Sunday, May 18, 2014

Soda and Juice: Fruit and Otherwise

We don't drink a lot of soda or fruit juice, but occasionally we like to try it. We particularly like to try new or unusual varieties. So the following are sodas and juices we've tasted over several years, some of them very fun. I tend to think that the more juice in the drink the better, but a recent article makes the claim that "even natural, no-sugar-added fruit juice is little more than a sugar delivery system that's almost as harmful as soda." For example, "one cup of apple juice contains 110 calories and an eye-popping 26 grams of sugar. These calorie and sugar counts are almost identical to what you'd find in the same size serving of cola." I still have a bias for real fruit juice, but with that behind us, let's jump into some soda and juice:
One of my favorites. I buy this at the Ranch Market, heavily geared toward the Hispanic buyer. It has a strong apple taste and a nice carbonated bite to it. Primary ingredients, in order are: carbonated water, natural sugar and apple juice from concentrate. 
I'm not a major fan of apple beer. I'll take the Sidral above anyday.
On the apple side, this would be a distant second to the Sidral. Its primary ingredients are: carbonated water, glucose syrup and apple juice concentrate.  The super red coloring is a little bit of a turn-off, but it is not bad.
I've had this several times - in San Francisco and recently in Los Angeles. The blood orange taste is very weak, it is primarily a carbonated water. It is okay with something rich and heavy, like good cheese or beef jerky. 
We just recently tried this for the first time. It is 11% juice. Primary ingredients are: carbonated filtered water, sugar, and blood orange juice concentrate. Pretty good. 
Leninade is just orange soda, no juice, and its sole attraction is its fun message.
Here is the other side of the bottle.
We got this ginger soda in New Hampshire and it very good as far as ginger soda goes. I'm not a huge ginger soda fan, but I would order this again.  
Other side of the bottle. 
This Superior ginger ale is pretty good - not overwhelmingly strong. 
Reed's Extra Ginger Brew - Jamaican Style Ginger Beer is actually pretty good quality as far as sodas go. It is 25% juice. Ingredients are: sparkling filtered water (sweetened by a blend of cane sugar, pineapple juice from concentrate and honey), fresh ginger root, lemon and lime juices from concentrate and spices. The only thing I have against it is it has a very strong ginger flavor and ginger is not one of my loves. If I loved ginger, this would be my drink. 
This is another soda we got in New Hampshire - Meetinghouse Rhubarb. The ingredients are water, rhubarb, can sugar and lemon juice. No preservatives. Has a rhubarb taste with a carbo kick. Very good.  
I am a sucker for grapefruit soda. For me, it has just the right amount of flavor, carbo zip and a refreshing quality. After a hike, my drink of choice is a cold Squirt. This particular Filbert's has carbonated water, sugar and/or corn sweetener, citric acid, citric oils and downhill from there. Not great ingredients, but I sill love it. 
Ting is carbonated water, sugar, 6% grapefruit juice and so on. I love it. Even better than the grapefruit soda with no real juice.  
Filbert's Blue Raspberry soda is carbonated water, sugar and/or corn sweetner, citric acid and so on, including Red#40, Blue #1 and sodium benzoate as a preservative. This sicky color makes it hard for me to take it seriously and to enjoy. Not one of my favorites. 
The ingredients are water, carbonated water, sugar, pear juice concentrate, glucose syrup, ginger, dandelion & burdock flavor, dandelion strong infusion, burdock strong infusion, aniseed flavor. I don't particularly remember this, so it must not have been overwhelmingly good or bad. 
I had this for the first time in St. Augustine, Florida. It was very cold (the soda) on a warm day and it knocked my socks off. I think it may be my very favorite soda. I ordered a second one before I left. I had it again later in the year in West Virginia. Ingredients are carbonated water, cane sugar, pure birch oils, etc. I don't really care what's in it. This is good stuff. I'm glad we don't have it locally, because I could get addicted to it. I think it could surpass grapefruit soda for being a nice refresher on a warm day.
Judy brings this stuff home because she knows I'm interested in weird sodas. I don't think I would buy it. Just the name and the color create a negative connotation for me. Thumbs down. 
This mango soda is okay. Not at the top of my list, but certainly several steps above blue raspberry and key lime cream soda.
This is another seriously good soda. Ingredients are carbonated water, northwest pears, cane sugar, organic lemon juice and vanilla. It contains pear pulp. We got it in San Francisco several years ago. I would be a regular if we could get it locally.
We try lots of kinds of root beer and just don't take pictures. I enjoy root beer, including root beer with a carbo kick, but I am still very fond of Hire's without any carbonation. Root beer is middle of the road for me. Some of the fruit juice sodas are much higher on my list. 
Yeah, I know, this looks pretty gross. Nothing like the name Beefdrinker Teriyaki Beef Jerky Soda to get the taste buds firing. I bought this just recently at a small store in the foothills of our local mountains. Even the guy at the cash register raised his eyebrows when I bought it. I don't think it flies off the shelves. Judy took one sip and said it was enough. I managed to get the rest down. I don't think I would get it again, but it wasn't that bad. Ingredients are carbonated water, cane sugar,  and downhill from there. I guess I can kind of get the beef taste out of it, but not really. But fun because it is so weird. 
This coconut palm juice - coconut syrup (nectar) is another of my extreme favorites. It is relatively thick and very sweet.  It is all coconut, no sugar, preservatives or added color. No carbonation. The only place I've had it is a Thai vegan restaurant in Upland. This goes wonderfully with Thai food. Normally I kind of enjoy the carbonation, but carbonation would ruin this drink.
I think I got this mangosteen juice at an Asian market in Los Angeles. It is water, 30% mangosteen juice, sugar and citric acid. Not carbonated. I enjoyed it, didni't love it. Would certainly drink it again.
I enjoy lilikoi or passion fruit, but this soda is just okay. It is water, natural cane sugar, 5% passion fruit juice concentrate, ascorbic acid and citric acid. It is not carbonated, just a little sweet and quite bland. It is not something I would buy, but when it is around, I will drink it on occasion. 
This is 100% watermelon juice. As much as I hate to say it, I was not real fond of it. Watermelon is not real sweet, is very mild and that's about the best I can say about it. Give me a little carbo or more sweet. 
Complete opposite reaction to pomegranate juice vs. watermelon juice. 100% pomegranate juice is kind of sweet with a tart kick to it. I love it. Perhaps my second favorite 100% juice without carbonation, after apple juice. 
Last year we stopped at Carolina Cider Company in Yemassee, South Carolina when we were driving between Charleston and Savannah.  We bought the ciders they had available at the time in 10 oz. bottles and brought them home with us: cherry, apple, blueberry, muscadine (grape), blackberry and peach. They were out of strawberry at the time. Although they are listed as 100% juice, they are not 100% of the juice on the label which disappointed me a little bit. I think the only one that was 100% of the label was apple, and maybe muscadine, a type of grape. We did a taste test and I can't find it right now. But I was surprised at the result. My favorite was apple, and a close second was muscadine. Peach may have been my least favorite, a surprise, since I love peaches. Blackberry was probably next on the list of favorites. When it comes down to it, real, unpasteurized 100% apple juice, particularly if it has some tart apples in it, like Jonathans, is hard to beat. 


4 comments:

  1. Have you ever tried Guarana?

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  2. I had no idea all this flavors of soda were available. Clearly I need to get out more (and look past my root beer).

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  3. You are missing your all-time favorite: Schweppe's Bitter Lemon. I just saw you consume three or maybe four bottles in a single day.

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  4. I like fruits juice and it is good to know about these different type of fruit soda which are colorful and good for health.

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