Soda Reviews

Hello Kitty Ramune Strawberry Soda

Ramune is a Japanese soda that incorporates a marble in the sealing of the beverage.  Hello Kitty is Hello Kitty.  If you combine the two you’re a giant robot away from a Japanese cliche trifecta.  Since I don’t have my own mech I’ll just review this Hello Kitty Ramune Strawberry Soda instead.  The label is very pink with Hello Kitty prominantly featured.  It seems she either has strawberries balanced on her head or they’re supposed to be some sort of bow.  Let’s go with the bow angle.  Oh, this soda is totally chemical...but it’s also Hello Kitty.

One day I’ll be good at these marble openings.  Today was not the day.  Once the marble was removed a burst of strawberry candy aroma hit my nose.  I kind of figured it’d be super sugary, but it’s also Hello Kitty.

Twist is a rejected Sanrio character.

Wow, the carbonation level of Hello Kitty Ramune Strawberry Soda is much higher than I initially expected.  This higher level of fizz cuts the flavor enough to not make it taste like a syrupy mess.  The soda itself is right below the “too sugary” mark that I’ve made up on some imaginary sugar ruler.  You know what this tastes like?  It tastes like you ordered a Strawberry Fanta from some fast food place and their soda fountain has the CO2 and syrup levels wrong.  

I’m finding out that there are times that strawberry soda needs to taste like a syrupy mess and this is one of them.  I want my mouth to be candy coated in strawberry syrup.  I want the aftertaste to linger longer than it should.  I feel like I’m drinking half of a strawberry soda.

What’s somewhat unfair about all this is that I wouldn’t rate this any higher if I got my wishes that I listed above.  No matter how you cut it this has a very generic flavor, like a lot of Ramune, and it just doesn’t stand out...but it also has Hello Kitty.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This soda was purchased at World Market


A mere four ounces assures me that I’m not dreaming.  The label is exactly as I remember it over 15 years ago, but there’s a 16 where the 12 should be.  That difference of four tells me that I live in a reality in which you can buy Surge.  That’s right Carbo-Nation, if you haven’t heard you can buy Surge once more.  Brought to life in 1997 and put to sleep in 2003 Surge has been given breath.  It’s currently exclusive to Amazon as of this review.  When I found out I shrieked in excitement and purchase a 12 pack simultaneously.  Surge was one of the first sodas I NEEDED to drink.  All of the Coke and Pepsi memories of my childhood blend together into a mush.  Surge is attached to a handful of memories I can still recall.  

There was a time that I enjoyed pairing Surge with powdered donuts.  Sadly I do not have such donuts in front of me now, but I will pair them once again.  I don’t know why I liked this pairing, but it worked like gangbusters...although I’m guessing most people don’t even know what gangbusters is.  

Mark one off the bucket list for Twist

No matter how I try to downplay it I know I’ve already over hyped this beverage in my mind.  They got me.  Coke got me right by the childhood.  That sounded more illegal than I intended it to.  It’s 1:30 in the morning and I’m exhausted, but I must review this caffineated beverage for 15 year old Aaron.  He has minimal worries.  He doesn’t hold a job, have a kid, or make payments on a house.  15 year old Aaron stays up late and plays video games.  Let’s raise a glass to 15 year old Aaron!

The orange and lime scent rush past my nostrils.  32 year old Aaron has a feeling that Surge tasted really generic all those years ago, but 15 year old Aaron doesn’t care.  He and his friends drank this buy the case.  32 year old Aaron is pretty sure that his younger self just fell into the media trap that Coke created.  15 year old Aaron couldn’t care less and takes a swig.

32 year old Aaron goes to bed because he knows that 15 year old Aaron has won.  The first sip brings back a wash of memories.  Old man Aaron thought this would taste generic, but he was wrong.  It tastes like Surge.  The bursts of orange and lime combine to create a insanely refreshing soda.  Lime eventually wins out, which is how it should be for any drink that contains lime.  

Carbonation levels are just fine.  The bubbles are fierce but small, packing an excellent amount of punch to the tongue and throat.  Oddly they are only felt near the finish of the beverage which creates a nice duality in terms of mouth feel.  I really need to stop drinking this because it’ll probably keep me up all… SHUT UP OLD MAN AND DRINK YOUR SURGE..ok.

Surprisingly, Surge isn’t nearly as syrupy as I thought it would be.  There is of course somewhat of a syrupy mouthfeel, but it’s less that you’d experience with a Sprite.  The finish is the glaring weak point to this beverage.  The aforementioned syrupy feel combined with the dying lime and orange flavors create a sadness in my mouth.  What goes in with a party finishes with a whimper.  Leaving with a whine isn’t something a soda called Surge should do.  

Turning off the nostalgia for a moment, Surge really impressed me in terms of flavors and feel.  It played to one of my favorite tastes, lime, and it kept the same sensations going throughout all 16 ounces.  Honestly, if I could change one thing about this re-release it would be the can.  I wish they’d put it in 12 ounce cans, but 15 year old Aaron has never seen a 16 ounce can so he’s pretty ecstatic.

15 year old Aaron - Buy a Pallet

32 year old Aaron - Buy a Pack


This soda was purchased off of

Bruce Cost Ginger Ale Jasmine Tea

For the most part I’m a supporter of Bruce Cost Ginger Ale.  It definitely ranks up there in the “Most Sediment” category that I’ve just now made up.  The flavor is usually very true to its labeling and the ingredients are always top notch.  Today I’ll be trying their Jasmine Tea.  I’m not big into floral drinks so I’m not exactly sure why I picked this up.  Fortunately(?) I have a stomach ache so this should quell it some at the very least.

The aroma that wafts from this bottle of Ginger Ale Jasmine Tea favors ginger quite a bit.  Personally I was always a Mary Ann guy myself, but I digress.  There is an unmistakable jasmine aroma lurking in the back as well, so it’s nice to see that they didn’t skimp on their featured ingredient.

Twist dated a Jasmine once... ONCE!

This tastes like a whole leaf tea, floral and earthy with tannins.  Ok, I just took that off the label of the bottle.  I wanted to sound fancy before giving you my review using regular words.  Thankfully the label once again does a lot of the work for me.  This tastes like Ginger Ale infused with Jasmine Tea.

The tea flavor really impresses me with how it’s able to stand out with such a strong ginger taste riding along side.  I would not have thought that I’d be able to pick it out at all, but here I am.  Carbonation wise it’s small bunched up fizz that just keeps the beverage lively in my mouth.  It’s a fairly standard mouth feel, but it’s not hurting it in anyway.  This isn’t a particularly sweet beverage, but the cane sugar and sweet jasmine do their jobs well.  You can easily return to the bottle without thinking you’re drinking sugary nonsense.

With true ginger ales you’ll usually have a degree of ginger burn.  This particular burn may be a bit strong for those who are used to Canada Dry or Schweppes, but for the seasoned ginger beer drinker it won’t be an issue.  All in all Bruce Cost Ginger Ale is a good beverage.  The flavors combine well and it’ll help your tummy to boot.  I’d definitely pick up multiples if I were you.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


This soda was purchased at World Market

Hippo Size Prodigious Peach

I’m exhausted.  We have a baby that doesn’t like to sleep and it’s wearing on me.  I didn’t even want to do a review tonight, but I remembered seeing a bottle with a hippo on it at some point so I figured what the hey.  This hippo is on a bottle of Hippo Size Prodigious Peach.  Makes enough sense for me to continue.  Hippo Size Prodigious (not a word a sleepy person likes to type over and over again) Peach is sweetened with cane sugar and better be pretty dang good to be worth my while.  I could be sleeping, you know?  For some reason the label says it’s a “Small Bottle. BIG Taste”.  That’s a lie.  It’s a 12oz bottle like every other glass soda bottle out there, it’s just has a wider base so it’s shorter.  Lying is not what you should do to a cranky man, Hippo Size.

Twist raised a pack of hippo children once in the 1700's

If the taste is anything like the smell that jumped out of the mouth, then the label lie may become a half truth.  A pungent peach aroma quickly made its exit and started up my salivary glands.

Half truth confirmed.  Hippo Size Prodigious Peach kicks down the door of my mouth and sprays fizzy peach goodness all around.  It’s got a biting mouthfeel like a cheap grape soda and it’s wonderful.  I love it when a fruit soda makes my mouth feel alive with a sharp carbonation burst.  The peach flavor is quite big, but I wouldn’t call it Big Peach.  You know why, because it’s better than that.  That’s right, this is a great example of what a peach soda should taste like.  It’s full of flavor and has a kick to it with every sip I take.

The downside is that even though it’s sweetened with cane sugar it leaves a syrupy feel within my mouth.  Thankfully this less than pleasant texture is paired with a more than pleasant aftertaste.  I liked Hippo Size Prodigious Peach quite a bit and hope I can find more of their beverages.  They’ve quelled a cranky, sleepless father.  Good on them.

Verdict - Buy a Pack


This soda was purchased at World Market

Plantation Style Mint Julep

I’m reviewing Plantation Style Mint Julep today and I have some questions right off the bat.  Why did you name your drink that?  Wouldn’t Mint Julep Soda have worked out just fine?  Is your line of drinks named Plantation Style?  If so, why is your line of drinks named Plantation Style?  Are there other Plantation Style beverages out there?  You realize the imagery this portrays right?  A bunch of folks sitting on the porch of their plantation enjoying mint juleps while looking out across their land at other folks not enjoying mint juleps.  Yes, I’m aware not all plantations are those in the South during the Civil War era… but when you pair it with a flavor like mint julep then it most certainly is.

Twist invented the mint julep

Anywho… stupid name aside.  Time to review this Plantation Style Mint Julep soda which has been sweetened with cane sugar.  Right off the bat the most amusing ingredient I see is “flavor”.  They don’t even differentiate between natural or artificial.  I just picture a guy dumping a big barrel with the word “flavor” on it into a vat.  “Did you add that flavor, Johnny?”  “Sure did, Car!”  “Good, don’t want to rob people of flavor.”

This smells like mouthwash, ACT to be precise.  It’s not surprising that it smells like mouthwash being that “mint” is in the name of the drink, but it’s still off putting.  Perhaps the flavor will be refreshing.

Yeah, that’s pretty refreshing.  A light mint soda accented by a citrus burst throughout.  The mint used appears to be spearmint which is complemented easily by the light fizzy carbonation.  Even though there is an overall light mouth-feel about the soda it finishes heavier than I thought it would. It’s not terribly noticeable, but given the light tastes used within I wouldn’t expect it to be there at all.  

They did a good job on making it seem like mint is a normal flavor for a soda.  While odd, it’s not so overpowering that I’m reminded of that with each sip.  The citrus taste, which favors lime, also does well to mask the oddity of mint soda.  With all that said this still really isn’t my thing.  The aftertaste and mouthfeel that I’m left with after each sip would keep me from buying multiples of this soda.  I still suggest seeking out a bottle for yourself, but one is probably enough.

Verdict - Buy a Bottle


This soda was purchased at World Market