Serious Eats: Drinks
We Try Ritual Wellness Juices
As an unabashed fan of green juices, spicy lemonades, and cashew milks, I'm actually pretty fond of the stuff you get to drink on juice cleanses. But they're pricy, and there are a lot of brands out there, so you want to choose wisely. In New York, BluePrint cleanses are the brand you'll see most, but in Southern California, there's Ritual Wellness Juices.
Their most popular option, I was told, is their "seasonal reset cleanse"—a daily regimen of 3 green juices (all slightly different), one seasonally rotating juice, one spicy lemonade, and a nut milk. How did these compare to other juice programs? We tasted them all to find out.
The "1" green juice—spinach, kale, romaine, celery, cucumber, green apple, and lemon—ranks among my favorite of all the green juices I've tried (and I've tried a lot). I recognize the kale and romaine flavors right away, but they're nicely balanced by the sweetness of the apple and a big kick of lemon. BluePrint's green juice is actually a little sweeter than I like; the acidity of this one is a little more to my liking.
Juices #3 and #5 are quite similar, with the same mostly-green, slightly-sweet backbone. #3 has a slight bite of ginger, which I'm a huge fan of; #5 doesn't have lemon or ginger, and while I still quite enjoy it, I find that I prefer the ones with extra elements; a little lemon or ginger goes a long way. Really like the idea of rotating the green juices, though. When you have three per day, a little variety is very much appreciated.
Juice #2 rotates seasonally, and I'm digging the winter version of orange, cranberry, and red apple, which sort of reminds me of a Thanksgiving relish. Tasting much more like, well, cranberry than like Ocean Spray, its bitter-tart bite is front and center, with sweeter orange and red apple backing it up.
The spicy lemonade (here, Juice #4) is another common element between many juice cleanses. Others, such as Blueprint's, have a lemon-cayenne tastes like, well, lemonade, with a little tingle on the end. This guy is a lot spicier, whether it's more cayenne or less agave to tone it down (or both). I really enjoyed it, but this felt like a stimulant than a refreshment.
As many juice cleanses do, Ritual closes out your day with a rich, fatty nut milk. (You never know how profoundly you can crave cashew milk until you've spent a day drinking only juice.) Ritual's cashew milk (#6) isn't super-smooth; there are discernible bits of nut meat in it, ones I felt like I had to chew. On the one hand, I like the creaminess of other brands. On the other... after a day of juicing, it's actually kind of nice to chew something for a little bit. No complaints about the cinnamon-nutmeg-vanilla spicing, though.
If you're doing the full cleanse, Ritual recommends a pair of pre- and post-workout juices as an energy boost if you plan to exercise: the "pre-shred" and "post-shred." They're both tasty, if not our favorites of the bunch. The Pre-Shred—beet, carrot, pear, celery, red apple—is sweeter than some beet-based red juices we've had; you can really taste the sticky-sweet red apple and pear juice blended with the beets, pear, and carrot, but it does finish with a nice green hit from the celery. In the Post-Shred, with almonds, cinnamon, vanilla, and agave—you can immediately smell the raw almonds when you go in for a sip. Horchata-esque with the cinnamon, vanilla, and sweetener. Like the cashew milk, it's a little thin with some nut bits floating in there, not quite pulverized-smooth.
On the whole, I'm a fan of Ritual's juices—in fact, I like them better than other brands out there. The not-quite-smooth cashew milk isn't my favorite, but in terms of green juice variety, the right level of sweetness, and the awfully appealing orange-cranberry, Ritual has a lot going for it.
Any other Ritual juice fans?