Refreshe is a product of Better Living Brands LLC which is an owned company under the Safeway umbrella. Refreshe is indeed a supermarket tonic. I got this bottle for a mere 50¢. Which I suppose is as good of a deal as you can expect to find. Cans were going in a 12 pack for $1.99, or a cool 17¢/can.
But I digress. You probably already knew it was inexpensive by the art and the name*. Refreshe Diet Tonic Water is sweetened with saccharin (4mg/oz.) and has quinine hydrochloride, a salt that contains quinine, the usual bittering agent in tonic waters.
A surprisingly persistent head of effervescence forms when Refreshe Diet Tonic is poured. A good deal of bubbles stick to both the bottom and the sizes of the glass, but they are fizzing rapidly.
Pretty much no nose on Refreshe Diet Tonic, which can be a desirable attribute in that it will let the gin’s nose come through without modification.
The palate is surprisingly clean and soda like for the first second-or-so. Medium sized bubbles hit the tip of your tongue, but they’re gone before you really get to the flavor.
With me, the saccharin tends to hit my detection late. Even later than the quinine comes on. Crisp dull bitterness escalates into a slightly metallic, but never overpowering bitterness.
It’s on the long finish where I find the cloying peculiarities of saccharin are throwing me off. It makes me pucker, almost as if this was a lemon or lime.
I mixed up Refreshe Diet Tonic Water with a little bit of Sippewissett Gin. It begins gin and soda, the mid-palate is nice, but it clashes on the finish as the sweetness comes in seemingly from the back of the palate.
Saccharin can be divisive, but fans of Saccharin as their alternative sweetener may that Refresh Diet Tonic hits the spot.
I like the way it lets the gin shine early, but the onset of the sweetness overpowers the gin flavor at a point where most tonics let it shine through.
*Design is at a point where as a people, decent design isn’t beyond the reach of most companies, let alone a multimillion dollar company such as Safeway. I figure that brands like this look generic because that certain 80s/low-effort-futuristic aesthetic sells products, perhaps better than a well-designed label might.