Friday, April 4, 2008

Red Vines

Red Vines Original Red TwistsThree years of Candy Blog and for the most part I’ve concentrated on candies that were new to me. But this means that I’ve neglected some classic candies, like Red Vines.

The American Licorice Company was founded in 1914 in Chicago, IL and began making something known as Raspberry Vines in 1920. In 1952 they tweaked the flavoring and renamed them simply Red Vines.

I’ve opened the can of worms in the Red Vines Giveaway about the category of confection called red licorice. In their defense, the American Licorice Company has always skirted this by simply coming up with a new and trademarked name of Red Vines for their Original Red Twists.

Red VinesAmerican Licorice is now based in Union City, California.

Red Vines are so popular (apparently they’re Crazy Delicious when combined with Mr. Pibb) that they’re the number one non-chocolate candy in the western region of the United States. I don’t know what the number one non-chocolate candy is in the eastern region. As is the case with things like tissues being called Kleenex, all colas are called Coke or adhesive bandages being identified as Band Aids, Red Vines are simply the default for red licorice. (Though in other regions that’d be the same for Twizzlers.)

What are ya gonna call it otherwise? A twisted, wheat-based confection? A long, red chew?

The candies are sold in a variety of formats, some single vines and others in a pull apart bar or textured bites. They’re exceptionally durable and can withstand temperature variations within reason inside the sealed package without much deterioration or flavor or texture. The standard in the tray is about 8.5” long and is formed via an extrusion method with a twist (four complete twists per vine). They are hollow and have crimped ends. Each vine has about 35 calories. All carbs, no fat, a trace of protein.

They smell faintly like coconut, new flip flops and strawberry shortcake lip balm. (Mmm, the smells of summer.)

They’re soft and pliable, unless you left the package open or bought expired ones, then they’re stiff and hard. Either way, they’re only lightly flavored. They’re not terribly sweet, the first ingredient is corn syrup, but the second is wheat flour ... then citric acid, artificial flavor and Red 40. That’s it. Pretty simple really.

Though it may have been raspberry flavored at one time, I think the flavor is now simply red licorice. It tastes like red. It has only the lightest tangy bite to it (the citric acid) and doesn’t leave a funky aftertaste and is one of the few red candies that I don’t actually taste the red food coloring in.

The cool thing is that it’s cheap, easy to share and has that lowest common denominator factor that you’d be hard pressed to find someone who won’t join you when you offer it (and it’s usually because of allergens, not true dislike).

I don’t eat the stuff very often. It’s fine for movies or when I want to share with my husband (they actually make a pack of Bites which has a mix of the black and red which I’ve bought just for that purpose). I’m not saying it’s bad candy, but I’m happier to give it away than eat it. Red Vines just makes me want real licorice.

Related Candies

  1. Cinnamon Fire Twizzlers
  2. Kenny’s Licorice Pastels & Root Beer Twists
  3. Black Ace Licorice
  4. Twizzlers Rainbow Twists
  5. Twizzler Sourz
  6. Bassett’s Licorice Allsorts
  7. Twizted Paradise
  8. Panda Bars
Name: Red Vines
  • 10 SUPERB
  • 9 YUMMY
  • 8 TASTY
  • 7 WORTH IT
  • 4 BENIGN
Brand: American Licorice Co.
Place Purchased: samples from Red Vines PR folk
Price: $1.29 retail
Size: 7 ounces
Calories per ounce: 99
Categories: Chew, United States, American Licorice Co., Kosher

POSTED BY Cybele AT 9:25 am Tracker Pixel for Entry    

  1. These remind me of the raspberry twists that you can buy in cafes and at the pool, they definately remind me of summer too. (They used to have a pineapple version but I can’t find it anymore)

    Comment by Leigh on 4/04/08 at 4:35 pm #
  2. For me, they have to be a bit stale.  I don’t really care for them when they are soft, but if they have a bit of a chew to them - bring them on.

    Comment by Pwaully on 4/04/08 at 5:29 pm #
  3. A lifetime ago when I was a grocery store cashier, a customer told me she absolutely loved Red Vines.  It had nothing to do with flavor; she said they helped her occasional issue with “constipation”.  Yowsa!

    Comment by Anna on 4/05/08 at 7:33 am #
  4. I’ve always had a soft spot for Red Vines, maybe it’s the bright red color since they are kinda bland.  Funny thing is I can go for months without touching one and suddenly I’ll get this craving and polish off a bag in one sitting.  Anna’s story tells me I should be more careful from now on though!

    Comment by Porgy on 4/05/08 at 3:41 pm #
  5. I must note that as a grocery store cashier as well, they and similar candies have gotten more popular, if only because in my state, they are tax-exempt.

    Comment by Will on 4/05/08 at 4:59 pm #
  6. Have you tried the new Indiana Jones line of M&Ms;? I think the truly unique one is the Crispy Mint - the price was definitely a deterrent to any sampling of them, though!

    Comment by Rachel on 4/05/08 at 7:24 pm #
  7. When I was on my high school basketball team, they would make benchwarmers like me sell concessions during the summer. I passed the time picking away at the giant tub of red vines.

    Comment by Ace on 4/05/08 at 9:00 pm #
  8. red licorice is just that “RED LICORICE” It’s one of the oldest candies there is. Delicious back when and delicious now.

    Comment by Ann Wetherington on 4/06/08 at 12:15 am #
  9. Growing up in the SF Bay Area, I ate tons of these. I once tried out Twizzlers thinking they would be similar, but I couldn’t even finish the package I hated them so much.

    Comment by Totoro on 4/06/08 at 8:25 am #
  10. Amen to the Twizzlers dislike, Totoro. I’ve eaten Red Vines all my life and, like you, was fooled by the similar packaging. It seemed to taste more… fake or something. I can’t really put my finger on it, but I hated them. Maybe Twizzler vs. Red Vine head-to-head is in the future?

    Comment by MaliceAlice on 4/06/08 at 10:47 pm #
  11. I eat far too may red vines.  I can’t get enough of them…I LOVE them!  And they’re extremely popular on the West coast like you said.  Twizzlers just aren’t the same.

    Comment by Doreen on 4/07/08 at 6:24 am #
  12. I grew up with Twizzlers, so I am on the opposite side of the other commenters. I tried Red Vines once - didn’t taste right to me!

    Comment by Susan on 4/07/08 at 9:50 am #
  13. I ate a whole package of red-vines at the movies (Oh Heavenly Dog raspberry) as a child. I then had an unfortunate incident later that day. Haven’t been tempted by these since. Just thought I’d share - Red Vines are not universally loved!

    I still think of Chevy Chase and the theater every time I see Red Vines. Every time.

    Comment by KateC on 4/07/08 at 12:13 pm #
  14. I grew up in New York , so we had twizzlers instead. They were just okay. Not too great.
    When I moved to California I was totally blown away. Red Vines are awesome!! They’re so much softer & chewier than Twizzlers.

    Comment by Emily on 4/14/08 at 11:06 am #
  15. I may be one of the rare voices who actually enjoys both Red Vines and Twizzlers.  They are, in my mind, completely different candy.  Red Vines being what I think of as red licorice and Twizzlers being…well I don’t know what I would call them, but it wouldn’t be licorice.

    Comment by Pwaully on 4/14/08 at 1:38 pm #
  16. We have grown up with red licorice being called red licorice, even if it isn’t correct, who really cares?  We really only care about the taste and where we can buy them.

    Comment by Jean on 4/14/08 at 2:33 pm #
  17. I ive in Georgia, I I have never seen a Red Vine. All we have are Twizzlers.

    Comment by Bobby on 4/21/08 at 3:26 am #
  18. Licorice is just that, licorice.  It does not refer to the contents but to the smell when you open the package and the taste as you nibble away.  Red Vines are what I will always think of when I say licorice.  “Twizzlers”, that is how I refer to anything else that calls itself licorice. You know, we actually take licorice breaks here at work around 2:30.  You can gauge the stress level in the office by how many pieces someone takes!!!  Licorice = Red Vines….

    Comment by Shelly on 4/25/08 at 4:07 am #
  19. Hi.My favorte candy has to be twizzlers,. i can;t stop eating them. If i have one i will eat the whole bag.Some people say that about eating chocolate well i say that about twizzlers.Ihave never had the stawberry ones that would be bad for me but i will have to try them and see how i like them.I just love this sight,I did not know there was a webb sight all about candy. Thanks for presenting a blog that is all for candy i love that you reveiw different kinds of candy from around the country and the world. but what if i see kind of candy that i can;t get where i live and i want to try it. is there some kind of sight that i could order from thanks for letting me tell you how i so some like you webb sight thanks alot MARY HUGO

    Comment by mary e hugo on 6/15/08 at 7:14 pm #
  20. Red Vines are NOT licorice….that’s why they’re not referred to as “licorice” on the package…....just “Red Vines”.  Licorice is black and is either made with anice or licorice root.

    Give me the black stuff !!!

    Comment by Eric Holje on 6/28/08 at 7:14 pm #
  21. The first time I tried Red Vines was after I heard the ‘Lazy Sunday’ song and I’ve always been a Twizzlers freak so I was dying to try them. They are two totally different kinds of candy, though, and the Red Vines just didn’t do it for me. The flavor was too weird but I admit I liked the texture better than Twizzlers. I just discovered the ‘Australian’ soft licorice a few weeks ago and that’s been pretty awesome.

    Comment by Sea Hag on 6/28/08 at 7:24 pm #
  22. These are my all time favorite candy I think. I can buy the GIANT bag and eat the whole thing in like two days by myself even.

    Comment by Kari on 7/20/08 at 8:33 am #
  23. I tried these recently, after being born and raised on Twizzlers.

    I found them ... odd. Not bad, exactly, but strange.

    They’re a little less tough, a little more mealy in texture. The flavor is indescribable—maybe it’s just what you’re used to, but I prefer the more straight-up fake strawberry/red of Twizzlers. To my palate Red Vines taste chemically—but not in a good way.

    Comment by doug on 7/27/08 at 6:16 pm #
  24. First tried Red Vines about a month ago.  I was taken by their aroma, I find it odd, almost floral, but not quite. Certainly NOT a Twizzler!  They also seem to go hard/stale much quicker, less than a week after opening, they fought back against chewing quite well.  A very different chew.

    Comment by mIKE on 1/24/09 at 7:10 pm #
  25. I love all kinds of licorice—black and red—but I have to say Red Vines are my favorite.  Back in the ‘70’s, The American Licorice Company manufactured red licorice for Brachs Candy Company (sold under the Brachs name).  I will eat Twizzlers, but Red Vines are soooo much better.

    Comment by Joyce on 8/25/09 at 5:19 am #
  26. Do you remember ‘Grape Vines’ and ‘Chocolate Vines’ back in the 80’s?? I was just a kiddo then but I definitely remember it being the same brand as ‘Red Vines’... OMG the Grape Vines were sooo delish!!! They had the same texture/chewiness as the original red vines but in grape!!!  If you see ‘em, you’ve got to try them and blog ‘em!!

    Comment by joni baloney on 10/22/09 at 9:57 pm #
  27. how are these made and what co. came from.

    Comment by Dwight on 11/23/09 at 1:19 pm #
  28. Liqourice is called that because it is flavoured with liqourice extract. It is black and sticky and most people hate it (but I love it). Aniseed is a different flavour again, though similiar.

    So calling something with none of that in it ‘liqourice’ isn’t right. What you’re eating is called ‘chew(s)’.

    Comment by Jonathan Gray on 12/04/09 at 5:41 am #
  29. where can i buy red vines in south africa

    Comment by clinton andrew on 1/15/11 at 7:23 am #
  30. So this post is OLD, but I just tried redvines a few days ago. I’ll admit I hadn’t even heard of them before Sheldon on Big Bang Theory.. He might be funny, but he’s awful taste in candy! I was so shocked and disappointed.. LOL.. It took us a while to figure out what it tasted like (childrens toothpaste). *Shudders*

    Comment by Aniemother on 5/07/11 at 10:34 am #
  31. Best part about twizzlers or perhaps red vines - biting the crimped ends off and drinking red pop through them - the pink foam practically explodes out your nose, and you taste/smell the berry pop aroma for days. Real sinus cleanser potential.

    Comment by Stewart Pidasso on 6/17/11 at 1:06 pm #
  32. I’m bizarre and the few times I’ve had twizzlers, I’ve absolutely hated them, so I don’t like the chances for me liking these. It’s the combination of the texture and the taste that throws me off; I just can’t keep red licorice in my mouth. It’s too gross.

    Comment by Rosy on 7/31/11 at 10:38 pm #

    Did you know there were blue red vines (now discntinued)?

    Comment by benamore on 3/27/14 at 5:31 am #
  34. Movie production sets always have a big jar of Red Vines in the food break area on set.  I grew up on the East Coat, but it was those West Coast movie sets that turned me on to Red Vines.  I dig them, but I don’t eat them all that often (just trying to eat healthy.

    I too noticed their anti-constipation effect (though I didn’t really have a problem.) I sometimes recommend them to people for that reason if they need it - though they often don’t believe me!  (I’m looking at you, hubbie!) wink

    Comment by JulieD on 1/22/15 at 1:34 pm #
  35. Red Vines taste a little like Tea Berry.

    Comment by Paul on 3/07/15 at 3:37 pm #
  36. it taste like nyquil

    Comment by Elijah Ridlen on 11/14/16 at 6:17 am #
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