If you want to make soda with your SodaStream seltzer maker, you have 59 different flavor options. We tried them all.
'Soda' on Serious Eats
You're probably familiar with a handful of highballs: the classic Gin & Tonic, the Rum & Coke, the Paloma. Not many folks are working at expanding the booze + soda = drink genre. But Morgan Schick of San Francisco's Trick Dog is—a handful of unusual highballs have appeared on every menu since the bar's opening.
The Dawson's drink menu includes 10 cocktails, a 'daily dram' infused in the tall glass column downstairs, and a selection of nonalcoholic sodas created by in-house soda jerk Dalton Finney.
In the proud tradition of flavors celebrating video gaming touchstones, Pepsi is back with its latest limited edition Mountain Dew Game Fuel, this time to coincide with the launch of Microsoft's Xbox One. We tried the upcoming limited edition Electrifying Berry.
Shaquille O'Neal already represents Reebok, Icy Hot/Gold Bond, Buick, and Zales. Clearly, cream soda is the next logical step. So we checked out the whole lineup of Soda Shaq AriZona cream sodas from 7-Eleven.
The annual Summer Soda Tasting at Galco's gives you the chance to expand your soda palate, and meet some of the soda-brewers themselves. Here are 6 of the best sodas we tried at this year's event.
Rather than go head to head with the marketing machines of the big boys, the Parle group sold Thums Up to Coca-Cola in 1990. The labels of the two colas might seem similar, but Coca-Cola Classic and Thums Up do actually have quite distinct flavor profiles.
I first heard the word "chicha" a few years ago when the folks behind one of my favorite breweries, Dogfish Head, traveled to Peru and back to make their version of the traditional beverage. You might have heard of this stuff before: chewing and spitting out corn is part of the process of making some times of this traditional drink. Enzymes in human saliva turn the starches in the corn into fermentable sugars, ready for brewing. Chicha morada, on the other hand, is not fermented, and is made by boiling purple corn with spices and pineapple rind.
The Summer of 1996 was a good time for me. The Sony Playstation and the X Games were still novelties, Beck's Odelay was on the boom box, Beavis and Butthead were about to Do America, and Pepsi test-released a coffee/cola hybrid called Pepsi Kona in my region. Granted, I wasn't an avid coffee drinker back then, but any kind of new soda was an exciting prospect to me.
The Cherry Cherry Bomb Bon from Agrarian Ales is a soft drink flavored with a neighbor's cherries—but the real secret ingredient is the cherry bomb chili peppers bursting with sweet and savory flavors and a mild heat. This pink-hued soda opens with a burst of fruity sweetness but the distinct sweet-hot chiie flavor gives it a wild kick, and the bubbles lend longevity to its tingling effect.
Most orange soda has more in common with orange the color than the fruit, but that doesn't stop me from craving it. The reason I drink soda isn't because I think it's full of vitamins and minerals. I drink it because it tastes good. My idea of the perfect orange soda is the fast-food fountain Orange Crush and Sunkist that I grew up with, even though as an adult I know it's just a bunch of corn syrup and artificial flavoring. Luckily, DIY orange soda delivers the same satisfying combination of sweet and tart you get from the commercial version without the questionable ingredients.
Their Watermelon Cream flavor is smooth and delicious, not heavy or syrupy, and the taste is remarkably accurate: this is the closest you'll ever come to drinking carbonated juice straight from a melon. The Strawberry Rhubarb is another knockout.
Boiled Coke with ginger and lemon started off as a popular cold remedy in Hong Kong, but now it's a popular anytime drink that's found at pretty much all Hong Kong diners. As a first-time, not sick drinker, I found it surprisingly pleasant. The cold and fizzy are gone, but you're left with sweet, spicy, a little tart, a smidge medicinal—all things that would feel restorative on a cold day or in a stream of warmth going down a sore throat.
If you're as into soda pop binges and flavor overdoses as we are, there's probably someplace in your town that stockpiles a variety of brands and hard-to-find tipples. And if you happen to live in Seattle, that place is the Pear Delicatessen & Shoppe.
Sioux City's excellent sarsaparilla is famously name-checked in cult favorite The Big Lebowski, but in reality, the movie's 1991 setting would have made it practically a brand-new product, and not the weathered and time-tested brand the mustachioed cowpoke narrator seems to be looking for. Goodness knows what Sam Elliott's seen-it-all range rider would think about Sioux City's latest additions to the line.
In the years following World War II, as Coca-Cola climbed to international superstardom, Don Francisco Hill had an idea. A native of Mexico, a country long enamored with aguas frescas made from water, sugar, and fruit, Hill envisioned a line of Mexican-made soft drinks that would capture the same fresh and simple flavors. To me, tamarind (the second-best-selling of all Jarritos flavors) is the be-all and end-all, the single must-try, the Alpha and the Omega of the venerable collection.
Mamosi is a new line of non-alcoholic soft drinks that aims to replicate the experience of getting hammered on 90s-era girly drinks without the risk of a hangover.
If nothing else, Kickstart—the new breakfast beverage from Mountain Dew's fortress of extremitude—wins points for sheer ambition. Positioning itself as "a fresh alternative to the age old morning question of 'coffee or juice'" (for people who have never heard of every other beverage in the world, I suppose), it promises to provide a highly caffeinated spike to your usual morning routine of ski-jumping, body-surfing, or radical commuting.
Most grape-flavored things don't taste like grape at all—they taste like purple. Commercial grape soda walks the line between the taste of real grapes and sugary artificial flavor. Grape soda should be the non-alcoholic, fizzy sister to wine, but instead it seems to be the least appreciated of the sodas. I've had a soft spot for this deep purple, bubbly beverage since childhood, so I was inspired to make a DIY version that has a more natural flavor.
I can't remember a time when soda wasn't vilified. Of course, there have been some memorable gimmicks (remember Crystal Pepsi?), but mostly just a whole lot of high fructose corn syrup and not a lot of fun. Needless to say, the idea of returning to a time when soda was without as much baggage is definitely appealing. These three homemade sodas are contemporary takes on classic soda fountain drinks: a rickey, a phosphate, and an egg cream.