August 7, 2007

(Thomas) Hughes Reviews: 9 Soda Discoveries of 2007

Having the pleasure of being so close to Galco's has had a big impact upon my exotic soda intake in the past couple of weeks. Here's what I thought of them, in order of best to worst.

1. Jamaica’s Finest Extra Spicy Ginger Beer – You’ll notice that this label says “Hot! Hot! Hot!”. They are not lying. Drinking this soda is like ingesting raw, liquid ginger root…And it is amazing. A word of warning, though: I was so excited while drinking this that it went down the wrong pipe and for a moment, I saw god. I can’t really say much else other than that Jamaica’s Finest provided me with one of the most enjoyable soda experiences in recent memory. I can’t wait until I get my hands on a copper cop and make some Moscow Mules with it!

2. Mint Julep Soda - A soda version of the south's favorite cocktail? I’m in! This number is made with real mint leaves, comes in a green glass bottle, and could quite possibly be the perfect drink for a hot summer’s day. The only gripe I really have with it is the artwork. The layout seems kind of lazy, and at the top you might notice it claims to be “Plantation Style”. As crisp and refreshing as the soda was, evoking imagery of the old south made it taste a little racist.

3. Fukola Cola – It took me a bit to work up the nerve to purchase this soda. It’s ugly and has a terrible name in a hideous font. You probably can’t read it, but on the label it reads, “Anytime, anywhere, with anyone”. Ugh. This bottle is just brimming with the kind of Dionysian attitude I hate, but since I’m a fan of micro-brewed cola, I had to buy it. The tragic thing is about Fukola is that it actually tastes good. It has one of the best aftertastes of any soda I’ve ever had. It resembles the flavor of Candy Cigarettes or the white edible “dipper” in Fun Dip. Why, Fukola, why? Why do you have to try to be such a badass? It’s like finding a Beach Boys CD inside of a Buckcherry jewel case. Just change your lousy design so I can buy your delightful cola without any further embarrassment.

4. Faygo Rock & Rye – Before I tasted this lovely beverage, the only thing I knew about the Faygo brand was that it was the drink of choice for shockrockers The Insane Clown Posse (Never a good association to have when diving into a new soda). The only reason I bought it was because of its intriguing name, “Rock & Rye”. What does that mean? Could it be the American version of Dandelion & Burdock? Whatever the meaning of “Rock & Rye”, it turned out to be quite the tasty concoction. Soft and satisfying, with a simple, elegant, painted-on bottle design that California Proposition 65 warns me against.

5. Green River – This soda is awesome. It is bright green. Taste-wise, it’s got that “liquid version of a green freezepop” thing going on, which (in my opinion) isn’t a bad thing. However, the aspects I love most about Green River are its name and bottle design. “Green River”: it just sounds like a fictitious soda from a David Lynch film. Serene and sinister at the same time. Besides its claim of “Caffiene Free Since 1919” (like anyone cares), there is no other text. Its vague title and corresponding image speak for themselves, which only upholds the mysterious air this soda has.

6. Moxie Original Elixer – Now, I’ve had “Moxie” before, but this is supposedly the real deal. Any kind of Moxie sold in regular stores is just “watered-down diarrhea juice”, according to John F. Nese*. John did tell me, however, that this stuff is so strong that it takes years to acquire a taste for it. This made my expectations pretty high, so I prepared my tongue to accept what I thought would be the most heinous medicinal liquid imaginable…It actually turned out to be pretty good. It’s a bold, unique drink that I would never have on a regular basis. Maybe once a month, to keep the spirits strong and the doctor away.

7. Iron Beer – The only one in this batch that came in an aluminum can. It originates in Cuba, and tastes like a mixture of cola and orange soda…Sort of like what I imagine OK Soda tasted like. Nothing offensive, really, and nothing interesting, either.

8. Ancient Cola – I was so excited for you, Ancient Cola. Your claims of being an “Asian Herb and Spice Brew” had me salivating from the moment I put you in my shopping basket. I was a tad suspicious, however, about your dirty, peeling label…But perhaps the bottler had done that on purpose to enhance your “ancient” look. I was wrong. You were flat. So flat it’s as if you actually got bottled at the peak of the Roman empire (Get it? Ancient!). I suppose it’s not ethically fair to review a soda that’s lost its carbonation, but it’s also not fair to sell them, either. Oh snap!

9. Malta Hatuey – By far one of the worst sodas I’ve ever encountered. How did this vile fluid even make it into my mouth? Well, several aspects of the bottle roped me in: the interesting name, the illustration of the American Indian, the term “non-alcoholic cereal beverage”…Really, this Malta Hatuey seemed to be the most exciting of the bunch! I kept on thinking this until I finally opened the bottle. It smelled like death. It tasted like a mixture of carbonated ovaltine and expired tomato juice. People actually drink this? Afterwards, I did some research on it and learned that it is named after the heroic Chief Hatuey, who, in the 16th century lead his people in battle against the imperialistic Spanish colonists. Sadly, he was eventually captured and burned alive at the stake. Before he was burned, a priest asked him if he would accept Jesus and go to heaven. Hatuey asked “Are there Spaniards in heaven?" When the priest assured him that there were many, Hatuey replied that he wanted nothing to do with a God that allowed people of such cruelty to be perpetuated in his name. Man, you seem like an awesome guy, Hatuey, but your ceral beverage kind of blows.

*Not true. John Nese is a wonderful man who would never use this kind of obscenity.


Kelli said...

green river is the shit.

Michael said...

Holy shit, a soda that tastes like the dipper in Fun Dip? This sounds like something pulled directly from my fantasies. I wonder if I can order it online...

Ryan said...

Those videos of John Neese had me wishing there was a soda superstore somewhere in NY. This is just making it worse.

I've had Moxie, the watered-down kind I guess, but it was alright until that aftertaste hit. Too much.

Megan said...

Whenever I read Sam's reviews of sodas, it really makes me wish that I liked carbonated beverages. Unfortunately, it feels too much like horrible fizzy burning for me to get used to it. But man, do I feel like I'm missing out on a whole other world!

Could you do reviews of juices just once so I can join in?