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.
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]