Friday, December 30, 2011

Calpico: Mango

I must admit, I was a little bit nervous when I picked this beverage up off of the shelf. I opted to try the the mango flavored version of the drink, but the original markets itself as a non-carbonated milk/yogurt beverage. I really had no idea what to expect going into this one, but the taste is one that would have likely contradicted my expectations anyway, if I had had any.

Calpico is a little bit hard to describe, as there's really not much out there that tastes like it. It's sort of one of those "have to try for yourself to see" beverages. The base of the drink tasted milky, but it also sports a robustly tangy and acidic bite to it that most creamy flavored things tend not to have. The mango flavoring was quite noticeable, but it was a bit less sweet than other mango flavored things and it did not interfere heavily with the original taste of the drink. While the drink has a relatively milky taste, it's hard to pin down exactly what the drink tastes like, as the acidity turns it into almost an entirely different drink. 

The dairy taste comes through quite clearly, but it is more like Calpico has captured the "essence" of dairy, rather than having the flavor of a full-bodied milk or dairy product. Additionally, the drink does not have the thick consistency of milk, and is only slightly more viscous than most other non-carbonated soft drinks. I am glad that this is the case, however, as I think that had the drink been much thicker, it may have just been too odd to handle in full servings. 

Overall, I really enjoyed the mango Calpico. It was different and unique, and I found it to be surprisingly light and refreshing, despite its somewhat odd combination of elements. I still haven't worked up the nerve to try the original flavor, but I am sure that it is quite good and that I really have nothing to worry about. Definitely give this one a try.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Asian Market [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 16.9 fl. oz. [500 mL]
Price: $1.99 [If memory serves...]

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Taylor's Tonics Holiday Fizz Collection

Although I have had somewhat mixed results with Taylor's Tonic's products in the past, they seem to be a company that I keep coming back to. Their beverages are always interesting and unique, and it's always nice to find companies that are not afraid to take a more experimental approach with their product offerings. I was excited when I found this holiday soda assortment at my local World Market about a month ago, and despite some trepidation about eventually having to drink an egg nog soda, I decided to give it a try. The collection came with four flavors: egg nog, gingerbread, candy cane, and cranberry. Below is a quick overview of what I thought of each flavor.

The egg nog fizz was sure to be my least favorite of the bunch, so I decided to try it first. I really don't like egg nog in it's regular form, so I was not exactly excited about drinking a carbonated version of the flavor. As I expected, I didn't really like this very much. It was heavy and sweet, and the flavor lingered in the back of my throat for a while after each sip. Also, the egg nog flavor really does not go very well with carbonation. I can't say that I would recommend this one.

Having tasted all four of the flavors at this point, I think that the gingerbread flavor was the most interesting. That's not to say that it was the best, as it certainly had its issues (heavy, busy flavor, strong aftertaste, etc.), but it was definitely the most ambitious and different of the bunch. The beverage is supposed to emulate the taste of gingerbread with a combination of ginger, clove, and cinnamon, and it actually does so very well. The only problem with this is that you are...well, for the lack of a better description, you are drinking a gingerbread flavored soda. Again, it's an interesting concept that really just ended up tasting sort of strange in the end.

Given my disappointment with the last two flavors, I was starting to have my doubts about the collection. However, things began to look up a bit with the candy cane shake flavor. As many of you surely know by now, I absolutely love mint. I found Taylor's Tonics' take on candy cane to be a much more suitable flavor for a carbonated beverage, and I enjoyed this one much more than the egg nog and gingerbread sodas. However, the drink was still very heavy and sweet, and I found myself having a hard time finishing the entire serving. 

And last but not least, of course, is the cranberry. This was my favorite of the four sodas that came in the collection. I think that this was largely due to the fact that the flavor seemed a good bit more straightforward than the others, despite it's reasonably lengthy list of ingredients. It pretty much just tasted like cranberry, with a hint of other holiday spices here and there in the background. But still, the cranberry flavoring did suffer a bit from the typical, heavy consistency and sweetness of so many naturally brewed sodas.

I think that the fact that the cranberry was my favorite serves as a great example of my recently adopted philosophy about sodas. It has been my experience (particularly lately) that simpler, more straightforward flavors tend to lend themselves better to a sweetened, carbonated environment. In other words: the simpler the taste, the less likely it will be that elements of the sodas flavor will be lost in the mix. Simpler tastes ultimately leave me feeling more gratified, almost as though the simplicity of the taste offers a more whole and accessible experience.

Anyway, on to my last words about the holiday sampler. Although I did not particularly love any of these sodas, I really enjoyed the process of tasting each of them. Each one was different and unique in its own right, and the sampler was a fun and exciting break from a season of traditional (and often tiresome) beverages. I had some issues with the heaviness of each of these drinks, and I don't know that I'm entirely sold on the "old-fashioned brewed soda" taste just yet, but I still would say that this holiday collection is definitely worth a try if you ever run across one. If nothing else, it was a lot of fun.

Verdict: Worth a try

Purchased: World Market [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $6.99 [4-pack]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Today is my sister's birthday, and I am afraid that I forgot to write today's review up yesterday. I will need to postpone today's review in favor of spending some time with the family. Check back tomorrow afternoon for a review of Taylor's Tonics Holiday Fizz assortment.

- Hayden

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Pop Shoppe Root Beer

For the past several years, I have had a weird aversion to root beer. I always loved the stuff when I was a kid, but for some reason it has held little appeal to me lately. I'll drink the occasional root beer every so often for the sake of trying something new, but I've found that they are usually too sweet for me. I am very rarely able to finish an entire serving in one go, and I've just sort of naturally begun to avoid them altogether.

That being said, I found this little mind-changer at my local Big Lots, and I was so intrigued by the shape of the bottle and the rather adorable label (not to mention the ridiculous price) that I decided that it would be almost silly not to try it. And I am certainly glad that I did. The Pop Shoppe has made a pretty delicious root beer, whether you like root beer or not. The flavors are strong and prominent, and yet are not overwhelming or overly sweet like many other root beers that I've had. Additionally, the drink seems to have a bit of a citrusy aftertaste, almost like eating nothing but the juice vesicles out of an orange slice. It has that sort of light, watery taste of the pulp of the fruit without any of the bitterness of the surrounding septum. I'm not sure if this was intentional or not, but I like it.

Overall, this is a very good root beer. I may still not be the world's biggest root beer fan, but The Pop Shoppe has convinced me to give the beverage another shot. I can't wait to try more of The Pop Shoppe's sodas in the future.

Oh, and be sure to check out The Pop Shoppe's website. The descriptions of their various flavors are genuinely funny.

Verdict: Highly Recommended

Purchased: Big Lots [Greenwood, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $0.60 [Discounted]

Friday, December 16, 2011


It's not very often that I find a non-alcoholic beverage that comes in an aluminum bottle. So, naturally, when I saw this drink sitting on the shelf at a local Wal-Mart, it really jumped out at me. The sleek, minimalist design of the black label is also very eye-catching, and I eagerly decided to give it a try.

ThinQ markets itself as a focus, mood enhancement, and stress relief beverage, and is packed with all natural mood enhancing ingredients such as GABA and ginkgo biloba, among others. Although I did not notice a huge impact in my mood (although, to be fair, I have made a habit of drinking these during the relatively stress-free activity of watching Star Trek all night), I did find ThinQ to be very tasty. Or, at least, I found the "citricity" flavor to be quite tasty. The mixed berry variety tastes a little bit odd; almost like a typical berry flavored energy drink. 

The "citricity" variety, on the other hand, is delicious. It reminds me a lot of a an orange-cream popsicle. ThinQ is sweetened with natural sugar, as well as a bit of Reb A (one of the only derivatives of stevia that I actually find palatable), and it manages to be sweet without being overly so. The consistency of the drink is light and airy, and the level of carbonation is matched well with the flavor. I have had several of these since my initial experience with the beverage, and I have enjoyed each one of them to the bottom of the bottle. Although I don't really like ThinQ's mixed berry flavor very much, the citrus variety is definitely one to check out.

Verdict: Recommended

Purchased: Wal-Mart [Columbia, SC]
Size: 12 fl. oz. [355 mL]
Price: $1.49

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Good news, everyone! I have officially graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Things should quiet down significantly for a while now, and I will finally have some time to get Drinkable Review back to its original pace and consistency.

Thank you all so much for bearing with me during this past semester. Things have been very rough lately, both in school and otherwise, and I sincerely appreciate your understanding.

Posting will resume this coming Friday.

Thanks again,