Welcome to my "POP" page.
Soda is a mostly harmless vice. In excess certainly there's way too much sugar to be healthy, but in moderation the tantalizing fizz on the tongue is refreshing. Coke and Pepsi are only to be consumed in the absence of absolutely anything else, but again, it's the fizz that brings you back. Personally, in the world of mundane 'over the counter' pop, my preference is Dr. Pepper. But, away from the commercial mix and squirt fast food joint pop dispensers there's a lot better fare available.
Diet pop is all pretty much bad. Diet, caffeine free Dr. Pepper is about the only one I can do repeatedly over a long period of time. I'm pretty much burned out on diet Pepsi, and I never could stand diet Coke. I do like the fizz but don't want to balloon into a soda junkie, so 99% of the time I'm drinking diet soda to satisfy that craving for the CO2 buzz.
My first memorable exotic pop experience was a can of Vernor's my boss gave me when I was living in Colorado. At the time, Vernor's was unheard of 'out west' where I was from. What a surprise! From that time on I've maintained an interest in 'off broadway' soda.
Here are some of my favorites - some are 'classics' that are now produced in small quantities from nostalgia peddlers, others are big brands that just don't get much penetration into my local market.
Mt Angel Root Beer - A true micro-brew and possibly the world's best root beer. It just doesn't get any smoother, richer or tastier than this. If you're looking for 'light and fluffy', this isn't it. This one is hearty enough to chew! There's a hint of anise in the aftertaste, I believe. Henry Weinhard's is a distant second. Barq's, A&W, etc. don't even rank by comparison.
A local establishment serves Grape Nehi, Black Cherry and a number of other 'nostalgia' brands. Not too bad, actually, but they're pretty one-dimensioned.
Ginger Ales - Schweppes is a run of the mill standard. Reed's Jamaican Ginger Brews are a bold and very spicy collection. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Vernor's and, quite possibly my favorite, Bundaberg Ginger Beer, made for more than a hundred years in Australia. Bundaberg is smooth and rich with a very fine texture. It comes in a funky brown bottle with a unique quick-release top. Here in the states it's $2 a bottle plus shipping. Not a pleasure I indulge in frequently.
Vimto - actually, "Sparkling Vimto Fruit Flavor Drink" - is apparently a world wide favorite. I accidentally bumped into it at a local middle-eastern deli. It's sweet and doesn't taste like any recognizable fruit, but tasty none the less. Manufactured using the original recipe created in 1908, it's certainly an historic experience. Way too much sugar to consume regularly, but tasty none the less!
An Oregon original - OASIS - is a 'berry passion fruit' concoction billed as an 'energy drink.' It has a surprisingly tart taste that is quite unique. It contains caffeine, inositol and traurine, common energy drink ingredients that should be consumed in moderation. Tastes good, but I'm not into the energy drink scene in general.
I'll add to this collection as I discover new tongue tingling tantalizations!