Sunday, August 18, 2013

Exotic/Disgusting Foods and Beverages Forum--Mexican Soft Drinks, Including a Grand Experiment

     Unlike the other exotic, imported sodas I've blogged about before (Jamaican, English, Italian), Mexican soft drinks are much more readily available here in the U.S.  You can only find those others in high end groceries with very extensive selections, but even mediocre supermarkets generally have a couple of Mexican sodas for sale.  The examples discussed below are almost all Novamex products, some from their Jarritos line.  Novamex seems to have a monopoly on exports to here--I would have tried other companies' offerings for some variety, but was unable to locate any.
     I'll begin with a fairly common flavor, Jarritos fruit punch.  It's an eye-catching red color.  And it's just okay.  Granted, fruit punch is not one of my usual favorite flavors, but I was rather indifferent toward it.  I wouldn't seek this one out again.
     Happily, Jarritos Mandarin (orange flavor) is good.  Clearly, orange is a very common soda flavor, but this one holds up well.  I've gone back to this one repeatedly.  I think even the late, orange soda-loving inhabitants of Waponi Woo would have approved.  (This reference is for the other five or six people who appreciated the 1990 Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan movie "Joe Versus the Volcano.")
     Next up is Sidral Mundet, also a Novamex product.  This one is apple flavored.  It was disappointing.  I only sensed a hint of apple flavor, and it was bland overall.  Like the fruit punch one, I don't recommend it.
     I was amused to see that there is a sangria flavored soda--Sangria Senorial, to be specific (from, you guessed it, Novamex again).  It's just the flavor, though, as it's non-alcoholic.  I'm not a big fan of real sangria, so I was surprised that I really enjoyed this.  It was nicely sweet and fruity, and I will buy it again the next time I see if offered.
     Now, as the end of this post's title mentions, I actually did an experiment here.  "Grand" is a wild exaggeration, however, a shameless ploy to try to increase readership.  In these food posts, I've often stated how certain exotic foods and beverages taste similar to more familiar variants, and I don't know if I could tell the difference in a blind taste test.  Well, this time I was able to do so.  One of the hallmarks of Mexican sodas is that they're proud to use real sugar, instead of the now typical American penchant for sweetening using high fructose corn syrup.  I was able to find each country's version of Sprite, and bought both.  I marked identical plastic cups, and poured the two different Sprites in them, mixed up the cups, and then blindly tasted both, noting my reactions.  The result was that my taste buds are evidently either patriotic, or boringly provincial, depending on one's point of view.  I liked the high fructose corn syrup Sprite better.  The Mexican, sugar-sweetened one tasted weird, and had a sour aftertaste.  Admittedly, this wasn't a strict, double blind, lab-type experiment, but for the purposes of a blog post I think it was sufficient.

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