Beverage Roundup

I’m not so adventurous when it comes to tasting unfamiliar foods, but beverages are another story. As long as it’s free of sucralose, I’ll sample just about any new bebida I can get my hands on. This habit drives me frequently to high-end specialty markets and obscure mini-marts in search of new elixirs. Below are some of the best drinks I’ve tried in the last several months:

  • Zevia Soda: I’ve never been into diet soda. Something about sugar substitutes just never does it for me. Zevia, however, is the first widely available (in the U.S.) soda sweetened with Stevia, a 100% natural sugar substitute. The sodas don’t taste quite as sweet as sugar-sweetened drinks, but I kind of like that. The orange flavor is particularly good.
  • Jeff’s New York Egg Cream: I’ve always been a huge fan of the good old-fashioned New York egg cream; the drink that paradoxically contains no eggs and no cream. They are tough to find outside of authentic New York delis, but “Jeff” bottles them up and will ship you a case for a reasonable charge. I got a little overzealous and ordered six cases so I’m slowly working my way through them, but they are great. I recommend the chocolate and vanilla flavors.
  • Jones Gaba Tea-Juice: Just tried these for the first time last week. Very, very smooth. They are like a less sweet version of Snapple Iced Tea, with plenty of amino acids and other things that are supposed to make you operate better.
  • Sence Rose Nectar: (Pictured above) This one is tough to describe. Imagine a glass of slightly sweetened water with rose hips infused into it. Pretty good stuff. May also mix well with vodka.
  • Hi Ball Soda: I’ve mentioned this one before. It’s like Pellegrino with a bit of caffeine. Refreshing.
  • Kaboom: Kaboom is an organic energy drink with much more wholesome ingredients than most energy drinks and plenty of vitamins. Tastes good too.
  • Red Bull Cola: This is the biggest shocker of the bunch. I don’t even like Red Bull, but Red Bull Cola is different. It’s not even made by Red Bull, apparently. Not only is this among the tastiest colas I’ve ever tried, but get a load of the ingredients — water, sugar, vanilla, mustard seed, lime, kola nut, cocoa, liquorice, cinnamon, lemon, ginger, coca leaf (!), orange, corn mint, pine, and clove. Wow. Lots of good natural flavors in there… and it’s evident in the great taste.
  • Pinot Noir Wine: Ok, Pinot Noir is hardly new or even novel, but I’ve recently gained a taste for it as my red wine of choice. As a merlot convert, I appreciate Pinot’s mildness immensely. Cheap Pinot, however, seems worse than cheap merlot or cabernet, so my wine bill may be in for a sharp increase in the coming months.

What other novel beverages out there am I missing? Anything new and exciting on the market?

10 comments on “Beverage Roundup”. Leave your own?
  1. I’m a big fan of the sodas made by Sprecher Brewing Company in the Milwaukee area ( Their root beer is the best I’ve ever had, made with Wisconsin honey. In college, a guy down the hall from me was from Milwaukee and got shipments of this stuff from his family; he was nice enough to share. :-)

    Their cola is phenomenal as well, and they have a drink called Ravin’ Red that’s a combination of ginseng, cherries, honey and some other tasty stuff — equally sweet and sour in a refreshing way.

    In Googling around for this stuff, I came across a blog called The Knowledge For Thirst that appears to have lots of great beverage suggestions:

  2. Doug says:

    Growing up in Michigan I was brought up on Vernors Ginger Ale (

    A while back you had an ice cream post like this. You take two scoops of your favorite Vanilla and add a can of Vernors to to glass the Vanilla is and you have something that is pretty darn close to heaven.

  3. I’ve been trying to find some Brain Toniq around my area (Boston-ish). But yet to no avail. The stuff is pretty expensive so I’m looking to try a can before I buy anything in bulk. I’m trying to find “energy” drinks that won’t certainly kill me. The only one I drink on occasion is VitaminEnergy (made by the VitaminWater folks, but much harder to find). But it is loaded with Taurine. I try to drink only half at a time (have a bottle to pour the rest in at work). The VE definitely helps me concentrate.

    I try to not drink too much soda, but I’m on the lookout for Passover Coke (Coke with real cane sugar as opposed to HFCS, which since it’s made from corn, is not allowed for observant Jews during Passover), but it’s in very limited release.

    My wife brought home some Trader Joe’s Tea & Lemonade (sometimes called Half & Half, like from Nantucket Nectars) which is pretty good.

    Finally, I drink high quality loose leaf teas, mostly green, but now I’m on a oolong kick (a somewhat sublter green). Found a great place down the street from me that sells a huge selection without a huge markup, TeaZone. Currently drinking Formosa Jade Oolong and Dragonwell Green. Remember, use cooler water (180° not boiling!) with green, oolong and white teas, or else you’ll get bitter, awful tea!

  4. troy says:

    Honest Beverages. They’re nothing new, but definitely my first choice when it comes to packaged (non-alcoholic) beverages.

    – PET bottles, phthalate and BPA free, certified organic, Fair Trade certified, low in sugar, no HFCS.

    My favorites:
    – Honest Tea: Organic Peach White Tea, Organic Mango Green Tea
    – Honest Ade: Orange Mango with Mangosteen, Pomegranate Blue
    – Honest Kids: I don’t have kids yet, but these take me back to the days of Capri Sun (only Honest Kids products are filled with pretty good stuff).

    My only 2 complaints:
    – For some reason, the 16.9 oz. bottles are filled to the very top of the bottle. It seems that their bottling machines need a minor adjustment OR the bottle design is slightly (< 1 oz.) too small. Either way, if I am not careful upon opening, I find myself spilling a few drops. Removing the cap requires more care than it should.

    – I wish all the 16.9 oz. flavors came in 64+ oz. jugs – to avoid some of the guilt associated with excess packaging.

  5. golublog says:

    I’ll try any soda once. Though I’m not a big fan of the idea of drinks like drank. I want caffeine with my soda.

  6. Chris says:

    We’ve always really enjoyed Gus Beverages ( the Ginger Ale and the Cola are two of our favorites.

  7. Evan says:

    I’m about halfway through a Fentimans ginger beer. They just started selling Fentimans drinks at a natural foods store near my house, and this is my first one. Highly recommended (I’m looking forward to the cola).

  8. Mike D. says:

    Troy: Dude, I TOTALLY have the same complaint about the Honest Tea stuff. You open it and it’s all over you. Good stuff though.

  9. Kid Beyond says:

    Bakon Vodka! From your beloved Seattle!
    Conan O’Brien mentioned it in his monologue tonight…

  10. Mike D. says:

    Evan: Swigging down a Fentiman’s Cola right now. Very very nice.

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