Serious Eats: Drinks

Dear Orangina: Please Bring These Flavors To Me.

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Halfway between a soda and an orange juice spritzer, Orangina has always been one of my favorite soft drinks. It's got enough orange juice and pulp in there (12%) to make you think that you're drinking something made with real ingredients, but it's sweet and bubbly enough that it still gives you your soda fix if you need one (I go on soda jags way more often than I should). Most importantly, it actually tastes like oranges.

Here in the States, you can get straight up Orangina and the relatively new Orangina Rouge, but on my recent trip to France, I found a couple flavors that we don't have here, and was pleasantly surprised by'em.

Orangina seems to have, or at least to foster, a slightly different image in the E.U., as demonstrated by the strip-teasing, scantily-clad, juice-bursting, oddly personified animals in this 2008 commercial. It's certainly one of the freakiest ads I've ever seen.

Nevertheless, I do look forward to the day these flavors become available in the U.S.

Dear Orangina,
Would you kindly bring these flavors to me please?

Samourai combines the original orange with a good shot of lemon juice along with a bit of the bitter pith and fragrant floral zest. It's flavor somewhat resembles that of San Pellegrino Limonata, but with a bit more sweetness and bitterness. I'm not exactly sure what lemon soda has to do with Samurais, but there you go.

Indien features a Jaguar wearing a feathered headdress with some sort of stereotypical Native American war paint. This is supposed to represent grenadine. Yeah, I don't get it either. But no matter: the flavor is great, with a definite flowery pomegranate-scented sweetness and a slightly more syrupy character than the traditional Orangina. It's not quite as refreshing as Samourai, but it's nice if sweetness is what you're after.

Rouge actually is available in the U.S., though it can be a bit tricky to track down. Made with a combination of blood orange, grapefruit, lemon, and orange juice (6% is blood orange), it's my wife's favorite of the lot (she hogged the whole bottle for herself during our road trip out to Burgundy and I had to make do with funny-tasting French Coke). The combination of blood orange and grapefruit give it a hint of bitterness while the lemon juice boosts the acidity.

There was also a RastaMan flavor that I spied in a supermarket window. Unfortunately, France is one of those countries where stores close at strange hours so that people can eat long lunches or take naps, or whatever it is that keeps them so thin and healthy, so I wasn't able to try it out. From what I could gather, it had some sort of tropical fruit thing going on.

I've heard rumor that there are still more flavors to be found in Europe. Any of you guys have any experience with them? Which ones are your favorites?

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