Strange Beverages I Have Tried

This page describes some beverages I've tried which, as of my experience, sit pretty well outside of the mainstream. I've seen a couple drop off the face of the earth, and at least one has achieved something of a mainstream status. In any case, everything on this page is here not because I heard it was good but because there was an interesting selling point. Nevertheless, I have rarely found the flavors to be offensive.

A note on caffeine: We all know what it does, but I've only recently found out how it works. Apparently caffeine temporarily distends the blood vessels in the brain, allowing increased blood-flow. My wife used to be subject to nasty periodic headaches, and cut her caffeine intake drastically after finding out that little tidbit. Her headaches have virtually disappeared and are much less severe when they do occur. There may be some placebo effect, but I doubt it can be entirely attributed to positive thinking. To help her limit caffeine consumption, we've taken to stocking only caffeine-free beverages in our house. The interesting thing is that for both of us, this weaning process has left us with a lower tolerance for caffeine than we once had. Sadly, it seems that most of the "interesting" beverages that are coming out now have high levels of caffeine in them. I'll let the sociologists deal with why that is, but I'd like to state publicly that I wish someone would introduce, or at least alert me to, an interesting and flavorful drink that isn't augmented to be an enabler for Type-A personalities. I don't need any help along those lines.

Arizona RX

Arizona's been selling iced tea for years, but they hardly qualified as interesting until the recent release of their RX "tonics." I've seen two, one for health and one for memory, and what first caught my eye was the bottle. It's clear, with surface features including the name of the owner - Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons - in elaborate script, a registration date and five textured indentations to give you a good grip. I tried the health mixture today because I'm a bit congested. Black and green teas with honey and licorice. Also has vitamin C, zinc, echinacea and rose hips. A similar concoction to the SoBe Lizard Blizzard. The taste is good. Less bitter than green tea usually is, the honey is barely perceptible but welcome.

Bawls Guarana

Bawls is a beverage featuring extract from the guarana berry. Very "light" in many senses; it's pale yellow, has a light fruit flavor, and is mildly carbonated. The bottle is a dark translucent blue mostly covered with tiny raised hemispheres.


I think this was labeled as Hot-Fudge Sundae soda. It's the first strange drink I recall trying, and in trying to find information about it for this page I've found that there are a small number of people who knew and liked "Canfield's Diet Chocolate Fudge" soda. That's probably what I'm remembering. Flavor was interesting but not compelling, I think; it's been a long time. They don't appear to have a web site, but one person on the 'Net claims they're based in Chicago. They allegedly make a Chocolate Cherry soda that's worth trying. I haven't seen it. Update: Adam Bannister points out that Canfield's soda, like many others, is available from Yahoo's beverage store. I haven't dealt with them and this mention doesn't constitute an endorsement. This page is all about the soda.

Hank's Black Cherry Wishniak

A sweet cherry soda with a dark red color as might be expected. It appears to be pretty regional; I've never heard of it but it was my wife's favorite beverage growing up. I got some as a surprise for her and got to taste some myself. I'll be going back to Hank's site to try other flavors.

Hansen's Sarsaparilla

I read about this in a magazine some months ago and meant to order some online to try it. Never got around to that, but two varieties showed up in my local supermarket recently. It's a bit expensive at over $4 for 3 14oz bottles, but I decided to try the sarsaparilla. Not bad. It's creamier, both in texture and taste, than other brands I've had. Makes me wonder what the Orange Cream variety is like, so I may spring for another 3-pack soon. Maybe.


Jolt cola has pretty much entered the mainstream now, at least in some subcultures, but when I first tried it noone I knew had heard of it. This is a cola that was marketed under the slogan "All the sugar and twice the caffeine." It's sweet and will give you a buzz, but I found the actual cola flavor to be a bit weak. I've been trying to avoid even the levels of caffeine found in "normal" colas, and a side-effect of that weaning process is that Jolt, like Krank2O, leaves me with unpleasant after-effects. They have the same U.S. distributor.


Krank2O is water with extra caffeine. Doesn't look any different from normal water, but seems to have a slightly higher viscosity. Taste is mildly bitter. Left me with a headache. Two co-workers tried it with similar reactions.


Orbitz was a "natural fruit beverage" produced by Clearly Canadian and packaged in a bottle reminiscent of lava lamps. The line appears to be defunct. It was a clear, non-carbonated liquid with the consistency of water available in several mixed-fruit flavors. The biggest draw for Orbitz is the presence of opaque gelatinous spheres that are suspended in the liquid. They'd probably "settle" if you centrifuged a bottle, but numerous people - myself included - observed bottles left undisturbed for months without noticeable settling. Flavor is generally okay, but not staggeringly good. Overall, it's an excellent novelty drink for a party or some-such, but - at least near me - it's a little pricey and unexceptional for an everyday drink.


SoBe is the name for a collection of juice concoctions featuring extracts rarely found in mainstream drinks. The first variety I became aware of is labeled as an energy drink. Given a chance to actually buy a bottle, I found that several flavors exist, all "specialized" in some way. The bottle has some nice surface features. I'll be chronicling my adventures with this beverage.


Nearly opaque orange coloring. Principal elements are calcium, carnitine, and chromium, and the main ingredients are orange and carrot juice. It's rather sweet and slightly tangy. Pretty good.


This variety contains guarana, yohimbe, and arginine. It's non-carbonated with a translucent orange color. The ingredient list includes orange and lemon, but I couldn't actually pick either out. Maybe tangerine, though. Blame Hegel. (Extra points if you understand the reference.) It's good, but leaves a mild throbbing.


Dark purple, allegedly grape. I tried it the same day I had the orange/carrot variation. The label lists damiana, fo-ti, and dong quai as ingredients. There's definitely grape flavor there, but it was nearly masked by something else, and I really didn't enjoy it.

Lizard Blizzard

This has a color approximating that of skim milk; opaque white water. I bought it to mess with a co-worker because, frankly, the color is a bit disturbing. Key ingredients are echinacea, zinc, and vitamin C; it alleges cold/flu-fighting abilities. The flavor is vaguely familiar, but I'm not sure why. I think it almost reminds me of coconut LifeSavers. It's okay, but I won't be rushing out for a second bottle. I actually had difficulty finishing the first bottle; it gets a little heavy after a while. The labels bears a single lizard on a snowboard.


Ginkgo, St. John's Wort, and Gotu Kola are the interesting ingredients in this nearly-opaque orange drink. The carrier is a mix of tropical juices. I'd say the pineapple and mango come through most strongly.

Zen Blend

This "triple-ginseng" iced tea is a nearly opaque brown color. It's got something called schizandra in it. It's sweetened, but still a little bitter. That's fine in iced tea. Not my favorite variety, but not bad. The lizards - always chasing each others' tails, are superimposed on a Yin/Yang symbol on this bottle's label.


My mother's family is from Michigan and whenever my grandparents went to visit relatives they'd come back with a few cases of Vernor's (which is sadly only available in a few states). Vernor's is a ginger soda, subtly different from a more common modern ginger ale. I love this stuff. It's strong enough that the first sip always makes me cough. No web site I can find, but as with Canfield's it appears to be available from a couple of online vendors.

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