Liquid Death, the maker of every podcaster’s favorite canned water, is coming for Arizona Iced Tea’s crown! The brand (which makes water, sparkling water, and flavored sparkling water) has just launched a new line of low-sugar low-calorie iced teas in their signature tallboy style cans, giving us three puny-named flavors including Grim Leader, Armless Palmer, and Rest In Peach.
What’s next? Liquid Death Soda?! No really, we’re asking. We’re totally on board if the brand wants to do that. Coke needs some comp.
The new line will be sold as both single cans or 8-pack cases like the rest of the Liquid Death product family and are priced at $2.69 for a single can or $16.99 for the case. Like the Liquid Death flavored sparkling water, these drinks are all sweetened but… just barely. Each can clocks in at 30 calories with just 6 grams of sugar from agave nectar. If you’re hoping for a kick out of this drink, keep hoping, because it’s not an energy drink it’s a lot more in line with a can of Coca-Cola (with a significantly healthier amount of sugar). Each can provides just 30mg of caffeine, as well as vitamins b6 and b12, which will give you a slight head change but won’t get you wired like a Red Bull or a cold brew coffee (which hover in the 100-200mg range).
That hasn’t stopped Liquid Death from launching an ad campaign that combines Monty Python’s famous “Hell’s Grannies” sketch and Jackass stunts, merging the two ideas with a truly frightening commercial that shows grannies playing brutal death metal, grinding on rails, and shooting rockets out of their asses. No, they’re not actual grannies, and that makes the whole thing way more f*cking frightening. I haven’t been this legitimately scared of a commercial since Paul Giamatti voiced that weird Burger King commercial that was simply dubbed “Nightmare.”
Disturbing-ad-that-I’ll-never-be-able-to-purge-from-my-memory aside, is the new tea any good? And which is the best? We set out to find out by trying all three. Let’s dive in.
Liquid Death Iced Tea
If you’re a fan of Liquid Death you probably know the brand has never met a pun it doesn’t love and that unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your sense of humor) extends into the tea line. Since all but one of the names gives a clear indication of what the actual flavor is, let me break each down for you. There is ‘Armless Palmer,’ which as you might’ve guessed is based on an Arnold Palmer (one part tea, one part lemonade), the most cryptic, Grim Leafer, which is based on an Earl Grey style black tea, and Rest In Peach, which features a mix of black tea and peach flavor.
I’ll talk about them in the order I drank them, which was coincidently in alphabetical order, starting with the Armless Palmer.
Liquid Death’s version of the Arnold Palmer is very mild, it has a great balance between the earthy flavors of black tea with a subtle lemon top note. If you’ve ever had an Arnold Palmer made with sweet tea, this is far from that. It’s just sweet enough to not be bitter, but not so overly sweet that you can feel it eating away at your teeth.
There is no actual lemonade in this mix, it’s black tea and lemon juice concentrate so it doesn’t have that intense sweetness you’d expect from lemonade. In a way, it’s not an Arnold Palmer at all, just a citrusy black tea. Even though the name feels a bit like a false promise, I still think it tastes pretty damn good.
Next, I had the Grim Leafer.
As a person who loves tea, Earl Grey is a flavor profile I’m very familiar with. While I don’t think the Grim Leafer delivers the same complexity as your typical Earl Grey tea there is a lot of great flavor found here. On the palate, you’ll get a nice earthy and slightly malty base with a bergamot orange top note and a soft and delicate mouthfeel.
The flavor combination is so good that I think Liquid Death could’ve gotten away with skipping the agave nectar to sweeten it — there is a natural edge to this flavor that sets it apart from the other two.
Which brings us to Rest In Peach.
This is by far the most fragrant of the flavors with a strong artificial peach smell on the nose. I’m a big fan of peach-sweetened teas but I have to say that of all the three, this was the biggest disappointment for me. It’s not that the flavor is bad — it’s not, but it just doesn’t taste anything like tea to me.
The peach flavoring (which also has characteristics of apricot and pear) completely overpowers the tea resulting in a flavor that tastes almost entirely like peach with just a hint of something. I say something because if I had tried this drink blindfolded I’d never guessed that tea was lurking in there. I want to say it tastes like “dirty peach water,” because that seems mean, but that is kind of what it tastes like.
Let me say that I don’t think Rest In Peach tastes bad, if you like peach iced tea you might still like this a lot but it’s easily my least favorite and that’s because I think the tea takes a backseat to the peach.
The Bottom Line:
Liquid Death’s iced tea line is great, and I prefer both the Grim Leafer and the Armless Palmer to Arizona Iced Tea’s over-sweetened canned teas. But I think my biggest disappointment in this line is that Liquid Death didn’t attempt a green tea. Maybe they felt like they couldn’t compete with Arizona’s famous Green Tea with Honey, but I would’ve at least liked to see them try.
Here is my ranking for each flavor:
3. Rest In Peach: Too heavy on the peach, not enough tea. Overly fragrant and distracting. Not as good as Arizona’s Iced Peach Tea.
2. Armless Palmer: A delicious balance of lemon flavors and black tea. Delicate and not sickly sweet. Less sweet and more subtle than Arizona’s Lemon Tea/Arnold Palmer.
1. Grim Leafer: By far the best canned or bottled black tea drink on the market. Malty and complex. No equivalent from Arizona.
Pick up Liquid Death Iced tea at Amazon.