longer. However, that came from a can (the other two were in bottles), which may have had something to do with it. The aromas were slightly different fragrant for Wink; fruity for Wink Twist; and tangy for Vitale. All 3 had excellent grapefruit flavour and all finished slightly sweet. Ultimately we moved onto the test of each mixed with alcohol and we dont consider any of the remaining scoring to be statistically reliable.