Soda Reviews


So to stay current I felt it necessary to review Pepsi Cola’s offering of 1893.  For those not in the know, 1893 is made with kola nut and sweetened with sugar.  This is Pepsi’s take on craft soda and the can is full of words telling you so.  It’s a “Boldly blended cola made with: Kola nut extract, Dark brown malt flavor, a touch of aromatic bitters, sparkling water, real sugar.”

In the stage play Twist will play the role of "Bubbles"

The smell is similar to Pepsi, but a little weaker… it doesn’t punch you in the nose.  

I like this a lot.  I’m greeted with a lot of fizz and flavor at the front door of this house.  The occupants look friendly enough so let’s step inside.  Once inside an exuberant dog the side of a loaf of bread comes running at me.  His name is “Bubbles, which I find quite appropriate considering he lives in a soda can house.  Bubbles is jumping up on me trying to get me to notice him.  I’m new and he wants to make sure I’m greeted properly so he does his absolute best to get the attention he feels he deserves.

Ol’ Mister Kola gently calms Bubbles down before taking him to his kennel.  Bubbles whines, looks out sorrowfully, turns around three times, lays down, and falls asleep.  Now that the dog is out of the way, Mister Kola guides me to the living room for a sit.

When we get there I see that his wife is already comfortably knitting in her chair.  He introduces her as “Spice” then settles into his chair.  Spice is working with an assortment of threads.  Some threads are silky sweet while others are a little rougher.  One very fine thread catches my attention in the light she’s working under.  It’s an almost invisible cinnamon colored thread.  It’s weaved in every so often, but wouldn’t be the first thing you’d see in the finished blanket.

Just as she’s about to talk about her knitting, Mister Kola speaks up and talks over her.  She smiles and shakes her head.  This is something that’s happened many times over the years, but she has grown to accept it as a part of who he is now.  

Mister Kola, not noticing his interruption, continues on about the past and how things were.  It’s an interesting tale as he doesn’t linger too long on any part of it.  I’m engaged in what Mister Kola has to say, still occasionally looking over at Spice and smiling as she continues to knit.

The evening ends without much fanfare as I’m walked to the door.  Given one final handshake I smile at Mister Kola and thank him for the lovely time.  Then I go on my way.

Random Person 5 Word Review - It’s like Pepsi but subtle.

Verdict - Buy a Pallet

This was purchased at a HEB Grocery Store

Diabolo Mint Lemonade

Diabolo makes me immediately think of the words diabolical and diablo.  Neither of these words are all that positive, unless of course it’s in reference to the video game Diablo which is pretty fantastic.  Diabolo, as you might have guessed, is a soda brand and the flavor at hand today is Mint Lemonade.

Twist once went by the moniker El Diabolo.

According to the text on the can Diabolo is a French Soda, All Natural, Low Calorie, Vitamin Enriched, and is sweetened with cane sugar, erythritol, and stevia extract.  That’s a lot of information for a soda to portray on their label, but Diabolo does so without making it seem ridiculous.  In fact the can art is rather peaceful looking, a nice mint green with a simplistic feel.

Smell wise the mint overpowers the lemon quite easily.  The lemon is back there, but mint has stolen the show easily.  I’m curious if this will taste like mouthwash… hopefully not.

I’m right and I’m wrong.  The initial taste is like a tame mouthwash, but thankfully this is fleeting.  As the experience continues the mint flavor weakens and the lemon is allowed to emerge from the shadows.  Once the lemon is on stage you find that this performance was never intended to be a one man show, but a duet.  

Diabolo Mint Lemonade is also a rather refreshing soda with little to no syrupy sensation.  The mouthfeel is effervescent and enjoyable.  These particular flavors need an environment like this to thrive to their fullest and Diabolo has kindly provided that for them.

Due to the fact that this is sweetened with stevia I had concern there would be an unpleasant aftertaste.  I’m happy to report that this is not at all true.  While my mouth does feel a little drier than I would expect after each sip, there is not a terrible taste accompanying it.  What I get instead is the tingle of mint and lemon, which is still a somewhat unique combination that works fairly well.

All in all, Diabolo Mint Lemonade is definitely worth a try.  As I said before the flavors used, the limited use of sugars, and… hey they put B vitamins in here too.  I probably should have looked at that a little closer.  It’s a good soda that uses its tools wisely.  I’m curious to see if the other flavors do as well.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


Random Person 5 Word Review:  Light aftertaste, Fizzy, Tonic, Sour

This soda was purchased at a Sprouts Farmer’s Market

Empire Root Beer

Ever consumed liquid tree?  I’ve only had one soda by Empire and it tasted like tree, a spruce tree to be exact.  It wasn’t very good as you might expect liquid tree to be, but I had to respect it.  Why would I pick up another bottle of Empire you might ask?  Well even though I didn’t like their tree soda they did a really good job in making it.  So if they’ll put that much love and care into spruce soda then surely they’ll make a root beer that’s easy to love… right?  

Pictured: Timeless logo with a timeless lizard.

The look of Empire soda is a very strong, industrial looking logo that I would assume has never been changed.  I mean the company phone number is on the front of the bottle for goodness sake.  Reliable.  That’s what this looks like to me.  Their soda art is reliable and they use cane sugar to boot!

Upon opening there’s quite a rooty aroma.  Not too sweet, but certainly sweetened.  There isn’t a strong wintergreen or licorice punch which means it’s likely safe for most buds of taste.

Wow, that truly is a thirst quenching root beer and I haven’t said that in a long time.  Empire Root Beer’s lack of syrupy mouthfeel and low carbonation make for a refreshing treat.  This is the kind of soda I’d drink on a hot summer day.

Flavor wise it’s very consistent as well.  The story the scent told was apparently non-fiction as there is little to no taste of wintergreen or licorice to be found here.  I’m not saying that they didn’t use any, it’s just not so prevalent I feel it’s worth mentioning although I did just mention it… but… didn’t think it needed... moving on.

Empire Root Beer drinks cold.  Where some drinks noticeably warm up the longer you keep them out, Empire Root Beer seems to not be as bothered by its time outside of the fridge.  This is a very interesting soda to me as it has so much going for it in the mouthfeel category I’ve created in my mind.

I personally feel that Empire Root Beer should be on any root beer lovers list.  It’ll be a little different than most of the root beer you’ve tried, but all of the differing characteristics are positive ones.  Pick up a couple and share with your friends… or just hoard it.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


Random Person 5 Word Review:  Cold, Tasty, Sarsparilla, Refreshing, Quenching.    

This was purchased at the Gas Station below.


Dublin Texas Red Creme

I love it when I get the chance to drink a soda made in Texas I haven’t tried before.  Fortunately for me I’m terrible at keeping up with what Dublin Bottling Works has put out so I occasionally get a “new” Texas treat.  Today’s treat is called Dublin Texas Red Creme.  While I do love a good red cream soda they can be hit or miss at times… like most anything.  Here’s hoping that Texas Red Creme is a hit.

Texas Red would be a pretty sweet nickname.

Well, it passes the smell test.  A strong sugary red creme aroma  slips out of the mouth of the bottle.  I’m going to minimize the amount of “smell words’ here because I’m starting to salivate a bit.

Good, but par for the course.  Dublin Texas Red Creme starts off smooth as a red creme should.  It’s fizzy and a little syrupy, but overall the taste is on par with other red cremes out there.  There’s just one thing that’s a little odd.  The creamy mouth-feel of this soda stops short about half way through each sip.  It’s like the flavor brakes were hit early to avoid an oncoming collision… really odd stuff.  

Aside from that unique quality Dublin Texas Red Creme is a nice balance of sweet and bubbly.  The carbonation levels lighten up what could be a syrupy mouthfeel and really do the beverage some service.  This may not make a lot of sense to some, but this tastes more of Big Red than other red creams I’ve had in the past.  I know the mark of a good reviewer is to not need to compare it to other sodas, but I just gotta sometimes.  

Overall it’s quite good, I’d buy multiples if offered.  Now it’s time for me to admit my own oddity.  I  keep saying I don’t like Big Red, but the more red cream sodas I try the more I start to doubt that.  Do I not like the idea of Big Red or should I just go ahead and give it another try to make sure.

Yay Texas soda.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


Random Person 5 Word Review:  Over carbonated Big Red soda.

This was purchased at a Specs Liquor


Another British soda is at my hand today, Tizer.  All I know about Tizer is that it has a “Fruit Stripe Gum” look to its can design, is “The Great British Pop”, and only cost 49p.  It sweetened with sugar aaaaaand that’s about it.  Oh, it also calls itself a “Sparkling Mixed Flavour Soft Drink with Sugar and Sweeteners”.  Just gets your mouth watering, doesn’t it?

Tye-zer, Tizz-er. Tee-zer?

Smell wise it’s fairly citrusy.  I guess if I use my imagination I can sniff out some ginger as well, but ultimately it’s a pretty vague drink.  We all know what’s happening next so let’s just get to it.

This tastes like Sprite and Ginger Ale… mostly Sprite though.  Good night, Everybody!

Ok, I’ll write a few more sentences on this fairly average beverage.  The first taste that hits my tongue is lemon.  It’s just a few sour points down from licking an actual lemon, but ultimately gives the same sort of sensation.  Lemon quickly gives way to generic citrus primarily composed of lemon/lime and simultaneously gets an odd mouthfeel.  

My main beef with Sprite is the “smacky” feeling it gives my mouth.  When I take a sip of Sprite I’m not refreshed.  I just open my mouth over and over again smacking, wondering why I didn’t chose 7Up or another “lymon” beverage.  Tizer has a comparable mouth feel to Sprite, which puts it in the dog house for me a little bit.

The back end of Tizer is where that puff of ginger appears.  It’s the lightest of tastes, but it’s enough to perk it up a little bit at the finish.  Not enough of a perk for me to want to buy another can though.  The problem with Tizer, and I’ve touched on this a little, is that it has a really generic taste, like dollar store brand soda generic.

Perhaps the taste of Tizer isn’t something you’d easily find in the UK, but I seriously doubt that as Sprite is pretty much worldwide.  Everyone who walked by me today, about 4 people, though that Tizer was a fruit flavored (think cherry, strawberry, orange) flavored soda.  I was also under this impression, though now that I really look at the logo I should have been able to guess the flavor correctly.

Yes the can is red, but the design behind the word Tizer is a yellow/green swirl which would be associated with the lemon/lime I tasted.  Perhaps the red can confused me to the point where I was disappointed in the flavor… or it just tastes enough like Sprite that I don’t really care for it.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


Random Person 5 Word Review:  It tastes like ginger ale.

This was purchased at Rocket Fizz Houston