Thursday, January 13, 2011

Natural sodas

I wanted to share a few of the different soda brands I’ve tried, in an effort to limit my ingestion of high fructose corn syrup and artificial sweeteners. The ingredients of these sodas are natural (to me, that means not only that I can pronounce their name, but that I could see using them in my own kitchen).

My first experience was not very good. I tried two sodas by Dry Soda Company, the vanilla bean and the lavender. There were other interesting flavours, like lemongrass, juniper berry and rhubarb. While I love both vanilla and lavender, these sodas did not do it for me. They were, well, quite dry, and not sweet at all. They were too bitter for my taste.

A brand that I like is Central Market Organics, which has a line of Italian sodas in flavours like pomegranate, blood orange, pear-apple, prickly pear, red grapefruit and lemonade. They are really good, and readily available in the grocery store where I shop (HEB). Unfortunately, I think those are only available in Texas.

I tried GuS Dry Cola, made with real kola nut. It was quite good, and there are many flavours I’d like to try next; I’m keeping an eye out for them now. “GuS” stands for “grown-up sodas”.

Then there was Fentiman’s Victorian Lemonade, which has hints of ginger in it. It did feel like an olde-time drink, in a good way The catch is that it’s fermented and does, therefore, have a (tiny) percentage of alcohol in it. I’d be curious to try their rose lemonade, though.

Finally, I tried Hansen’s cane sodas, in both natural cola flavour and vanilla flavour, the former being my favourite of the two (but only slightly). These come in cans, the same format as the “regular” ubiquitous sodas; depending on how you store your drinks and how vulnerable your are to peer pressure, this can be a nice thing.

I naively thought I could continue drinking commercial ginger ale, and I really liked Canada Dry’s new green tea ginger ale (you can really taste both flavours, and it has natural antioxidants and vitamin C), but I realized that has high fructose corn syrup. There are however smaller name brands that make more natural ginger ale, and I could make it myself, too. I’m seriously considering buying a soda maker and/or a juicer; I’ll keep you posted on that.

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