What Makes a Great Cranberry Juice?

A tart and flavorful drink, cranberry juice also boasts essential nutrients and antioxidants. In addition to being a healthy everyday treat, cranberry juice can also be used to prevent or overcome mild colds. Our chefs define a high-quality cranberry juice as having a true, cranberry red color that is unaffected by any added juices. It should be clear and free of any sediment or cloudiness, and it should be transparent when held up to a light. The taste profile should feature a strong and refreshing sourness that is balanced by lower levels of sweetness contributed by added fruits. This sweetness should be fruit sweetness as opposed to sugar sweetness. At the right levels, these basic tastes will create the taste balance that makes this juice so refreshing. Among the flavors, cranberry flavor will dominate, while other fruit flavors should round the juice out and give it complexity. The various flavors should work together synergistically and be balanced to increase the addictive quality which makes the juice so enjoyable. The juice’s astringency, which our chefs define as “the tendency of some foods to make your mouth pucker,” should be enough to be refreshing and cleanse the palette, yet not so much that it makes it a chore to drink.

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Tasting terms

  • taste profile

    The expected levels of each basic taste in any given food; defines the overall taste balance. Example: The taste profile of baking chocolate is led by bitterness that is balanced by a low amount of sweetness.

  • basic tastes

    Tastes that are experienced exclusively by the tongue, and not in conjunction with the sense of smell. The basic tastes are sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami. Example: If a raw onion is tasted while one’s nose is pinched, only the sweet and sour basic tastes will come through.

  • flavor

    A combination of a food's basic taste and its accompanying aroma, flavor is the distinctive taste of a food or ingredient while it is in the mouth. Along with aroma, appearance, texture and taste, flavor is one of the five dimensions considered by ChefsBest Master Tasters. Example: Chocolate chip cookies should have a moderate chocolate flavor accompanied by a slightly lower level of complex dough flavor that includes egg, flour, vanilla and brown sugar notes.

  • astringency

    The tendency of some foods to cause the mouth to pucker; often associated with the presence of tannins or acidity. Example: Red wine, tea, grapefruit juice and pickles can be astringent.