I work in Wheeling, IL, which is a suburb of Chicago. For some reason we have a pretty sizable Russian community here, not of whom, I am convinced, are involved in legit activities.
That being said, there is a supermarket here, Garden Fresh, which stocks all kinds of strange products from Russia, Bulgaria, Poland etc. including soft drinks.
I decided to give some a try, this is Limonad from Russia. OK, it’s got a little elf on the front and loads of medals and awards so how bad can it be? I used to drink Jic Jac when I was a kid. I took it to work and asked a Russian colleague to translate the name (because I can’t read it, obviously) and she said “it supposed to remind us of our childhood”.
A friend who saw it was a little troubled that I was going to drink it. “It’s yellow and it’s from Russia. Do you know what the color reminds me of?” It does resemble some samples I had taken to the doctor once for testing.
Undaunted, I opened the bottle to enjoy with my Rahmen noodles tonight. It has an odd smell, like some kind of medicine my mom used to give me when I was sick. When I took my first sip and my taste buds sent terrible signals to my brain. It’s highly carbonated, not sweet at all, and has a bitter herbal taste, like anise if you’ve ever tasted that. It reminded me of some of the flavored schnapps I used to get in Sweden which had little twigs and leaves in the bottle but was “good for your health”. This, honestly, has to be one of the worst things I have ever had the misfortune of drinking, and I couldn’t even finish the bottle. It boggles the imagination to think that someone is brewing this stuff up, putting it in a bottle and people are spending their hard earned rubles to purchase and consume it. So now I am trying to figure out what’s really up with smiling elf on the bottle and why it has won all those awards. Maybe it mixes well with vodka and can remove rust.
Verdict: Do Not Buy!