Posts Tagged ‘non-alcoholic


Soda Reviews #4

Fentiman’s Dandelion and Burdock


Before hearing about this soda, I was unaware that Dandelions were something a person could drink.  I also had never heard of Burdock Root. Google explained it to me:

burdock is a slender, brown-skinned root vegetable that grows to more than two feet in length. In markets and restaurants, pickled burdock root is often sold as an accompaniment to sushi or rice meals. But in Japanese cookery, burdock is an all-purpose vegetable that’s added to stews, stir-fried, and pickled.”

I still had a hard time imagining what I’d be getting into. After trying a couple sips, I wrote down the following words: banana chips, bubble gum, ginger and cinnamon, licorice, root beer, slight hint of licking the back of an envelope. This drink’s apparently made with pear juice and after reading the label I learned that this type of soda is actually a traditional English drink. 130 calories a bottle

FOCO Basil Seed Drink


My friend Salena went to Jungle Jim’s International Grocery Store/Amusement Park (located just outside Cincinnati) and brought me back two unusual drinks! This one was made in Thailand and has 210 calories per can. I took a sip and was so intrigued by the texture that I wanted to pour it into a glass so I could get a better look. What I saw was a multitude of gelatinous seeds suspended in a thick clear liquid. They looked like tiny floating eyeballs. Or amoebas swimming under a microscope. Flavor-wise, this wasn’t particularly interesting- a super sweet vanilla kind of flavor with a texture reminiscent of bubble tea. The picture on the can shows a lime wedge, and that would probably cut the sweetness a little and make it more interesting.

Grass Jelly Drink


This was another gift from Salena that she found up at Jungle Jim’s. She laughed in an evil way when she gave it to me.  This drink is a product of Taiwan and it had 116 calories. Since it also appeared to have a unique texture, I decided to pour it into a glass as well to get a better look. Out came a murky brown liquid with small tan, rubbery sea-vegetable looking flakes floating around. With such an off-putting appearance I was a little nervous to try it, but it was surprisingly mild.. tasted like southern sweet tea with a hint of menthol. Like, if Kool Aid came out with a Vick’s Vap-O-Rub flavor, this is what it would taste like. But with little tasteless blobs of jelly floating in it.

Sprecher’s Ravin’ Red 

This was so damn good. Sparkling cranberry and cherry juices combined to make a refreshingly sweet but not too sweet drink. I love that this is made with actual juice, too.  If this were served in a martini glass with a slice of lime, it would feel like a fancy cocktail. One of my favorite drinks I’ve tried so far. 140 calories a bottle (but it’s a pretty large bottle.) Purchased at Liquor Barn.

Lion’s Paw Roots Drink


On a recent visit to Asheville, NC, I went to a Jamaican restaurant called Nine Mile and ordered this drink at the bar. I was warned by the bartender that it was strange, but that just made me want it even more.  The label indicated it was manufactured in the Bronx and was not approved by the USDA. It also promised: 100% VITALITY! Strength and Vitality!! The list of ingredients was so bizarre, I took a picture of that, too. The bartender recommended that it be poured over ice so it would get diluted a little bit. The first sip I almost gagged- it was so bitter I couldn’t imagine drinking much more. I wrote on a napkin: Take a handful of grass out of the yard and puree in a blender. Throw in some tree bark and some ground up leaves and dirt. That is what this tastes like. Though it was almost painful to drink, but I was determined to finish the whole thing. My husband was horrified by the drink and told me he was not going to feel sorry for me if I spent the rest of the night vomiting. (I didn’t vomit.)  However, I did start to feel really weird. My face flushed and I felt odd rushes of energy. Oddly, the more I drank it, the more I liked the way I felt- a bottle full of crazy. Not sure if I am recommending this or not. I think I’d do it again, though. Here’s that ingredients list.. read them carefully:



soda reviews #2

Yeo’s White Gourd Drink (purchased at Choi’s Asian Grocery)


You know when you eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios or Honeycomb cereal and then the leftover milk tastes really sweet and delicious? That’s what I was reminded of when drinking this intriguing beverage. It also reminded me a bit of coconut water. There’s no carbonation going on here which was a bit of a disappointment and the calorie count was 100 per can. I can’t see myself chugging this stuff down on a regular basis (it’s a little sweet for my taste) but it was certainly an interesting experience! It was pretty cheap, too!

GUS (Grown Up Soda) in Dry Meyer Lemon. Purchased at Liquor Barn on Shelbyville Rd.


This might be one of the best sodas I’ve ever tasted. It has a goofy brand name, but it makes sense. Kids will think that this is gross. It is definitely dry and super bubbly and refreshing and made with real Meyer Lemon juice. At 60 calories a bottle, it’s not too bad and the lack of artificial sweeteners and chemicals is good. Down side is that it is fairly expensive. Still cheaper than a nice beer though. I was happy to see that this brand comes in some other flavors, too, which I will definitely be testing out.

Zero Calorie Honest Fizz “Professor Fizz” Cherry Flavor (purchased at Whole Foods)


This drink had a lot of promise. I really like cherry flavors and was hoping for a nice tart cherry flavor. Zero calories was a plus as well as the fact that it claims to contain all natural ingredients. Unfortunately, this is one of the grossest sodas I have ever tasted. This beverage cannot seem to decide if it wants to taste like a tea, a cola, or a cherry drink. The Stevia sweetener was way too sweet and had a strange, off putting aftertaste. Not recommended!

Refreshing Carbonated Chinese Herbs Drink (purchased at Choi’s Asian Market)


This is a tiny bottled drink from Korea. It looks more medicinal than “fun soda” and I was intrigued. The only ingredients in the product I recognize are Menthol, Cinnamon, and “Aromatic Carbonated Water.” It was definitely refreshing and minty but had an odd aftertaste similar to licking the back of a postage stamp. I think I felt more energized after drinking this, but it might just be in my head. 25 calories per bottle.


Soda Reviews #1

I quit drinking alcohol almost three months ago. No, I’m not pregnant. Overall it’s been a very positive change, but sometimes it’s hard, especially when there is a social gathering revolving around alcohol. Plus, I used to LOVE alcohol. All of it. Wine, craft beers, cheap beers, good bourbon, cocktails, etc. I miss exploring different flavors and varieties. Which led me to look for some alternatives.

Soda is bad for you, we all know this. But I figured if I’ve managed to cut out one big habit, I might as well enjoy a different but less problematic one. Which led me to investigate what interesting options might be readily available in my own town- Louisville, Kentucky.

The ideal sodas I hope to find:

•Low in calories/sugar **

•Not too sweet (or not sweet at all!)

•Has some sort of kick or unusual flavor combination happening

**I will make an exception for a full on sugary/syrupy soda if it looks particularly exciting or unusual

#1 VIMTO (Purchased at Anar Food Mart, Westport Rd.)

soda1This is a soda manufactured in the United Kingdom but the back label of the can was all printed in Arabic. The flavors here are grape, raspberry, and blackcurrent. There was a regular and a “Lite” version. This soda looked very promising, but I was a little disappointed upon tasting it. Kinda of reminds me of Big Red crossed with cough syrup. Maybe the non- “Lite” version is better. I have to mention that Anar food market was really neat. Lots of delicious looking foods. I did come across a Goat Milk Soda which was both fascinating and somewhat horrifying sounding. I’ll save that one for a later review when I start to run out of other options.

#2 Barritt’s Diet Ginger Beer (Purchased at Liquor Barn, Shelbyville Rd.)


This ginger beer promised a kick, but what I experienced was more of an overly sweet chemical taste with some ginger flavor lurking in the background. Kind of disappointing. Once again, maybe the non-diet version is better.

#3 Sprecher’s Low-Cal Root Beer


Now this is a damn good soda. This root beer is 30 calories for the whole bottle. The sassafrass flavor is nice and sassy and not too sweet. No weird chemical-y flavors going on here. This might become my new beer replacement. I also like the German beer-garden inspired label design. The only downside to this product is that it’s on the expensive side. Still cheaper than a bottle of good real beer, though.

#4 Q “Superior” Ginger Ale (Purchased at Whole Foods, Shelbyville Road)

soda4Okay, this is the kind of obnoxious looking product that I would have definitely made fun of before I quit drinking. Though the label is nicely designed, it looks very pretentious. And it’s also crazy expensive for a soda. That said, this might be my favorite soda discovery yet. It’s slightly dry, not too sweet with a super spicy ginger flavor. 50 calories per glass. Makes a wonderful substitute for a white wine. I drank it out of a champagne glass and it was awesome. No shame here.