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[Photographs: Robyn Lee]

We've long been fans of the juices from Red Jacket Orchards, a staple at New York's Union Square Greenmarket. (In fact, a bottle appeared in Ed Levine's celebratory launch announcement for this very website.) Now Red Jacket is launching a whole new identity as Red Jacket Juice, with five apple-based juices, two ciders, and two fresh fruit nectars. So we were pretty pumped to sample them.

We immediately liked the Apple-Raspberry, which held a lot of promise with its bright raspberry scent. While it was the sweetest of the juices, we were pretty impressed by how authentic the raspberry flavor tasted.

For a hot day, the Summer Blend might be our favorite choice from the lineup. It's essentially a really (really) good lemonade. The sour lemon flavor is prevalent, though ti's tempered by a gentle apple sweetness, making it refreshing and not too aggressive.

It's nice (and rare) to taste an apple juice that tastes like real, honest-to-goodness apples, and Red Jacket's Fuji Apple juice does just that by balancing sweet and tart. The first sip might strike you as being a little on the sweet side, but like a good, crisp apple, the flavor evolves toward tart, fresh, and mouthwatering.

Your feelings about the Grape-Apple juice will depend how you feel about Concord grapes—they definitely dominate the flavor of this drink, though the sweetness of the grapes is offset slightly by a tart finish from the apple.

We were a bit let down by the Black Currant juice, mostly because were were expecting a stronger presence from the black currant. Though the juice is tasty enough, there was no discernible black currant flavor.

Our least favorite of the bunch was the Strawberry juice. It smelled like cooked strawberries, which is a good thing (think strawberry rhubarb pie filling) and walked the sweet-and-sour line quite well. But the flavor seemed a bit stale, like old cooked strawberries, and the juice had a strange aftertaste. We'll be sticking with the other Red Jacket options next time.

Overall we were impressed with the range of juices the Red Jacket has developed. Have you tried them yet? How do you like them apples?

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