Kagome Orange Carrot Blossom

A perennial favorite, and probably my preferred breakfast juice. It always tastes fresh, in a way that supermarket orange juice never does. But it also has a more complex flavor, such that while drinking it a person might be inclined to dig around for a monocle and phrases like “aromatics” and “tongue map.”

It’s filled with all kinds of vegetables I would never put in my body otherwise. Watercress? Beets? These are not things that fit within my cognitive schema and I probably could not pick them out of a produce section line-up. But even so, drinking Kagome doesn’t make me feel like I’m being healthy against my will. It’s sweet and tastes like an actual juice, not some scientific health concoction. Presumably I’m getting my RDA of something or other, maybe even teasing my colon back to life, but that’s all happening in the background while I’m just enjoying my beverage. I can feel good about it without really having to care too much. Sort of my approach to parenting and charitable giving. If only the rest of my life could go as smoothly.

Homer Soda Company

Josh. Oh my goodness and merciful heavens to Betsy. I finally made my pilgrimage to the Homer Soda Company. It’s this tiny little store out in the middle of nowhere, specializing in off-brand and hard-to-find glass bottle sodas. It was as though my whole life up to that point had been a sad, arduous journey, and at long last I was home.

When I first walked in there was a family at the register, buying two cases of some root beer I’d never heard of. Then a group of old ladies came in, asking the owner if she had any of the honey-lime ginger ale left. Meanwhile here’s me, basically giggling and skipping up and down the aisles. A mom came in with her daughter and they sat at one of the little tables at the front of the store, drinking a chocolate cola and a Triple XXX Root Beer.

Josh do you get what I am saying? No one was drinking Coke or Mountain Dew! Everyone there was perfectly comfortable –even disposed towards– the underdog, the indie beverages. We were all drawn there not by expensive marketing campaigns and ridiculous rebranding schemes, but by thirst, and by the desire for something different. It was exactly how I wish life always was.

Obviously I purchased more than a few things there, and will keep you appraised of my progress through these finds. Plus don’t worry, I sent you a care package!

I cannot wait to go back. I want to be there even now, once again amongst my people. Amongst our people.

Archer Farms Mango Juice

Q: HOW excited was I to have mango juice for breakfast every day this week?

A: EXCITED excited.

Q: I am so happy for you, I have not seen you this full of zazz in so long!

A: I know, seriously!

Q: SO HOW WAS IT?????21111!!!!

A: If I was a mango I would go absolutely Rambo on this juice and avenge my name! The Target Corporation would play the role of Colonel Trautman. They drew first juice, not me. And then Mangbo just goes completely nuts, using a bazooka to destroy the vats of orange and grape juice they used to water him down, and in the end, we, the audience, must face the consequences of our role in creating this juice, because we are part of society.

Q: I don’t think he gets a bazooka until Rambo 2.

A: Is that the one where he falls in love with the Asian woman?

Q: Yes.

A: OK.

Lorina Sparkling French Berry Lemonade

Seriously would you just look at that bottle. Is that classy or what. That is classy. A bottle like that says 5-star Zagat. Crisp white linens and at least two forks. Lemon wedges in the water. If Maura Tierney saw me drinking this, she would definitely start returning my calls. Just as high-class as can possibly be. So tell me this: if I’m drinking such a fancy beverage, why don’t I feel superior to everyone else?

The drink is fine. It’s exactly what it says it is, but I wish it was more of everything it purports to be. I wish it was more juice and less soda. I wish it had more berry kick, but I also wish it was more lemony. I wish–I’ll go ahead and say it–I wish it was a bit less sweet. I wish that when I’d purchased it, at the fancy coffee shop near campus, the barista had given me the elevator eyes for just once, and maybe said something like Oh hey is that from France, I did a semester in Paris last year, and I would be like Oh really I bet that was a really amazing experience. And she would be like Yeah, I really learned a lot, not just about myself, but also about the ways of love. And I would lean in closer and hold her stare and be like Wow, cool, I would love to hear more about it, and she would be like Well I would love to show you more about it.


As far as the berry-lemonade genre is concerned, I think Sonic’s Lemon-Berry Slush is still the best bet. But how low-class is that? A “hamburger joint”? God, would you ever? Can you even imagine? Being waited on by people wearing sneakers? And visors? Who’ve never done a semester in Paris? I mean or so I’ve heard?

Things I Have Not Been Doing

I was going to detail my six-month bender, which I thought I’d pretty accurately documented in my “Moleskine” (a sheaf of liquor store receipts held together by a dirty purple scrunchie), but as I look over my notes here I’m starting to realize that a) they don’t correspond to reality, and b) they don’t even correspond to what I thought was reality, which also turns out to be incorrect.

See, I was under the impression that I spent the last six months as an apprentice to a master electrician, learning his trade and blossoming under his hard-earned wisdom. We rewired the expansive homes of young, fragile widows, sometimes taking a lemonade break and talking of things simple and hearty. I learned respect for what my master called the “White Snake” — electricity.

And each evening I would carefully document the day’s thoughts and events in my Moleskine. Or so I thought. Now that I read through it again I find it to be a kind of sloppily plotted adventure story, with me stealing a Norfolk wherry and taking it to Belize (although I guess I got confused later on and started calling it “Belmar”) and getting in throwing-star fights. In the end I’m betrayed by the very underage prostitute I paid to teach me how to love. It’s all pretty bleccch, but the good news is I’m all covered for NaNoWriMo.

But after a series of interviews with Gonzalo and yourself, and some fairly intense Googling, I’ve been able to determine that not only did I not learn to respect electricity, but I was basically nonverbal and incontinent with drunkenness, and hardly even left my house for those six months. Much of that time was spent either in quiet repose or using After Effects to splice my goddamn maid Thalia into some regrettable home movies I’d made of myself back in my spirited college days. I’m going to not talk about that any more and I have sent YouTube a cease-and-desist.

Point is that now and then I’d head over to the K4T offices for some real heart-to-hearts with Gonzalo. On one momentous afternoon, he got all fed up with my condition and said that I required the immediate intervention of a professional colon hydrotherapist, a job I didn’t even know existed.

But thanks to the delicate touch of Dr. Gretchen Ainsley, my understanding of liquids was taken to staggering new heights. I do not mean to brag about my highly developed senses, and I do not mean to say that they are keener than yours. But I think people who believe that beverages should only go in the mouth-hole are being sort of naive and close-minded.

So even though my beverage-exploration took a pretty severe nosedive in recent months, I have come through this dark time stronger and wiser and with a touch of jaundice and cholestasis. And along the way I found a beverage that got me through my wide-awake nightmare, a beverage that lit up something deep within me, a beverage that will be receiving an extremely highly starred review in this space.

Goya Coconut Soda

Josh do you remember the time I had that coconut drink with all the moist chunks in it? What about do you remember the time I had the coconut drink that spit in my mouth? FORGET ALL THOSE TIMES because I have a new coconut beverage.

What is it about coconut, I wonder. It keeps luring me back with the promise of virgin tropics and a life free from worry. In my quiet moments, I don’t actually consider myself to be a coconut person. I don’t like the sun or the beach. I don’t care for the outdoors, or for “weather”. I don’t find myself in the produce section thinking Hey, I should eat a coconut. I even remember the one time I had actual coconut– it was 10 years ago. Some friends thought it would be fun to bring one to a picnic, but neglected to bring any kind of useful tools to open it with. Someone spent 10 minutes smashing it furiously against the corner of a picnic table until it burst into a million pieces, all of which landed on the dirty ground. And after all that, it wasn’t even good! Did you know that actual coconut tastes nothing like the shredded stuff you find in candy bars and cakes? I know! I think that was the afternoon I perfected my half-hearted smile, and resolved to seek out new friends. And you know how that turned out for me.

So I have a complicated relationship with coconut. Because still, the idea of coconut manages to inhabit. Luckily I am not a dude who dwells unnecessarily on the past, letting it color his modern, waking life, because otherwise I would not have allowed this beverage to seduce me.

It tasted EXACTLY like I wanted. It was lovely and coconuty, sweet and bubbly. I could chill with this on a long evening, regaling others with tales of youthful folly and friends I no longer care to associate with. This beverage is sitting in the air-conditioned lobby in the hotel by the beach, rather than sitting on the sand, under the sun, sweating and dying.

For some people, smashing a coconut against the corner of a picnic table, then crouching in the grass while brushing the dirt and bugs off the exploded shards, is a fine way to spend an afternoon. As for me, I like someone wearing white cotton gloves to pour a beverage such as this into a coconut and then hand it to me, before trotting off to turn the a/c up just a titch. I guess that’s why you and I are such good friends. Cheers.

Jarritos Tamarindo

Josh. Like you, I have been searching long and lean for a good tamarind soda. A lot of the tamarind sodas on the market today, they skimp on the tamarind flavor. I’ll just say it. The global tamarind beverage syndicate doesn’t want to hear it, but I will say it. The products they deliver are at best tamarind-esque. My saying this could get us shut down, I don’t know. But the people’s voice will be heard, and the people’s voice is saying Seriously is there even one good tamarind soda, having maximum tamarind flavor, available at a price that is not excessively tariff’d?

OK fine I have no clue what a tamarind is or what it tastes like. But who cares. You think I would ever let the facts stop me from achieving pure enjoyment? I was expecting this to taste like, what, Rutabaga Cola or something, but it was not at all like that. It tasted like sweet tea soda and I liked it.

Mexican Coke Vs. Passover Coke

Two varieties of Coca-Cola. Both sweetened with cane sugar, rather than high fructose corn syrup. On the surface–could they be more similar? And yet if we look a bit more closely, we find they have vastly disparate pedigrees. Which is the ultimate? K4T asks the impossible questions, in our continual pursuit of the incontrovertible truth.

The origins of Mexican Coke are shrouded in legend and mystery. Who even knows how it gained ingress to this country? Did it save the nickels it earned, street-fighting on poorly-lit corners, saving up to purchase a crudely-drawn map from a coyote with an eye patch? See the glass bottle’s silhouette, as it races across the desert at night. And even later, having established itself at the local groceria, its presence is only truly known to those with knowledge of the secret password. An almost imperceptible nod from the owner, and you are taken through the false door behind the telenovela rentals, back to the Mexican Coke display room. Its name is whispered in the dreams of children and old men. Mexican Coke is everywhere and nowhere, inspiring the hopes and spirits of anyone who ever dared to dream.

And what of Passover Coke? He spends 50 weeks out of the year wearing sunglasses and a loose towel, laying beneath a sunlamp in a temperature-controlled warehouse. “It is time to make your appearance,” its manager says. Passover Coke rolls its eyes. “Again? Explain to me why I keep you on the payroll, if I’m always having to glad-hand the proletariat.” The manager shrugs and look sheepish. “Forget it,” Passover Coke says with disgust. “Forget you. Just bring the limo around.” It is a brief, air-conditioned trip to the chartered jet. Passover Coke will be flown out to the ritzy supermarket, where it will swoop down on a parachute to alight upon the dais, a false smile and a half-hearted wave to the adoring crowd. Unworthy cretins, Passover Coke thinks, vowing a hard punch to the eye for the first person who tries to touch it. Next year we’re farming this gig out to RC Cola.

Based on these facts, and others too innumerable to mention, Mexican Coke is certainly the more worthy beverage.

Snapple Mandarin Tangerine Red Tea

Man. This drink required a pantload of research. Maybe it’s just me being rusty at this beview shizz, but I felt like I was starting from nothing. What is red tea, and how does it stack up against black, green, white, regular and Lipton? Was I supposed to already know what rooibos is? And is this a real thing that’s been around for hundreds of years, somehow only just landing on our marketplace shores, or is it more of a marketing concept, created to re-energize brand-sick consumers? And then, what is a “mandarin tangerine”? Is that like an actual thing, or are they saying it’s a combination of tangerine and mandarin orange flavors. Did they mix the flavors together in a lab, or are we talking horticulture and hybridization here? But how come neither one is listed in the actual ingredients? And for that reason, how come this drink isn’t listed on Snapple’s website?

So I was basically Wikipediaing the shit out of this one. And it all kind of ended up being moot because the first sip was awful, and it went downhill from there. Not at all tea-licious, just flat– that sort of unemotional tastelessness that is currently in vogue in the tea and fruit water sectors. I remember when a Snapple had mad flava. Who’s with me.

It’s unfortunate, because it smells really good. Sort of fruity and herbal-y. Light and gentle. Summer breeze and a carefree smile. If I met a girl whose hair smelled like this I would want to date her. But then if I kissed her and she tasted like this, well, the less said, but I would certainly remove her from my Top 8 on Myspace, I can tell you that.

AND THEN I realized the drink was caffeine-free, which was a bummer because the whole reason I drank it in the first place was because stapling and filing had me down, and I was hoping for a little jolt to get me through the afternoon. So I went and had some of the office coffee instead. I put a little sugar in and it was OK.

I guess my takeaway is: drink first, research later. One to grow on, or whatever.

The First K4T User-Generated Content Contest

Dear Everyone–

I am back safe and sound, thanks very much to all the alert K4T readers who figured out the note and emailed J&G info about my whereabouts. Long story short, Josh’s maid, Thalia, who is extremely hot (no offense, J) also turned out to be a spy for the Pro-Cochineal Militia. What’s more, she broke my heart, just when I was finally learning how to love. Anyways, Gonzalo picked me up yesterday afternoon so I’m back now and just sort of getting my bearings here. I need to get Josh to rehab, and I guess Gonzalo hasn’t filed one god damn thing in about six months. While we find our feet, how about a nice little contest!

Please write in and tell us, in 200 words or less, about the best new beverage you enjoyed while K4T was on hiatus. The most entertaining entry will appear here on the site. Yes, you read that correctly: something you wrote might appear on a website. OK to sweeten the deal we will also send the winner a bona fide K4T Prize Pack of Random Beverages. U.S.A only, unfortunately, since I don’t know much about sending boxes of suspicious beverages overseas in our post 9/11 world, and funds are a bit tight until this season’s kickbacks from [Global Beverage Corporation] start rolling in.

Please send your missives in no later than Monday, April 30th, and either I or Gonzalo (if he still has a job) will read them.

Thank you for helping us:

  1. put content on the site
  2. stall

Regular beviews return next week.