Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Week: Day Three - Soda Shaq: Strawberry Cream Soda

It's day two of tasting the marvel that is Soda Shaq brand drinks from the Arizona (AriZona?) drink company, and while I was nervous about the orange cream flavor of yesterday's beverage, this one actually gives me pause.

See, I'm only really aware of there being three types of strawberry flavorings in the world.  The first is natural strawberry flavor, which you get in jams, jellies, and syrups.  Those taste like the true essence of the berry, and are the second best thing to eating a fresh wild berry.  Eating most store brand "commercial" berries are several points lower on the list, if just because they aren't bred for flavor so much as they are size and marketability.

But that's a different blog post.  We're here to talk about Soda Shaq.

Second on the flavor list is the strawberry flavor added to gummy flavors.  It has that "strawberry" sense to it, but it doesn't have the same freshness.  I put this slightly above oversize commercial strawberries.  Finally, you have the truly artificial strawberry flavor, used for things like drink powders and most sodas.  This is the flavor at the bottom of the proverbial totem pole, usually way too sweet and like it was made in a lab.

When you crack open a can of Soda Shaq Strawberry Cream, the flavor you get from the scent is almost identical to the flavor of strawberry cream Halls cough drops.  This isn't necessarily a complaint, but it greatly concerned me because the cough drops have a much heavier weight on the tongue as they melt and since Soda Shaq is water-based, I was afraid there would be some weird additive to provide the same weight.

The drink was much more fizzy than the orange cream, with the ratio of drink to foam was 2:1 every time I poured some into a cup.  This also gave it a lighter touch on the tongue, and while the strawberry flavor was stronger than the orange flavor, it was still hard to taste around the cream flavoring.

I think the thinness hurt the drink more this time than it did the orange cream.  I'm used to orange and other citrus flavorings being light, and with how citrus interacts with the tongue, it enhances its own flavor.  I wanted more power behind the strawberry, but my tongue was left feeling empty after every swallow.

The orange cream soda felt like a soda, the strawberry cream felt more like flavored carbonated water.  I wasn't disappointed, but I was underwhelmed.
Oh, regarding the can.  The tab was more durable this time, and did not simply pop off upon opening.  However, the can is VERY pink.  It seems strange to see that color combined with Shaq's "aw, yeah" expression.
I give this beverage a C+.

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