I’ve been a pretty simple Coke and Dr. Pepper guy for a long time. Recently I’ve tried to branch out a bit. Here are some of my findings – good and bad. (Surprising or not, none of them contain high fructose corn syrup.)
Sprecher Cream Soda
Came across this incredibly tasty glass-bottled cream soda at Bread & Cup last year, then again a few weeks back at Menard’s. Amazingly sweet and with a tinge of caramel and honey as the label states. Loaded with real sugar, but what did you expect?
Natural Brew Cream Soda
Another glass-bottle entry, I was not in a hurry to drink this stuff. It was a little too acidic, but somehow a strange leafy aroma still came from it. Not overpoweringly sweet, which was a nice change, but not nice enough to outweigh the other strangenesses. Wholly unenjoyable for me.
Virgil’s Black Cherry Cream Soda
Another premium glass-bottle cream soda. Equal parts black cherry and cream soda, more or less. Definitely a tasty variation, and not nearly as sweet-overloaded as Sprecher. Apparently they produce a regular cream soda as well, so I’ll be excited to try that out to see how it compares with Sprecher’s.
Sobe Strawberry Daiquirri
Plastic bottles now! Hooray. Smooth with milk in it. A little on the sweet side, but it keeps you from slogging it down right away, which is good, because each bottle sneaks in 2.5 servings – 300 calories in a hurry.
Sobe Orange Cream
All of the above applies, but thankfully, it’s a bit less sweet. The orange flavor isn’t as prominent as the strawberry flavor of the above variety, but again, that keeps it from being quite as much of an attention-stealer.
Red Bull Cola
I’m a pronounced fan of regular Red Bull (gtfo SFRB), so I was excited to try their entry to the simpler cola world. Unfortunately, I was let down. Yep, it’s all natural, but the end taste reminds me of something we might have come up with in our 8th grade “synthetic cola” lab: it tastes like cola, plus lime, minus sugar. Red Bull, I know you have some sucrose and glucose sitting around – let some more into this drink and it would have been perfect.
First Blush Grape Juice – Merlot
How in the hell do you screw up grape juice? I have no idea, but these people seem to have managed the feat. It tastes like grape juice concentrate, which is completely overpowering. It’s not that it tastes bad – perhaps mixing this with seltzer water (à la Izze) or even just water would have made this tolerable. But as it comes out of the bottle, it’s a bit like drinking the cherry sno-cone syrup out of the bottle – what tasted good in moderation requires conscious effort just to swig.
A few good ones, a few bad ones… worth a shot. In the mean time, Hy-Vee has started carrying real-sugar Coke and Fanta in glass bottles. Both of them are staples for my sugary-drink needs, but throwing in some variety makes every bottle of whatever drink I choose a real treat.