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Soft Drinks Around the World
February 1, 2010 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Soft drinks have become ubiquitous around the world. Everywhere you go, you are more likely than not going to see them being sold at stores, food carts and roadside stands.

It all allegedly started with sherbet in the Middle East. Today, Coca Cola has over 3000 different soft drinks it markets around the world.

With the proliferation of carbonated beverages, some truly odd flavors have been released. Among these are kimchi cola, colas expressing nationalist sentiments, and the usual strange entries in the field from Japan. These drinks can also shed some light upon the local flavors.

For the past few years, there has been a debate within the U.S. as to whether American Coke or Mexican Coke is better.

Whatever your thoughts, this flavored water has certainly come a long way.
posted by reenum (109 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Mexican (or European) coke are so vastly superior it's no contest. I was hoping the Passover coke would taste like those but alas, not so.

One of the most interesting sodas I've ever tried was Tarhun. Looks like antifreeze, tastes like tarragon. Strange indeed.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:35 AM on February 1, 2010


Previously on MeFi, a discussion of classic and specialty sodas. Worth a read/watch again.
posted by moviehawk at 11:38 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


must....consume....more.....corn. Belch.
posted by haikuku at 11:39 AM on February 1, 2010


Worth watching: John Nese talking passionately about soft drinks for 13 fantastic minutes.
posted by Usher at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


SURGE!!!!!1!!!
posted by Mayor Curley at 11:40 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Whoops. moviehawk got there first. Can you delete comments around here?
posted by Usher at 11:41 AM on February 1, 2010


One good use of soft drinks is combining them with alcohol, for instance, a Rum and Coke.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:41 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here' s the post moviehawk referenced above.

it's mine
posted by Bookhouse at 11:42 AM on February 1, 2010


Even Canadian Coke is better than American Coke but, alas, that $10,000 I spent on my teeth isn't coming back. That stuff is all shit.
posted by klanawa at 11:42 AM on February 1, 2010


My story about Surge: When it was first released, the grocery store near my house sold 6 packs of the stuff for 99 cents. At the time, I was in my freshman year of college and taking care of my high school age sisters alone (long story). Having to juggle a full time class schedule and two high school age females left me about 4 hours a night for sleep.

I used to buy five 6 packs a week. I'd drink 3 Surges on my drive up, and another 3 on my drive back home. I had to stop when my hands wouldn't start shaking one day from the caffeine overload.
posted by reenum at 11:43 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I miss OK soda. OK, come back. I ain't mad atcha. Let's hang out like we used to, back in those heady days of '94.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:44 AM on February 1, 2010


Oh, here's a link from x-entertainment.com I forgot to include above. Enjoy!
posted by reenum at 11:49 AM on February 1, 2010


For the past few years, there has been a debate within the U.S. as to whether American Coke or Mexican Coke is better.

What about Peruvian coke?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:49 AM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I also miss the good old days when I could sit on my front porch sipping from a tall glass of Crystal Pepsi and munching on Texas Tang Doritos.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:50 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I won't vote for the best soda (though I have my favorites), but the worst is easily Cel-Ray. (The celery flavored soda).
posted by horsemuth at 11:54 AM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Horsemuth: you take that back, and take it back now.
posted by aspo at 11:58 AM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


thanks moviehawk (and Usher). I missed that video the first time around and I'm glad to have caught it now.
posted by 256 at 11:59 AM on February 1, 2010


Thums up!
posted by The White Hat at 12:00 PM on February 1, 2010


I've just finished a glass of Vimto here, so I'm living the dream.

...tastes like a packet of Refreshers on steroids.

Brilliant!
posted by Sova at 12:01 PM on February 1, 2010


I remember when I lived in the Philippines circa 1980, all us kids loved the Sarsi orange. I see now that not only does Sarsi have its own Wikipedia entry but it's become major Asian product line.
posted by crapmatic at 12:07 PM on February 1, 2010


Horsemuth: you take that back, and take it back now.

Never! Believe me, I WANTED to like it, I mean... celery flavored soda - come on, it's hilarious! I found the taste nothing to laugh at, however. More like crying and wiping my tongue with a napking to get it off...but aspo, I envy your tastebuds (or cry for them).
posted by horsemuth at 12:15 PM on February 1, 2010


Pepsi Blue?
posted by benzenedream at 12:21 PM on February 1, 2010


My reaction to Cel-Ray creeps up on me; every time I go to Katz's, I order it, because the concept of celery-flavored soda is just fascinating. And then I get it, and take several sips and grin at it in fascination because "weird, it's a SODA that REALLY DOES taste like CELERY."

...But then halfway through the can is when I finally remember, "...apparently I do not LIKE celery-flavored soda."

I didn't see Jolt mentioned on any of the links -- although, that was more of a caffine-content thing than a taste thing. Anyone ever try it? I never did -- what'd it taste like?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:26 PM on February 1, 2010


My soda love: Black currant Fanta. I discovered it by accident while in the UK. I grabbed a can at a gas station, thinking it was grape, and was very happily surprised to discover that it was not. That I cannot get it here in the states ANGERS ME GREATLY.

Also, I miss Surge. A lot. Vault is only a dim echo of the greatness that was Surge.
posted by strixus at 12:30 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, and as to Jolt. What flavor? I always loved the grape Jolt, because it was used as a base for one of my favorite alcoholic drinks. As it has gotten hard to find, we have replaced it with Code Red Dew. Not the same.
posted by strixus at 12:31 PM on February 1, 2010


Yyou know what's no contest at all?
European Fanta. That stuff is head and shoulders above its US counterparts.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 12:32 PM on February 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's it, horsemuth, you're never invited to my house for dinner.

aspo, you hit him, I'll hold him, OK?

The weirdest "indigenous" soda pop I've ever had was Baikal, in the former USSR. It was brown like cola (ironic, given Lake Baikal's sparkling clear image) but tasted like nothing identifiable, like they were trying to make a cola or root beer using only crops that grow in Siberia. Maybe it really was outfall from those paper mills that dump into the lake ...

And Pocari Sweat is disappointingly good - I was all psyched to be totally grossed out, but it was like pleasantly astringent grapefruit. If only sweat really tasted like that!
posted by Quietgal at 12:34 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Fanta? That shit is Nazi Coke. Nazi Coke, Nazi Coke, Nazi Coke, FUCK OFF.
posted by the dief at 12:34 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cel-Ray is great but not celery-y enough. Greek Fanta is better than any other Fanta I've had. Mexican coke tops US coke any day of the week. I want to try Tarhun. These are my soda-related opinions.
posted by kenko at 12:38 PM on February 1, 2010


Also good are herbal sodas, chinotto, and Apfelschorle.
posted by kenko at 12:39 PM on February 1, 2010


Thums up!

An old favourite. Also, ZamZam.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:46 PM on February 1, 2010


I said this in a past soda thread: put strawberry ice cream in your Cel-ray. Do it now.
posted by Bookhouse at 12:53 PM on February 1, 2010


My favorite soda is wine.
posted by everichon at 12:54 PM on February 1, 2010


When I lived in El Salvador, the little corner stores sold Coca-Cola to you in plastic baggies with a straw. The deal with that was that they got a refund for the glass, so they wouldn't let you take a bottle with you. I swear though, it tasted so much better than the stuff back home.
posted by empatterson at 12:55 PM on February 1, 2010


It's pop, dammit.

I tried to assimilate once by asking for a soda at a cafe when I was in Forn Parts (Toronto actually.) It was a coffee-oriented place, but I wasn't a coffee drinker, and it was a hot day. So I didn't want to get specific and really didn't care what I got, so long as it was cold, sweet, and bubbly. So yeah, I went against my native inclination and asked if I could just have a soda.

They brought a little bottle of club soda to the table, and I was too dispirited to speak up.

So dammit, it's pop.
posted by Lou Stuells at 12:55 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


ZenMasterThis - Peruvian Coke would be sweeter, because they add more sugar there, one of the few places the Coke recipe is modified. But most people in Peru drink Inca Kola. It's described as tasting like bubble gum, but I don't think it does. To me, it tastes almost exactly like a cream soda-flavored Dum-Dum sucker. I like it.

Mexican Coke is great. I bought a bottle a few weeks ago, while visiting family in southern Texas. It's sweetened with real actual cane sugar. And it comes in glass bottles. The only place in the US where you see Coke in glass bottles any more is in Coke commercials. I miss the old glass 16 oz Coke bottles. Used to buy them from the old-school cooler dispensers, the chest-style ones where the bottles hang by the neck and there's an opener mounted on the side of the cooler. If anyone wants to buy me a present that will make me love them forever, one of those old coolers (full of 16 oz sugar-sweetened bottles!) would be right up there on my list.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:57 PM on February 1, 2010


(Lou - I agree. But I'm from the Great Lakes region. Those further east and west of me seem to disagree.)
posted by caution live frogs at 12:58 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


furiousxgeorge : One good use of soft drinks is combining them with alcohol

Holy crap! Does anyone else know about this? I have a feeling, that if it catches on, this could be the Next Big Thing!



:)
posted by quin at 1:02 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


The brand of soda called Sumol from Portugal has to be my favorite. I first had it as a kid at one of the festas that all the Portuguese people in California go to. They start off with a parade, then a mass at the local Catholic church (often in half-Portuguese, which only the grandparents could understand). After mass the parade goes to the festa grounds for eating, dancing, and auctions. They are meccas of cheap, delicious food, awful accordian music, and the only time of the year I saw my dozens of second cousins...

...Where was I? oh yes, Sumol. It was about the only time I could ever get a hold of it as a kid, making it a real treat. I would beg my dad for another dollar to go get another one.

It's got more than one kind but the best is passion fruit. It's available at Portuguese specialty stores but it's not cheap.

Anyways, I'm getting myself all worked up about it. So good.
posted by JauntyFedora at 1:02 PM on February 1, 2010


EmpressCallipygos: Funny, because one of the great things about CelRay is the "wow, this really tastes like celery soda and it tastes delicious. The first time I had it it was a sip of faith that totally paid off.

Then again, I love Sanbitter, so obviously my taste buds aren't normal.
posted by aspo at 1:02 PM on February 1, 2010


The only place in the US where you see Coke in glass bottles any more is in Coke commercials.

Not true! I can go to any grocery store in the area and get glass bottle coke. It comes in a 6 pack and is usually sold where they have things like glass bottle IBC and Sprecher rootbeers.

Sadly it is just the regular HFCS coke. But still... Glass Bottles!
posted by quin at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2010


Oh and Tarhun sounds delicious. I made some tarragon vodka once and it was surprisingly tasty. I wonder if I can find it in any of the Russian grocery stores on Geary.
posted by aspo at 1:06 PM on February 1, 2010


My favorite soda is wine.
posted by everichon


Yeah, I've had that too. Sangria Senorial. Pretty good.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:09 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My guy doesn't drink at all, and he loves trying weird flavors with food. Combine that with my love of scoping out weird grocery finds and we've pretty much tried ever soda available here under the sun. And you know what? Even after trying them all--the disgustingly sweet Jones including the holiday pack, various Thai ginger beers with their pretty labels and names, all the wonderful Doc Browns (I'm with horsewithnoname; cel-ray is so delicious, aside from any abnormality cred...it's just good...I hear that "it's ok at first and then it builds up and augh I can never finish the can" all the time though; my guy's said it, even), lavender, clementine, cardamom, lychee, Indian lime, all manner of root versions--I gotta say my favorite overall blend is the rather pedestrian Moxie. The balance of flavors, and how much is goin' on there but none of it too overpowering, is sublime. Come to think of it, the last time I had a glass I turned to the guy and murmured jokingly about naming our kid Moxie (he's a Seinfeld fan and the "Soda" joke has come up before). Too bad Penn Gillette beat me to it. :b

It boggles my mind anyone could claim US coke is just as good or better than Mexican. We've got at least 2 taquerias here that stock it as par for the course, and a gigantic ethnic food emporium with about 4 full aisles of international soda, including Mexican coke and (for now) Pepsi throwback complete with retro design. There's no contest, the way there's no contest between putting demerara in your tea vs. the plain granulated white stuff, or roasting veggies with kosher vs. table salt, or topping cupcakes with fleur de sel vs. just plain old salt!

But I just love soft drinks--others I've enduring fondness for include Orangina, that one kind of root beer in Wisconsin that's mega vanilla-y, mango lassi, egg creme, those old phosphor soda things you can still get at soda counters if you're lucky, that coffee syrup stuff I only ever drink in NYC, I could go on...yay soda. Makes me want to go down the block right now to Wiles-Smith soda fountain and order a Cherry Joe before the place goes under. :(
posted by ifjuly at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Um, I meant aspo! Oops.
posted by ifjuly at 1:10 PM on February 1, 2010


But most people in Peru drink Inca Kola. It's described as tasting like bubble gum, but I don't think it does. To me, it tastes almost exactly like a cream soda-flavored Dum-Dum sucker.

Yeah, it's creaming soda, only coloured like a fluorescent yellow marker, instead of the usual chemical pink.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:12 PM on February 1, 2010


Tarhun was pretty good. My response was essentially "This is strange. Maybe I like it?" But I didn't seek it out again. One of my friends definitely liked it, the other's not so much. I found it at a random place in Western Mass that had mostly Scandinavian sodas, and the Tarhun 2 liters for 50 cents each. Subsequently my friend named his Hobgoblin D&D character Tarhun. Good name.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:13 PM on February 1, 2010


Sarsi is an excellent root beer, especially when you can't get Barqs or A&W or the gorgeous gorgeous Abita.

I was never a big root beer drinker, and then I moved to the UK, and, suddenly, I NEED IT NOW.

Not to mention Mountain Dew...and Cactus Cooler...

Not even the Mighty Irn-Bru can fill my need for delicious soda!
posted by Katemonkey at 1:14 PM on February 1, 2010


And horchata! Mm.
posted by ifjuly at 1:16 PM on February 1, 2010


And sidral! Damn, I keep forgetting 'em...

But I didn't care for "sangria soda" nor "Thums up" hee.
posted by ifjuly at 1:17 PM on February 1, 2010


The only place in the US where you see Coke in glass bottles any more is in Coke commercials.

I'm sure you know this since you tasted Mexican Coke in south Texas, but in urban areas with big Mexican populations (like San Francisco, where I live) you can get imported Mexican Coke in just about any Mexican restaurant or in a random smattering of corner stores.

It is indeed incredibly delicious.
posted by rafter at 1:18 PM on February 1, 2010


I happened to have a meeting in Pasadena just after the earlier soda thread about John Nese so I made sure to visit his Soda Pop Stop store while I was in the neighborhood. The store is wonderful and they also carry vintage candy. The big revelation for me was Mr. Q Cumber, truly the most refreshing carbonated soft drink ever.
posted by plastic_animals at 1:19 PM on February 1, 2010


Has anyone ever done a proper blind taste test for different national varieties of Coca-Cola? I have had American Coke, Mexican Coke, and even European Coke and have not noticed any difference whatsoever. Never compared them side-by-side though.

strixus: Surge still exists in its home market of Norway, where it is called "Urge". I have had the chance to try some and it tastes pretty much like I remember.
posted by serathen at 1:22 PM on February 1, 2010


serathen, I haven't but I heard if you tour the Coke factory in Atlanta they provide around-the-world samples just like that...
posted by ifjuly at 1:25 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


I miss fanta shokata... it's a lemony elderflower flavoured drink and it's unreal delicious. I haven't seen the real stuff in any of the eastern European stores around here, but sometimes an imitator pops up and kind of brings back the sweet memories.
posted by glip at 1:28 PM on February 1, 2010


I'm not a soft drink guy, but when I leave this odd state I will miss Blenheims Ginger Ale more than I miss anything else.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 1:36 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


EmpressCallipygos: "I didn't see Jolt mentioned on any of the links -- although, that was more of a caffine-content thing than a taste thing. Anyone ever try it? I never did -- what'd it taste like?"

I think they went through some rehashes, but as for the original product, it was just about the caffeine content. It tasted like Pepsi.
posted by team lowkey at 1:40 PM on February 1, 2010


All this pop talk reminds me of Wegman's brand of vanilla coke, from their WPOP line. So freaking good. When I was in college in Pittsburgh, when my parents would visit me they'd bring 2 giant cases of the stuff to me. So much better than commercial vanilla coke, ack.

Jarritos is great too, as we continue speaking of Mexican soda superiority...
posted by ifjuly at 1:41 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


When it's hot out and I have a Man Sized Thirst, I drink sriracha. If I want bubbles, I yell at the bottle until it starts to fizz from fear. I drink it all in one gulp. The sound of the empty bottle being slammed down is the sound of an ancient tree falling in a storm. The belch is the roar of the lion; the fart is the doom of the first born.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 1:52 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


My personal favorite is dry soda. They aren't so sweet as to ruin the taste of whatever you might be eating along with them.
posted by lucasks at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2010


Anyone missing the All the sugar, twice the caffeine hit might try Chai Cola if they can find it. I think it's made in Santa Cruz. It has a strong clove/ginger sort of flavor. I love it but my coworker declared it too medicinal.

It's not really all the sugar and twice the caffeine. Per 12 oz:
Chai cola = 32 gms sugar
Coke = 39 gms sugar

Chai cola = 40 mg caffeine
Coke = 35 mg caffeine

It's just that I thought it had the caffeine content of tea, which resulted in a long, wakeful night that night.

posted by small_ruminant at 2:03 PM on February 1, 2010


Personal favourite: Italian chinotto. Put it simply, it's kind of an adult cola. The name is Italian for the citrus fruit that's the main ingredient, Citrus x myrtifolia, likely a mutation of Citrus × aurantium, better known as the bitter orange.

The original brand (to have in Rome) is "Chin8 Neri" (eight in Italian = otto), but I've recently had an excellent niche brand Lurisia, produced in Liguria from the chinotti local to Savona (chosen by SlowFood as a heritage product, deserving protection/preservation).

Apparently there are similar drinks in Malta (Kinnie), Canada (Brio), Australia, and even in Maine (Moxie); it's certainly a soda with quite a following.
posted by progosk at 2:25 PM on February 1, 2010


Bisleri has the majority of the chinotto market share down under. It's reasonably ubiquitous, at least in grocery stores & supermarkets; not so much in small takeaways.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:37 PM on February 1, 2010


I was about to write passionately about the one true effervescent elixir of the gods, Diet Coke. But then I remembered I already had.
posted by Pastabagel at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2010


Flavoured water hasn't really come all that far. The best flavour is still malt, yeast and hops.
posted by pompomtom at 3:02 PM on February 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Fanta? That shit is Nazi Coke. Nazi Coke, Nazi Coke, Nazi Coke,

No this is.

tasty stuff, BTW.
posted by The Potate at 3:11 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Buffalo Rock ginger ale is great. Fiery stuff. Scours the throat. And I like Cel-Ray soda! But only while I'm eating a chicken salad sammich.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 3:58 PM on February 1, 2010


Any Coke made with actual sugar and not HFCS is better than American Coke.

(I was on a trans-Atlantic flight leaving from Boston, and was about to ask for orange juice or something to drink and noticed that the Coke was from SPAIN and not from the US and immediately changed my mind. American Coke is crap. Still better than Pepsi though.)

Has anyone ever done a proper blind taste test for different national varieties of Coca-Cola? I have had American Coke, Mexican Coke, and even European Coke and have not noticed any difference whatsoever. Never

You haven't refined your cola palate. Can you tell the difference between regular and diet Coke? Coke and Pepsi? I can discern all of these easily, as I am to cola beverages what people who care about beer are to beer. I don't know if I could tell European from Mexican Coke as I haven't had the latter, but I could absolutely tell European from American Coke on a blind taste test.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:59 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


As for foreign non-cola sodas, Juaritos pineapple soda is my absolute favorite.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:01 PM on February 1, 2010


In Yugoslavia, we had Cockta, which was our "answer" to Coca-Cola. Then, after Communism fell and the wars began, it went away. But now it's back - a kind of symbol of nostalgia for the days of Tito. The link above is kind of interesting:

"Dog rose gives Cockta its characteristic aroma, while its overwhelming freshness comes from lemon and orange flavours."

And I've recently found Cockta in the USA! I remember having Coca-Cola and thinking it was like a "better" Cockta, but having tried Cockta again after about 17 years, I can say it's really good and only vaguely like a cola.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:15 PM on February 1, 2010


(Oh and: fabled soda I only ever heard about? Mexican, cooperative-produced Guanábana Boing!. Is it really that good? I know the fruit, soursop, is heavenly...)
posted by progosk at 4:23 PM on February 1, 2010


The only place in the US where you see Coke in glass bottles any more is in Coke commercials.

I don't know where caution live frogs lives but in Portland, Mexican Coke in glass bottles is everywhere. Even the most white bread establishments. MMMmm. I think I'm going to get one today on my way home. The best way to drink Coke from a glass bottle is with a long straw.
posted by dchrssyr at 4:30 PM on February 1, 2010


This far down the thread yet nobody has mentioned Manhattan Special Espresso Soda? What is wrong with you people? Seriously.
posted by KingEdRa at 5:05 PM on February 1, 2010


Man, I loved Surge; I was so sad when it went away. Then I was ecstatic when they brought it back as Vault... now Vault seems to be dying too, goddamn it.

I live pretty near Pop the Soda Shop, so once in a while my girlfriend and I go down and pick out a case's worth of random interesting-looking bottles. One of my favorites is Cricket Cola, made with green tea. Mmmm. The diet version is almost as good as the regular, too.
posted by rifflesby at 5:31 PM on February 1, 2010


KindEdRa, that's what it's called--I mentioned liking it offhand but had forgotten its name. Delicious.
posted by ifjuly at 5:32 PM on February 1, 2010


I'm addicted to Calpis. Don't know if it fits into the coke/pop/soda category or not, but it is the finest flavored water compound I've ever had. Those of you fortunate enough to live in larger cities can get it from Japanese stores, I have to mail order it.
posted by sotonohito at 5:57 PM on February 1, 2010


Tarhun was pretty good as others mentioned, but there was a better soda in late Soviet Union called Bahmaro, it was made with Georgian black tea. There was also a kind of soda that was only sold from vending machines, it cost 3 kopeks a cup (something like 3 late-80s cents), and it was really awesome. I think it was apple-flavoured but I'm not sure.. I think it may have been so tasty because vending machines were refilled with fresh soda very often?

The thing about it is, if I remember right (I could be wrong!), the cup was in the vending machine and you'd just fill it up, drink the soda and put the cup back in (it was a tall glass cup, in fact). I guess there were enough people who weren't too worried about germs? In fact i have a movie called 'sportloto-82' I torrented and there is a scene there where one of the bad guys stops at a vending machine and drinks a glass of this type of soda. I'll have to watch it again to check what happens to the glass or if there any way to wash it right there..

There was also a very nice juice made from birch tree sap, similar to how maple syrup is made but it was much more watery (I guess it was diluted)?
posted by rainy at 6:05 PM on February 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Crystal Pepsi got me through my freshman year of college; Surge propelled me through graduate school.

My favorite international sodas is Top. I saved bottle caps from all the various Top flavors when I studied abroad in Cameroon, but pamplemousse and grenadine were my favorites. Oh, and D'jino.
posted by candyland at 6:10 PM on February 1, 2010


80 comments and only two mention High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS)?

HFCS Previously.

also reminds me that I need to catch the movie King Corn, so thank you for that. now when will we have fizzy lifting drinks?
posted by ilovemytoaster at 6:28 PM on February 1, 2010


I used to love Blue Sky Cola which I think was from New Mexico somewhere. I've been told it got bought out by one of the big names, but haven't seen it in years. It was spicier than Coke, it reminded you that what you were drinking came from a plant (in a nice way).
posted by cali at 6:41 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


No defense of Mezzo Mix? Sigh....
posted by mynameisluka at 6:49 PM on February 1, 2010


Ah yes, Manhattan Special. I would get it really cold, pour in some milk and it was heaven, a heaven whose buzz I could ride for hours and get a ton of work done.
posted by ltracey at 7:31 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, no love for Malta?
posted by toodleydoodley at 7:49 PM on February 1, 2010


I really good "malt beer" drink is called Pony. Much better than other similar malt drinks around here.
posted by rainy at 8:17 PM on February 1, 2010


But really a good Sencha or Silver Needles are > *.
posted by rainy at 8:18 PM on February 1, 2010


Anything but Beverly.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:32 PM on February 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Actually, to add to that, I'm a lover of soda, even though I don't drink much of it. But if there's something new that I haven't seen before, then I must have it at least once. I miss Crystal Pepsi. I also loved Spanish Fanta (lemon and orange), Kas, and Tango Apple from the UK.

Someone mentioned Inca Kola and there are several variations on this throughout Latin America. I absolutely love it, and know it mostly as Kola Champagne. Coco Rico is pretty good too.

Root beer is my specialty though.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:36 PM on February 1, 2010


Now I have a hankering for Razcal. Does anyone remember this fizzy, citrus/raspberry drink that got me through college in the 90's?
posted by saffry at 8:46 PM on February 1, 2010


One of the links mentiones Ironport. I occasionally drive by this run-down little convenience store with a "WE HAVE IRONPORT" sign. It's an old soda fountain drink and according to wikipedia there are only a couple dozen places that still serve it. I haven't tried it yet, but my wife has - she remembers it tasting something like Dr. Pepper.
posted by gamera at 9:01 PM on February 1, 2010


Oh....so THIS is our soylent green!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:18 AM on February 2, 2010


Schweppes launched a new Brown Creaming Soda in Australia. You know when you're a kid, and you sneak into the kitchen and open a bottle of vanilla extract and inhale deeply, imagining what it would be like to drink? This soda tastes like that imaginary taste. It is the greatest soft drink in the world.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 1:28 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one that makes their own soda? Even if you don't want to go out in the woods and gather your own sassafras and/or wintergreen ( or any number of other wild flavorings- spicebush blossoms! honeysuckle! etc.), you can boil up a small amount of water and some various things that taste good together, along with a fair amount of sugar (or honey, or whatever your preferred sweetener is--hell, why not try maple syrup?).. let it soak overnight, strain, then pour some of they flavored syrup in a glass and top with club soda. Or, if you're more ambitious, ferment it slightly using still water and a tiny* bit of yeast in a closed container to get the carbonation the old-fashioned way.
Even if you do this with sliced ginger, and noting else, it's so much better than most store-bought ginger ales, especially because you can adjust the sweetness so easily.

*not so much that it produces so much carbon dioxide that it makes the container explode, coating your kitchen with fragrant stickiness.
posted by mingo_clambake at 3:06 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Oh, here's a link from x-entertainment.com I forgot to include above. Enjoy!"

There's something indescribably disturbing about seeing Crystal Pepsi turned yellowish brown; it's as if Pepsi bottled the chemical runoff from its plants and named it "Crystal" as some sort of sick joke on the consumers. Ugh.
posted by Toby Dammit X at 3:44 AM on February 2, 2010


Oh my God, Orbitz.

The one and only time I had Orbitz was when my then-boyfriend and I were out on a walk before we were going to a friend's party. We ran into a group of people who'd been doing a sample-giveaway event for Orbitz, and they gave us their last two bottles. We opened one and split it between us, and...it was some weird fruit flavor, and I remember that the soda part was really really viscous and the "flavor balls" were disconcertingly chewy.

We brought the second bottle with us to the friend's party to show it off ("guys, check this out...") and everyone at the party spent a good hour and a half conducting scientific experiments on it to see what we could do to make the balls sink (freezing, boiling, microwaving, etc.). We ultimately found that the only thing that made the balls sink was adding tequila.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:41 AM on February 2, 2010


Sarsi is VILE.
posted by divabat at 5:44 AM on February 2, 2010


I haven't but I heard if you tour the Coke factory in Atlanta they provide around-the-world samples just like that...

It's true -- at the end of the factory tour, there's a massive room (high school gym sized at least) with soda fountains representing every continent, each fountain dispensing the Coke-owned sodas available in that part of the world. Over 65 kinds of pop free for the drinkin'. I sampled them all and made myself sick; what I remember is:
  • South American pop is crazy sweet.
  • African pop has strong flavours that are kind of soda-like, but don't really taste like "soda."
  • Asian soda is weird to my North American taste buds.
  • Anything but Beverly. Beverly was my favourite, but maybe because I was on sweet overload by the time I had it (near the end) and that incredibly dry, bitter taste was a fantastic contrast. Wish I could find it here in Canada.
posted by Shepherd at 6:42 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ginseng Rush. Real sugar, real ginseng, and best of all real vanilla flavoring. Crazy tasty.

I miss the days when traveling in the US meant having to adapt to local soda preferences. In the 60s you might have encountered soda machines stocked solely with Royal Palm, Orange and Grape Crush, Royal Crown or maybe something like Moxie. Now it's all the same, everywhere.
posted by kinnakeet at 6:51 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had Guava Boing! at a Mexican resturant last night and it was delicious. Non-carbonated so not really a soda I guess, but delicious.
posted by haveanicesummer at 6:57 AM on February 2, 2010


I heard if you tour the Coke factory in Atlanta they provide around-the-world samples just like that...

It's not the Coke Factory. It's THE WORLD OF COCA-COLA! You will learn that the Coca-Cola company doesn't manufacture the beverage, instead it licenses the syrup to Coca-Cola bottlers. Each recipe is slightly different to account for tastes around the world.

You can get to the World of Coca-Cola with a City Pass or a Pemberton Place pass, that allows you to tour the World of Coca-Cola AND the Georgia Aquarium. As a resident of Atlanta, neither are places I need to see again anytime soon.

The thing is a giant advertisement for Coke. A sample bottling plant. A theatre where you can watch Coke commercials. An interesting exhibit of post cards from around the world wherein a Coke sign can be seen (to prove its ubiquity?) Have your picture taken with Cokey (or some-such) and the best part is the end of the tour where you can make yourself sick drinking carbonated beverages from around the world. There's even a kiosk of diet sodas, for those who prefer not to drink too much sugar/hfcs. Tab or Fresca anyone? (I didn't think so.)

As you exit the "Sodas of the Planet" exhibit, you are handed an 8oz bottle of coke as you enter the gift shop, wherein you will find thousands of items emblazoned with logos of Coca-Cola products. Because you should pay to advertise for them.

Each person working at The World Of Coca-Cola wears a tag with his or her name, and favorite beverage.

Hi! My name is Ruth. Coke Zero.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 7:09 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


This would appear to be a thread full of perceptive soft drink consumers who are willing to try new things. Let me therefore share my preferred soft drink of the moment: Pepsi Max.

Pepsi Max has more caffeine than most commonly-available soft drinks—twice the caffeine of regular Coke, for example—no sugar or calories, and a not-very-sweet flavor. I would term it "metallic," which took some getting used to at first but now I really like it. It has supplanted coffee in my morning wake-up ritual.

If you like Diet Pepsi but wish it had more caffeine, Pepsi Max was made for you. (Well, technically, it was made to be marketed to men.)
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:09 AM on February 2, 2010


Over 65 kinds of pop free for the drinkin'. I sampled them all and made myself sick

BROTHER! I did the very same thing! At the end of the tour, I was vibrating and keeled over with stomach pains that quickly turned into some incredibly nasty bathroom trips! Good times!

The thing is a giant advertisement for Coke. A sample bottling plant. A theatre where you can watch Coke commercials.

My favorite part of the tour was the video where they were talking about the Secret Recipe for Coke, and they were like, "What's the secret recipe? It's just one of those timeless unknowable mysteries, like who built the pyramids!" And I was like, Wasn't that the Egyptians? MYSTERY SOLVED
posted by Greg Nog at 8:35 AM on February 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Egyptians is also the secret ingredient for Coca-Cola. Sweet, delicious, mummified Egyptians.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 8:54 AM on February 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Egyptians is also the secret ingredient for Coca-Cola. Sweet, delicious, mummified Egyptians.
posted by grapefruitmoon


My God, this is an outrage! I was going to eat that mummy!
posted by haveanicesummer at 9:07 AM on February 2, 2010


My God, this is an outrage! I was going to eat that mummy!

Zevulon the Great. He's Teriyaki style.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:44 PM on February 2, 2010


Speaking of odd flavours, I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Spruce Beer.
posted by empatterson at 6:16 PM on February 2, 2010


Abita Root Beer. Schweps Citrus. Guaraná Antarctica Diet. Yummmmmmmmm.
posted by msali at 8:54 PM on February 2, 2010


Vernor's Ginger Ale. (313 represent) Still made by dwarves. (scroll down for mural)

Otherwise, my favorite soft drink has to be Spa Blau. (Spa, blue). Oh, too soft for you? Pity. No calories, no caffeine. Just a pleasant, natural blend of minerals and water. From Spa, Belgium. Whodathunk? Approximately similar to Poland Spring, or Arrowhead (to name east and west coast American waters). And a word to the water-wise: avoid Swiss bottled water.
posted by Goofyy at 10:16 PM on February 2, 2010


Ah Guarana Antarctica, I miss you so much!
posted by fingerbang at 6:48 AM on February 3, 2010


Did anyone ever have the soda with troubling racist implications, Cherokee Red? When I was in Pittsburgh a friend introduced me to it in a point-and-gawk way at the supermarket.
posted by ifjuly at 11:02 AM on February 19, 2010


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