Just about any kid with an empty tall cup and a soda fountain in front of her has probably tried mixing sodas. (All those options in front of you; how could you not?) Carey in particular was a big fan of the everything-in-one-cup drink, though it always ended up tasting like Coke or Dr Pepper. Or root beer, if that was around.
Writing a soda column, you tend to talk to your friends about the pieces you're working on, and the antics you get into. When John mentioned to one of his coworkers that we'd tried all 127 flavors in the Coke Freestyle machine, she inquired if we'd mixed any of the flavors. She recommended we try mixing Coke and Fanta, a custom in her native Germany.
Over there, it's not just a habit of kids at fast-food joints. As she said, the Germans call it a "Spezi," and variants are actually bottled and sold (in addition to the brand Spezi, Coca-Cola's is called "Mezzo Mix", Pepsi's a "Schwip Schwap").
Here's the thing about mixing. As we've known since age 6 or so, mixing sodas tends to let the cola take over. Equal parts Fanta and Coke into a glass over ice tasted like a confusing muddle; something that didn't quite taste like cola, but whose other flavor was so muted as to be hard to taste.
So we mixed it up. Carey found that she liked one part Coke to two or even three parts Fanta—which tasted like an equal blend, flavorwise. John actually preferred the opposite, one part Fanta to three parts Coke. With equal mixes, nothing really comes through. With the ratio skewed toward cola, the Coke dominates the flavor, but the Fanta accents it, more like an Orange Coke than a hybrid.
(Of course, buying sodas to mix and finding that you have a lot of one left over is kind of a pain. Luckily, we prefer inverse Fanta/Coke ratios—so Carey gets the extra orange, John the extra cola. Isn't life nice like that?)
Are you a soda mixer (or a Spezi fan)? What's your blend of choice? Or do you prefer your soda pop unadulterated?
About the authors: Carey Jones is the editor of Serious Eats New York and co-editor of Serious Eats: Sweets. Follow her on Twitter (@careyjones). John M. Edwards writes about soda and occasionally fast food for SE and eats 85% of the food Carey orders. Follow him on Twitter (@johnmedwards).