Hot Ginger Ale from Canada Dry. I nearly burned my hand holding the can while waiting in line. It tasted mostly like hot apple cider, although the carbonation was a little off-putting. I’d recommend you give it a try this winter if, like me, you don’t drink coffee.
Today I’ll give you a three-fer of Japanese soft drinks. The first is this Acerola Soda, of which I’m quite fond. Acerola is berry, similar to a cherry, which contains the highest amount of vitamin C of any fruit known. Vitamin C content is also a marketing point of this soda. The taste is somewhere in between cherry and watermelon.
Next is the new Pepsi flavor for this summer, Salty Watermelon. Pepsi makes a new flavor every summer. In fact, by this point, Salty Watermelon is probably already gone. Japanese food makers love their limited time items, although it makes little sense to me – developing new products takes quite a bit of money, and with the vast majority of limited time items only being sold for a handful of months, often in limited territories, I wonder if they’re making back what they invested. But, anyway, Salty Watermelon soda. Actually, its a very appropriate flavor for a summer-themed drink in Japan. In Japan, its quite common to sprinkle a small amount of salt on watermelon, which contrary to expectations actually make it taste sweeter (this fact is now being picked up in some “life hack” articles). So although it sounds strange now, in a decade or so, it may seem perfectly normal. The taste wasn’t bad, which was surprising to me as I don’t like watermelon in the first place. It was basically as the name described – your standard artificial watermelon flavor with a hint of salt. Actually, it was a lot like a sports drink, which contain salt to help replenish sodium lost during exercise.
Last up is Espressoda, an espresso-flavored soda which tasted absolutely awful to me – but then, I don’t like coffee. My girlfriend described it as tasting like a carbonated coffee candy drop. She felt it was far too sweet. Eventually, after sitting in the fridge for several days, she turned it into coffee-flavored jello which she liked much better.
Summer is the season for new Japanese soft drinks, with quite a few seemingly just spit-balling, such as the eel-based soda from a few years ago. Today I give you 三代目米づくり (Sandaime-komezukuri, roughly, “third-generation rice cultivation”). As the name indicates, it’s a rice-based carbonated beverage produced by Japan Tobacco, which makes a surprising number of drinks for a tobacco company. In addition to saccharified rice flour, it’s made with sweetened condensed milk, giving it a flavor similar to Calpis, which to me tastes like crushed-up Smarties melted in water. Take that as you will.