Longtime New York deli-goers know all about Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray soda, the herbaceous, bitter, and peppery soft drink that, yes, is still in production, with a zaftig perfume that's equal parts beguiling and refreshing. So where did this weird soda come from, and how has it survived so many of the delis that stocked it?
'soda' on Serious Eats
I think that eating a fresh fig straight from the tree is one of life's singular pleasures, but getting that amazing fig flavor into a beverage is a bit of a challenge. Simply muddling figs into a drink won't really cut it. It may give the drink visual appeal, but won't impart much, if any, flavor. Cooking down figs into a syrup can end up tasting sweet and caramelly, but it won't retain much of the original fig's personality.
Figs and balsamic vinegar are a classic pairing, and make a remarkably delicious soda.
The U.S. has a vast selection of its own sweet carbonated beverages, but Mexican pop is worth seeking out, if for no other reason than the unusual flavors we don't see much of here in the States, like tamarind, sangría, and hibiscus. Search your local Latin market for these seven Mexican sodas.
There are plenty of great commercial soda-makers options out there, but there are also some pretty good reasons to rig your own custom device. It boils down to cost, convenience, and customization.
In this simple drink, smoky mezcal offers a savory quality that unfolds on your tongue, and apple soda provides a bracing tartness.
If you want to make soda with your SodaStream seltzer maker, you have 59 different flavor options. We tried them all.
You're probably familiar with a handful of highballs: the classic Gin & Tonic, the Rum & Coke, the Paloma. Not many folks are working at expanding the booze + soda = drink genre. But Morgan Schick of San Francisco's Trick Dog is—a handful of unusual highballs have appeared on every menu since the bar's opening.
The Dawson's drink menu includes 10 cocktails, a 'daily dram' infused in the tall glass column downstairs, and a selection of nonalcoholic sodas created by in-house soda jerk Dalton Finney.
In my review of Rosco's, I mentioned how they serve their root beer (and beer beer) in ice-cold pint glasses. Barboncino, another favorite of mine, makes excellent cocktails. Situations like these are often exceptional, where something is executed so well that overrides our habitual drink preferences. When your grabbing a slice on the go, what's your soda of choice?
A modern take on "sumac-ade" is a fun, refreshing thirst quencher.
In the proud tradition of flavors celebrating video gaming touchstones, Pepsi is back with its latest limited edition Mountain Dew Game Fuel, this time to coincide with the launch of Microsoft's Xbox One. We tried the upcoming limited edition Electrifying Berry.
Shaquille O'Neal already represents Reebok, Icy Hot/Gold Bond, Buick, and Zales. Clearly, cream soda is the next logical step. So we checked out the whole lineup of Soda Shaq AriZona cream sodas from 7-Eleven.
If you like fizzy sodas but you don't like (or can't have) the ingredients in the commercial products, there's a new way to make your own fizzy drinks at home. The PureFizz Soda Maker is a streamlined product that's little more than a bottle that can withstand the pressure of adding carbonation to liquid and has a way to inject the carbonation. But really, that's all you need.
The annual Summer Soda Tasting at Galco's gives you the chance to expand your soda palate, and meet some of the soda-brewers themselves. Here are 6 of the best sodas we tried at this year's event.
Rather than go head to head with the marketing machines of the big boys, the Parle group sold Thums Up to Coca-Cola in 1990. The labels of the two colas might seem similar, but Coca-Cola Classic and Thums Up do actually have quite distinct flavor profiles.
I first heard the word "chicha" a few years ago when the folks behind one of my favorite breweries, Dogfish Head, traveled to Peru and back to make their version of the traditional beverage. You might have heard of this stuff before: chewing and spitting out corn is part of the process of making some times of this traditional drink. Enzymes in human saliva turn the starches in the corn into fermentable sugars, ready for brewing. Chicha morada, on the other hand, is not fermented, and is made by boiling purple corn with spices and pineapple rind.
The Summer of 1996 was a good time for me. The Sony Playstation and the X Games were still novelties, Beck's Odelay was on the boom box, Beavis and Butthead were about to Do America, and Pepsi test-released a coffee/cola hybrid called Pepsi Kona in my region. Granted, I wasn't an avid coffee drinker back then, but any kind of new soda was an exciting prospect to me.
The Cherry Cherry Bomb Bon from Agrarian Ales is a soft drink flavored with a neighbor's cherries—but the real secret ingredient is the cherry bomb chili peppers bursting with sweet and savory flavors and a mild heat. This pink-hued soda opens with a burst of fruity sweetness but the distinct sweet-hot chiie flavor gives it a wild kick, and the bubbles lend longevity to its tingling effect.
Most orange soda has more in common with orange the color than the fruit, but that doesn't stop me from craving it. The reason I drink soda isn't because I think it's full of vitamins and minerals. I drink it because it tastes good. My idea of the perfect orange soda is the fast-food fountain Orange Crush and Sunkist that I grew up with, even though as an adult I know it's just a bunch of corn syrup and artificial flavoring. Luckily, DIY orange soda delivers the same satisfying combination of sweet and tart you get from the commercial version without the questionable ingredients.