Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Cola Contenders -- Rounds 1 and 2

For the past few weeks, I've been feeling icky about drinking soda. The regular stuff is full of high fructose corn syrup and chemicals, which I know aren't healthy. The diet variety -- my typical go-to -- is a combination of fake sweeteners and more chemicals. Since I don't like club soda or fruity pops, I decided to start the search for a delicious, natural cola drink. Along the way, Grey and I thought it would be fun to do a taste test. We bought three -- with plans to acquire at least one more -- and evening by evening, we're working our way through them. Here are the contenders:
From left to right, we have 365 Cola (Whole Foods brand), Virgil's Real Cola, and Blue Sky Natural Soda in Cola. Not pictured is Jones Cane Sugar Cola because I still have to go buy it.

Round 1 took place Tuesday night. Up first was Virgil's. This brand is the most appealing visually in its neato glass bottle. It also has a fun twist-off cap that I can use for craft projects. Unfortunately, it's nearly a dollar more expensive than the cans for the same amount of beverage. Taste-wise, this drink was quite good. It has a complex flavor more akin to Dr. Pepper than Coke or Pepsi. The clove and vanilla are noticeable but not overpowering. What this soda is missing is bite. The carbonation is a bit lacking, which is too bad. If it were stronger, this may have been an early winner. Rating: Out of 5 bubbles, my co-tester (AKA my boyfriend) gave it 3 bubbles, and I was a little more generous with 3.5.

Round 2 took place last night. The second competitor is Blue Sky.

(A friend recommended I take a picture of the drinks in a glass to show off the color since, without caramel color, most soda is naturally clear. I don't have a picture like this of Virgil's, but I plan to purchase another bottle so I can show you what it looks like out of the bottle. As you can see, Blue Sky's cola is brown because it contains caramel coloring, though the can indicates it's from natural sources.)

This soda comes in a pretty can with lots of lovely blue, but it's not nearly as cool as the bottle. It cost me $.69 at Whole Foods, and I think you can get a six-pack there for about $3, so it does win the price war. The cola had a decent flavor but was much less complex than Virgil's. No particular flavors stuck out to us. Grey and I both remarked that it tasted a lot like RC Cola. I think Coke drinkers will be more likely than Pepsi drinkers to enjoy this soda. Like Virgil's, it has low carbonation, which is a definite strike against it. Where's the bite, natural soda manufacturers? Rating: I gave it 2.5, but my love gave it a 2. Virgil's was a clear winner over this one, giving it a second-day advantage.

Round 3 takes place tonight, so I'll make sure to update you soon. I hope you enjoyed this little detour. :)


Renee said...

I can't wait to find out the winner! Jones Sodas are like candy- yum!

samann1121 said...

Does "fruity pops" include Izze soda? That's my favorite. There's still a lot of sugar, but it's really just carbonated water and fruit juice. Sooooo gooood....

Brigid said...

Renee -- I'm excited to try it. I've heard their cola is excellent.

Jessie -- I haven't tried Izze, but that's generally in the same genre of pops I don't like. I may give them a try at some point, but I'm really just a cola fan.

VieiraGirl said...

Iam addicted to soda. I think it is the bubbles. But I do not like soda water so I might have to rethink that. I can't wait to see who wins

Cola Wars 3 said...

Jones Pure Cane Cola is my favorite...

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