By Ed Sum (The Vintage Tempest)
Strangely named sodas have been around for some time, perhaps dating as far back as 2005. Whether they come from globally recognized brand names like Pepsi’s Salty Watermelon and have limited distribution, how can I not resist the staple of my summer fiesta with Phillip’s Soda Works Smarkmouth Ginger Ale? This drink is tame when compared to the strange brews, namely Rocket Fizz’s Peanut Butter & Jelly Soda, there’s plenty more to discover on websites like the Vintage Soda Company.
My co-writer James Shaw (yes, he’s alive and living in a cave these days) and I were up in Sidney, BC over the Summer and one place we regularly visit is the Lilly Gobble Sweet Shop. They started carrying these novelty drinks early this year and when we discovered them, we were like kids in a candy store. I bought a couple to try out, and James … well, we were supposed to write this piece together. Sadly, he’s slipped into a sugar coma. Also, ever since the seasons changed, he’s put himself in hibernation mode and I believe he will never awaken.
I’m a person of all seasons, and even as winter approaches, I wonder what minty and seasonal flavours I can find on my next visit. The first time I was there, I had to post on social media what I found and, of course, the shock value of revealing the flavours available is always amusing. After a couple of months of slowly savouring and sampling these drinks, the following are my thoughts on the following product lines:
I like the collectable aspect of Dead World‘s products, which also ties in to the comic book of the same name. The art makes seeking them out worthwhile when there’s an easy to reach shop which carries them all. While I tried the Zeek Cocktail (Cotton Candy). This particular drink tasted like just that. The carbonation is light and this particular taste, nothing special to make it stand out. I find this particular flavour offered as ice cream too. Their Royal Rotter (black cherry) is of particular interest to locate since I love nibbling on cherries.
No, I did not start glowing in the dark, so the marketing claims. The drink is supposed to glow in the dark when exposed to black light. To really make it really glow, however, requires adding chemicals unsafe for humans to consume. Perhaps the black light bulbs I purchased were not the right type. I can’t say for certain. This drink was too sweet and has a slightly bitter aftertaste. I feel this drink is meant for kid’s Halloween parties. When the room is sufficiently dark and there are proper lamps around, to drink this soda properly glowing can make for some fun times.
Avery’s Monster Mucous
Avery Soda is another company which got on board to create drinks with crazy names to catch the attention of kids, and I feel this particular soda does a better job. Its sharp tang is actually a delight, and I am willing to be seen drinking this in public, just to see how many people will quirk their eyes. However, it has a bit of that cough medicine type taste that takes getting used to. I feel like I’m tasting blackberries than the actual listed ingredients of strawberry and blue raspberry.
Rocket Fizz’s Dad-Gum-It Cream Butterscotch
If I was to add beer to this drink, I would firmly believe I would have something close to the drink made famous in the Harry Potter franchise. The flavour is not too strong and the carbonation is just right to keep dancing the night away. The aftertaste really lasts, and even hours later, I was still burping.
Rocket Fizz’s Purple Haze
Honestly, I prefer the cocktail more. I can get a buzz out of that versus the soda version. The fizzy grape drink is nice, for the kids. However, the adult in me wants more kick. I’m guessing I can mix this with red wine, but I do not have any at home at the moment.