K4T vs Ontario

OK I am back from my trip to Ontario and I am here to report that Canada is not some strange foreign land. The parts of Ontario I saw were basically like an Iowa punctuated with West Hartford, Connecticuts, if that helps you place the area in your mental topography at all. They rely a bit too heavily on coin money, which is frankly gross and tiresomely historical, but whatever. I was just visiting.

Beverage-wise there were no real surprises, sadly. I was hoping to find something new and unheard of, the potable equivalent of poutine, perhaps, but nay. They drink what we drink, and I guess the world just seems a little bit smaller today. *sigh*

Black Cherry soda comes in large and economically-effiecient plastic bottles! Josh maybe Canada is your religion’s idea of Heaven? Also: they decided that to have Cream Soda be red.

IRN-BRU is in full-effect. I actually like this better over time.

You can find TrueBlue there, unlike where I live. Although they were out of Blueberry Green Tea.

Itzer was the only beverage I came across that I hadn’t seen anywhere else. It’s USP is that it is red. Not exactly news. And not exactly tasty, either.

This was like whoa. Fruitopia Tangerine Wavelength is in full effect! I scanned the cartons, and there’s no mention of Coca-Cola anywhere on them. It’s like a breakaway faction of Fruitopia enthusiasts, high on patchouli fumes, have established an illicit indie revival of their favorite C-list beverage. If you look closely, the title actually reads F.R.U.I.T.O.P.I.A. and contains a small hidden logo of a muted post horn.

Ontario: the beverage revolution is brewing, but will involve resets of beverages you already know you don’t like.

Red Bull

There comes a time in every man’s life when he has to wake up to a cold hard truth that can no longer be ignored. For some men, that means reconciling their desire to wear a leather vest and no shirt with their loveless heterosexual marriage. As for me, (relax) I must face up to the fact that I am a Red Bull enthusiast. Who knew! Me, an energy drink guy! I don’t even own a pair of cargo pants. My day-to-day activities are neither extreme nor to the maxx, and are rarely performed with anything even approaching aplomb or élan.

And yet, if you look at my beverage statistics, it turns out I drink Red Bull more often than any other beverage besides water. Straight up, not even joking, I am just as taken aback by all of this as you are. But I am a travelling man, and I pretty much swear by Red Bull for my long car trips. I probably went through 10 cans in the last two weeks alone, what with the hither and yon.

What I like about it:

  • The taste isn’t completely terrible.
  • No HFCS.
  • Doesn’t make me all spazz out with a heart attack.
  • Has a more complicated chemical formula than coffee (read: inspires bathroom visits with less frequency).

Sorry to describe the drink in terms of what it isn’t. I didn’t invent the rules of the English language; I just wield it like a cat o’ nine tails against the vinyl-clad ass of your mind.

Jones Monster Mojito Soda

Is this the perfect recipe for a grown-up soda? Or just a chillingly obvious plan to turn America’s youth into alcoholics?

Man last I checked my name ain’t Heraclitus of Ephesus, what do I know about such things. Although I must admit, a soda named and flavored after a popular alcoholic drink, and sold in the Halloween section at Target–right next to the candy corn and Thomas the Train costumes–seems, what, un peu gauche?

Even so. If I go on record saying I liked this, I do not want to be blamed this Halloween when you get 93 Jango Fetts at your door screaming “Absolutely fuck a bunch of Milky Ways, we have recently acquired a taste for caipirinhas.”

I’ll say this about the flavor scientists over at Jones: they are on some next-level shit. The ingredients are just a list of chemicals, nothing even remotely resembling an actual flavor, but the end result is suprisingly mojito-like. Although it wasn’t quite minty enough, the lime and carbonation were just right, and it even (I swear) left that slightly burny aftertaste of alcohol on my tongue. It was no joke. I could totally see drinking these in the car.

Incidentally, there are little sayings on the insides of Jones soda caps, and this time mine said “Stop Smoking.” Which is a little like being reminded by a prostitute to use your turn signals when you pull over to pick her up.

Open Thread: Best Chain for Bevs

Which chain restaurant do you think has the best beverage options, I wonder. For me it’s Sonic or nothing. The menu is huge and they give you the tools to make your beverage dreams a reality. I don’t think I’ve ever had the same thing there twice. This past weekend I went with the Orange Cool Breeze (Sprite w/ cherry and orange flavorings, plus pineapple chunks) and was totally not disappointed. But if there’s something better out there, in the name of all that’s holy, I want to know about it.

K4T vs Austin: Day Three

And on the third day, Jesus rolled away the stone, and kfan wrestled the cap of the Austin bottle, sipping at last of a fine beverage therein. I know you’re tired of me always comparing myself to Jesus, but seriously I think there’s something there.

I had breakfast at Las Manitas on my last morning in Austin and it was AOK x infinity. My two main takeaways: breakfast without guacamole will no longer be considered breakfast, and the fact that I’m not sure where to get agua fresca in my town is going to be a huge problem on a go-forward basis.

From the reading I’ve been doing: agua fresca is a catch-all term for a low-budget beverage usually comprised of fruit juice, water and sugar. For a reason I’m not quite clear on, agua fresca can also refer to horchata, which is made from rice milk and in my mind belongs in a completely separate phylum. But I guess Mexican scientists have a different organizational schema and I’ll just assume they know what they’re doing.

So back to Las Manitas. I took the establish-a-baseline approach and ordered a limonada agua fresca. It was nice, tasting like fresh limes, was less “sweet” than “not sour” and had a quick, salty finish. As a whole it wasn’t mind-blowing, so I felt like I should also sample another flavor. I’ve had horchata and already have an opinion about it, so I tried the piña agua fresca instead. And it took me 3 minutes to find the code for that ñ and get it inserted into the WordPress system here, so let me just use it a few more times. ññññ. Ordering a second, different kind of agua fresca stretched my communication with the waiter to its absolute limit (What, why, you didn’t like the first one? What was wrong with it? No, I did like it but I want to try a different flavor, please charge me for two, agua fresca es mi amiga and so forth). Totally worth it, the piña was killer. Very sweet pineapple, but not all acidic and raw like fresh pineapple usually is, plus with some coconut in there as well. Highlight of my trip, and that includes all the drug addicts and alcoholics I had the pleasure of interfacing with as they hassled me for change on the streets.

Thanks to both df and kmel for recommending Las Manitas. Next time I travel somewhere I’ll ask for recommedations on the site before I go. Stay alert, readers of K4T/citizens of the world! You could be called upon at any minute to assist your favorite bevologists. It could be in a few weeks, or it could be tomorrow. Actually it will be right now: I’m going to Missouri in a few weeks, so if by chance there’s some local soda brew I need to know about, holla at your gents.

K4T vs Austin: Day Two

A true fact: the tap water here tastes like the earth. It has a grassy, dirty, earthiness to it. Like licking the dewy, freshly-cut grass. But I’m not here to judge. Well, I sort of am, but still.

What else. I’m knee-deep in margarita lore. I’ve learned a lot about what makes a good margarita, but sadly, more from reading the literature than sampling the flavas. Apparently a good margarita is one that uses lime juice instead of sour mix. And also the salt on the rim business is basically a ruse to hide the taste of inferior tequila. So I got a margarita at the restaurant last night. It cost $7 and it had both salt and sour mix, so who knows man, who knows. Probably the thing that I’ll take away from Austin is that Dos Equis is a dependable beer. I mean I knew that, but here, in whatever country this is, I’ve relearned the importance of that knowledge. Like the one time in your 20s when you actually used Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally.

On the juice and soda front, all I can tell you is that I roamed all over last night (OK three city blocks), looking for new bevs, but it’s the same stuff here that they have everywhere else. I did see those Milky Way and 3 Muskateers Slammers, but eh. One time in in high school I was talking with a friend about some girl and he used the phrase “I wouldn’t fuck her with your dick.” That’s basically how I feel about drinking that much milk. I mean I’m mixing metaphors, but whatever.

Burger King Soda Fountain Recipes

The other day I was at a Burger King somewhere in Indiana and I noticed that they had helpful drink recipe suggestions on the soda fountain. For all I know, every Burger King across the country has been doing this for about 10 years, but I haven’t been to a Burger King in about, I don’t know, 10 years, so this was new and interesting for me. A for Effort, even though none of the recipes actually seem that good to me. Remind me later to tell you my Abortion of God recipe, which you can make at any Long John Silver’s.

K4T vs Austin: Day One

Josh as I think I mentioned on more than one occasion, I am in Austin, TX this week, sampling the local flavor. Or trying to, anyway. When I first arrived downtown last night I was like “OMG a city full of homeless people!!!” but it turns out that’s just how everyone dresses here. Anyways last night I mostly only drank beer, in order to get acclimated to the temperature change. This morning I went to the corner five-and-dime to see what beverages were proffered, but it was pretty much all Coke and Pepsi products. 🙁 Although it was neat to see Jarritos right next to the Dr Pepper. But so that plan went busto and then I found a Jamba Juice while walking around and got something called a Peenya Kowlada. It was exactly as bad as the name implies. I guess truth in advertising is alive and well in Austin. Anyways I’ll keep looking around for something interesting and hopefully update you more later. I hope you’re doing OK. Have we been getting a lot of spam comments?

Yoo-Hoo Dyna-Mocha

Man, when was the last time I had Yoo-Hoo? Probably twenty years ago, at least. Ugh. I don’t want to get all heavy about my Early Circumstances, but Yoo-Hoo was one of the beverages of my youth that my dad and brother both loved and I couldn’t stand. Moxie being the other. My inability to chug those bevs along with the other men in the family is basically how I ended up casting my lot in with the women-folk, and well, I guess you know the rest. I showed you my therapy bill that one time.

But a lot can change in 20 years–I did turn out heterosexual, Dad, and apparently Yoo-Hoo now comes in a host of different flavors! Who knew! Not me.

With a name like “Dyna-Mocha”, you’d expect the beverage to absolutely decimate your preconceived notions about the mixing of coffee and chocolate, and that is exactly what it does. OK not really, but they seem to have the science down. I’ve still got the empty Dyna-Mocha bottle on my desk and dang I would love another one. If only I could share the moment with my father. O, to have those twenty years back!

Dad? Can you hear me up there, Dad? I found a Yoo-Hoo I like, Daddy. Your boy finally found a Yoo-Hoo he likes. *uncontrollable sobs* Hold on, my Dad’s not dead.

SoBe National Tour 2006

The SoBe Love Bus recently pulled into town, and K4T got the exclusive interview with the kid who drives it!

K4T: Hey what’s up.

SoBe Kid: Hey.

K4T: You just drive around, showing off the beverages?

SoBe Kid: Yeah.

K4T: How’d you get hooked up with that gig?

Sobe Kid: My friend did it last summer. So…did you want to try something?

My host gestured to the table in front of him, across which an array of SoBe products were displayed.

K4T: What kind is your favorite?

SoBe Kid: I guess this one.

K4T: You know these pink ones have cochineal extract in them? It’s a red dye made from bugs.

SoBe Kid: *shrugs*, *checks watch.*

After carefully perusing the ingredients, I indicated that I would like to try SoBe Energy Power Fruit Punch and he poured me half a Dixie Cup’s worth. It was OK. Tasted fruit punch-y. Actually as such, it was significantly better than a lot of the energy drinks out there, which generally taste like a grapefruit trying to fuck an electrical socket. And of course it made me mildly anxious for 30 minutes, as anything with even one gram of taurine or guarana seems wont to do. Pretty soon I won’t even be able to leave the house for fear of getting too hysterical.

While I was finishing my bev and crushing the Dixie Cup against my forehead, the local Pepsi rep came over to talk to my guy about how things were going and where his next stop was going to be, so I was unable to continue the interview. Still, I feel like some real headway was made. Significant inroads, as such. Look for SoBe to pull all cochineal-infused products from the shelves any day now, and stay tuned to K4T for more exclusive interviews with the leaders in the beverage industry!