Gallery: Taste Test: Cherry Soda

A Very Cherry Lineup
A Very Cherry Lineup
So much cherry soda. We started with twelve bottles. It was tough narrowing down our five favorites, but we managed. Read on to see who claimed the top spots.
5. Thomas Kemper
5. Thomas Kemper
Sweetened by both cane sugar and honey, the Thomas Kemper cherry soda reminded most of our tasting group of one thing: cherry Blow-Pops. While the other sodas that echoed candy were off-putting, this one managed to win us over.
4. Stewart's
4. Stewart's
Stewart's sodas originated at the popular drive-in restaurants, which have been around since 1924. Our tasters praised this black cherry soda for its restrained sweetness and mellow fruity overtones. It was also the only cherry soda we liked that was sweetened by high-fructose corn syrup instead of cane sugar.
3. Hotlips
3. Hotlips
This pizzeria-chain and soda maker prides itself on focusing on the natural flavors of the fruit, often including the pulp right in the bottle. Their cherry soda is mildly carbonated and boasts a prominent cherry flavor that didn't taste artificial. Every taster agreed that even if it wasn't their absolute favorite, it was the most memorable of the bunch.
2. Americana
2. Americana
Easily the most tart of all the sodas in this taste test. Our tasters noted its strong fizziness and the fact that it didn't bludgeon you over the head with sugar.
1. AJ Stephans
1. AJ Stephans
Delightful effervescence, hints of cola, and subtle black cherry flavor. The winner!