Sunday, October 31, 2010

So the twitter feed isn't working. I'll work on fixing it later. For now, visit my twitter page.

[Edit as of 11/1/2010] Okay, apparently it isn't broken after all. wasn't showing up yesterday.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Goya Coconut Soda

Goya coconut soda is a strikingly refreshing soft drink. Let me start this review off by saying that I have never been a big fan of coconut. I enjoy the fruit itself, but the milk and other coconut flavored things have never been largely appealing to me. I was prepared to not truly enjoy this soda, but I was pleasantly surprised. The coconut flavoring was actually incredibly faint and subtle, almost as though it was naturally flavored (which it is not). My experience with Zico has taught me to be skeptical of coconut themed bevergaes, but Goya has strengthened my coconut faith a bit with this drink. I am currently trying to acquire the taste for coconut, and this was definitely a step in the right direction.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz.
Price: $0.98

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Fluid Mechanics

I had an interesting experience with some sweet tea today at lunch. Although I am not a native southerner (or any sort of southerner, really), I do enjoy a glass of sweet tea from time to time. I typically prefer my tea hot and in a cup with a handle, but iced tea is a nice treat from time to time. Unfortunately, around here, sweet tea is more sweet than it is tea, and for someone who tries to consume minimal amounts of sugar, it can be tough to truly enjoy.

The school cafeteria here at USC is no exception. The sweet tea is essentially cold molten sugar, and it can be difficult for me to make it through an entire cup. So, typically what I do is concoct what my mother and I have affectionately dubbed "half and half." It's simply half sweet tea and half unsweetened tea.

Today, however, the two teas apparently did not mix well, so after my meal when I went to consume my beverage, there were pockets and layers of sweetness, rather than one dilute sweetness. In addition to that, I did not use enough ice, and there were pockets of warm tea surrounded by chilled liquid. I noticed this immediately, but decided not to mix the tea, as the constantly shifting fluid flowing across my tongue was intensely interesting.

I'm going to try to do it again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Vimto Orange Drink

(Sorry for the crappy picture. I was in a hurry tonight.)

Vimto is an incredible beverage. I know that just about everything I've had lately has been incredible, but I've been having pretty good luck. Vimto, originating in the United Kingdom (this one came from Canada), is typically a grape/raspberry/blackcurrant flavored soft drink, but I seem to have stumbled across one of their "summer" flavors: orange. Let me tell you, this drink is crazy good. It tastes a lot like a creamsicle, but is just the right amount of sweet. I can not emphasize this enough: why does America not understand how to use sugar? Every other country seems to know how to make beverages and deserts that aren't overly sweet. Why can't the U.S. get with the program? Anyway, Vimto is delicious, and I enjoyed every drop of it. I wanted another immediately after finishing the one I had bought, and still do up to the time of this post's writing. 

It is so good, and makes me want to move to Europe even more.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Five Points Tobacco
Size: 12 fl. oz. (355 mL)
Price: $1.00

Friday, October 22, 2010

Old Speckled Hen

This is by far my favorite beer. I had my first taste of Old Speckled Hen earlier this semester, and immediately fell in love. It is a darker beer (clearly), with a gentle yet prominent taste that I have only been able to describe as burned toasted marshmallows. It is incredibly smooth going down, and the pleasantly bitter aftertaste is absolutely wonderful and gives the beer a distinct touch of sophistication and class. For those of you who aren't big beer drinkers, it's a little on the stronger side, so you may want to try one before you commit to the purchase, but it's flavor is truly unique, and certainly worth a try. It avoids both the skunky hoppy flavor sometimes found in premium lighter beers and the yeasty thickness of premium dark beers by introducing its own, unequivocated taste. From what I have sampled from the beer industry, there is really nothing else out there like this, and I recommend that anyone with a mouth and a taste for fermented beverages give this one a try.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: World Market (Columbia, SC)
Size: 11.2 fl. oz.
Price: $1.86

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Zevia: Black Cherry

I picked this up today after a doctor's appointment. This is an all natural soda that is sweetened with Stevia (a natural sweetener that has been gaining more and more popularity lately). My previous experiences with Stevia have left me with a bad taste in my mouth about the substance. Literally. The Stevia that I've had before had kind of a weird flavor and left a heavy, syrupy flavor on my palette for hours after consumption. I was hesitant to try this one, but the woman helping me at the store let me try a sample, and I was quickly convinced. Apparently there are a bunch of different kinds of Stevia, and the kinds that I've had are some of the less appetizing types. This drink was pretty good (if you like alternative sweetening methods, of course). The black cherry flavoring was pretty straightforward, but knowing that this drink wasn't giving me diabetes or ruining my memory felt pretty good. Also, the liquid is colorless, which I really support.

Verdict: Recommended to try if you are okay with alternative sweeteners.

Purchased: Nature's Remedies [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. (315mL)
Price: $1.20

Friday, October 15, 2010

Elisha Aerated Water (Lychee flavor)

I first had this drink a long time ago, before I even started this blog. The first one that I had was procured at an Asian market in Greenville, South Carolina, and I hadn't seen them since then until a few weeks ago. I immediately picked one up, though, because they are incredible. They are essentially just lightly flavored sodas, but they are perfectly balanced. Sitting perfectly somewhere between a flavored seltzer water and a carbonated soft drink, this drink is a taste-pleaser. The flavoring is just right: not too sweet and not too bland. It is easy to finish an entire serving without realizing ahead of time that you were almost done. The container is also very interesting: a plastic "can" with an aluminum top.

I also purchased an apple flavored version of the same drink, which I had not had before, but I definitely prefer the lychee. I have also had their green tea version in the past, and it is also very good (but be forewarned: I don't recall it being sweetened). The store where I bought this one also has a peach flavor, which I have yet to try. Keep an eye on the twitter feed for an opinion on that one soon.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Asian Market, Inc. [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12.30 fl. oz. (350 mL)
Price: Approximately $1.50

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

GT's Kombucha

For those of you unfamiliar with Kombucha, I recommend reading up on it a bit before you give it a try. This is certainly not a drink for everybody. It is peculiar, it takes several bottles to really acquire the taste, and there's really not much that it pairs well with. That being said, I really enjoy kombucha. I was introduced to this beverage last year by a close friend of mine, and developed a severe fascination with the drink that holds to this day. There are times where I'm not really convinced that I like it, but there are other times that I crave it. It has had a weird effect on me, but think that the wonder that it incurs is interesting enough to keep drinking it.

Anyway, kombucha is essentially an ancient Chinese tea recipe in which previously brewed tea is fermented using a culture of yeast and bacterias. It sounds gross, but it has been said to have many general health benefits, and there are lots of accounts of people reacting medically to the drink. I personally have not experienced any miraculous recoveries due to the drink, but it does have an invigorating quality that tends to lighten my mood for several hours post consumption. There are, however, also a few scattered cases of people reacting poorly to improperly or carelessly prepared kombucha, so definitely do your homework and make sure that your kombucha is coming from a reliable and sanitary source. Despite their recent recall (due to complaints about the almost non-existent alcohol content being too high), GT's is a good company with which to start, and they offer the largest collection of flavors of any beverage manufacturer that I've ever encountered. I'd say that if your company offers a wider selection of flavors than Jones Soda, than you're pretty high up there on the variety ladder. I have had Original, Botanic No. 9, Gingerade, Citrus, Grape, Mango, Cranberry, Multi-Green, and a few others that I can't remember and I think that Multi-Green is my favorite so far.

It's a great drink if you are looking to take a bit of an expensive risk, but I think that those who are brave enough to try it in the first place are most likely going to find something to enjoy about it.

Also, GT's bottle is super high quality and just begs to be reused, which is immensely satisfying to me and the environment. It helps make it a little more worth the price.

Verdict: Not for everybody. Recommended for the bold.

Purchased: Earth Fare
Size: 16 fl. oz. (480mL)
Price: $3.69

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Jasmine Tea

In light of this post that I never followed up on, I made some loose jasmine tea tonight using my new tea ball. Pictures ensue:

This was delicious. There is nothing better than a hot cup of tea late at night when I have a paper (in this case a lab report) to stay up late writing. It makes me feel all cuddly inside.

Friday, October 8, 2010

TrueToniqs Brain Toniq

This is a really good beverage. I got this a couple of days ago to drink while I studied for an upcoming Engineering Design test, and I was absolutely blown away. As far as vitalizing my mind, it didn't do anything. But I have yet to find a beverage that actually does have an effect on my mental state. I'm starting to believe that I am immune to caffeine and other such energy boosters. But anyway, this is a wonderful drink. It is essentially just a carbonated citrus beverage, but there are also heavy tones of indeterminate botanical flavorings, and it is fantastic. I am starting to like botanically flavored beverages more and more with each new one that I try. I would certainly recommend this one, although be forewarned: the price is a little steep (but well worth it).

Verdict: Highly recommended

Purchased: Earth Fare (Columbia, SC)
Size: 8.4 fl. oz (250mL)
Price: $2.59

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Solixir: Restore

I picked this drink up at my local organic food store, and I have to say, it is a great one. Branded as a "Sparkling Botanical Beverage," Solixir comes in several flavors, most of them with some sort of flower-based flavor. I got the pomegranate-ginger version, though, as I was in the mood for some ginger at the time. This drink was great. It's very simply flavored, with obviously natural ingredients, and the blend of ginger and pomegranate was just right, with neither being overpowering (and when it comes to ginger-infused beverages, a balanced mix can be hard to find). It was delicious, and left me satisfied at the end of the can. I wanted neither more nor less of the drink by the time I had finished. I look forward to trying the other flavors in the (hopefully near) future.

Verdict: Recommended

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

I have a ludicrous amount of work to do.

Today's review will be postponed until tomorrow evening.

Friday, October 1, 2010

American Ginseng with Honey Flavor Drink

As usual, I picked this up at my local Asian market. You certainly have to like ginseng to enjoy this beverage, but I do like ginseng, and I thought it was very good. I really enjoy the earthy taste of ginseng, and the honey complimented it well. As with most Asian drinks, this one tastes very natural and is very easy to drink. It feels healthy and tastes great in the process.

Verdict: Recommended