Soda Reviews

Sprite Tropical Mix

I was asked years ago what “retired” sodas I would bring back if given the opportunity.  My answer was Surge, Crystal Pepsi, and Sprite Tropical Re-mix.  Apparently my answer was then run through a series of computers and control groups which found it to be profitable because all of these sodas from my past exist again.

Look how happy Twist is to see his old buddy!

Surge is in a larger can, Sprite Tropical Re-mix is now called Sprite Tropical Mix, and Crystal Pepsi… well I’ll have to wait until it makes its way to Texas before I find out what’s changed.  Changes aside, I’m happy to see the only good Sprite flavor to exist again.  So happy that I’ve decided to review it.

Since you asked, here’s a little back story on my nostalgia.  On my way home from college I’d often stop at a gas station and pick up a Sprite Re-mix with a side of pork rinds.  I know it’s not the healthiest of snacks, but it became tradition with each trip back to my family.  Other than a neat story I always like to tell folks when nostalgia may come into play in a review.

Upon opening, tropical fruit flavors easily escape their 20oz prison and take refuge in my nostrils.  According to the label those fruit flavors include lemon lime, strawberry, and pineapple.  The strawberry/pineapple combo is what dominates the scent and if memory serves me right the flavor.

Ever been punched by a bubble?  My first sip was just that, tons of wonderful carbonation.  Lots of bubbles all in a frenzy knocking down the door that is my mouth.  As the commotion dies down the flavor becomes more prevalent.  Lemon/Lime leads the charge but pineapple and strawberry tag right along.  None of the flavors are outstanding although they do their best to play together nicely.

What I’m sad so see is that the more I drink this the more muddled the flavor becomes.  The pineapple and strawberry aren’t as easy to pick out, the punchy beginning has weakened.  Each sip pushes the flavor closer to a generic mismash of carbonated sugar.  Carbonated sugar isn’t what my memory recalls, although that was over a decade ago.

It makes me wonder why I liked this so much.  Was it because it was new and my soda palate wasn’t quite as refined?  That’s not saying it’s not a good beverage, but my positive memories seemed to have raised its nostalgia ranking considerably.  Even if I’m not as in love with it as I was before, I’m still happy to see it on a shelf.  The visual cue makes me smile and I’ll take that little bit of positivity any day.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle  

~A

This was purchased at a Shell Gas Station

Diabolo Tangerine Pomegranate

Back again with another Diabolo review.  You all remember Diabolo, right?  It’s the French Soda with cane sugar, erythritol, stevia extract, and vitamins.  If you don’t recall Diabolo check out our review of (Name of other Diabolo review) here!

Orange and Green, lookin' so mean.

Today’s offering is Diabolo Tangerine Pomegranate and let me tell you the smell that comes out of the mouth is too faint to identify.  Worried is how I feel about that revelation.  Both tangerine and pomegranate are powerful fruits and to not get much of a scent from either just isn’t right.

Diabolo Tangerine Pomegranate tastes more of a flavored sparkling water than it does a soda.  Its mouthfeel starts off rather dry as the flavor makes its way across my tastebuds.  I say “a flavor” because I’m not sure I’d be able to identify the tangerine without being told it was in there.  I’d probably suss out the pomegranate flavoring if given enough time, but it’s still altered in a way that makes it a difficult find.

Carbonation wise it’s a light fizz, but the rim of the can reads “Lightly Carbonated” so that should surprise no one.  This limited bubble does well to get the soda down your gullet.  It stays fun throughout, keeping me from completely tiring of the beverage.

Fun fizz aside though I’m not really digging this flavor.  As I said before it’s not quite full enough for me and what is there seems artificial.  The aftertaste generated is more of the same, somewhat palatable but ultimately not as enjoyable as I feel “a taste of summer” should be.

Overall, Diabolo Tangerine Pomegranate isn’t bad… it’s just not agreeable.  The ingredients used are great, the mouth-feel is great, the flavor is just lacking in a variety of ways for me.  I still believe it’s worth giving it a try if you come by one in the wild.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle

~A

Random Person 5 Word Review:  It did not taste right.

This was purchased at a Sprout’s Farmer’s Market

1893 Ginger Cola

So last week I tried Pepsi’s semi-new beverage, 1893.  It was good, in fact it was very good.  Today I try the Ginger Cola variety of 1893 and something tells me I’ll like it just as much if not more.

Here are a few notes that Pepsi felt needed to be on the side of the can.  1893 is “Boldly blended cola made with: Kola nut extract, Real ginger, Sparkling water, and Real sugar”.  If you read the 1893 review (please do as I’m self absorbed with people liking my work) then you’ll notice that can’s list is quite similar.  Pepsi has a look and style they’re going for here and their consistency is easily spotted.

As far as aroma is concerned this has the same muted cola scent as 1893, but with a touch of ginger on the back end.  My only worry is that the cola will be overshadowed by the newly added ginger spice.  Not unlike when I first saw a picture of the Spice Girls and my eyes found themselves on Geri Halliwell.  Personally, I’m more of a Scary Spice guy now, but back to the review.

Ok, so my fear is somewhat founded.  This is listed as a “Ginger Cola” and the order of these ingredients corresponds directly with how it’s flavored.  Interestingly enough the initial feeling you get is the burn from the ginger.  Up until this point It’s been my experience that this burn usually turns up at the end of a sip as opposed to the start.  For whatever reason 1893 Ginger Cola has this reversed, so it creates a rather unique start to my soda drinking experience.

Behind this ginger burn is the promised cola taste.  It’s readily available, but not as strong as I’d like it to be.  I’d say it’s comparable to when a kid under the age of 5 says they’re going to help you with a task.  Sure they’re helping clean up, but ultimately you’re going to end up doing most of the work yourself.  Personally I think it takes away from what could have been a fantastic drink.

That’s not saying 1893 Ginger Cola is without merits.  This is a mainstream beverage with a kick of ginger.  A lot of people haven’t had a soda like this and it makes me happy that some eyes will be opened because of it.  Hopefully this starts folks on a more enlightened soda path in life.  If that wasn’t a “full of itself” sentence I don’t know what was.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle

~A

This was purchased at a HEB Grocery Store

1893

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

~A

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

This soda was purchased at a Sprouts Farmer’s Market