Sodas for Adults
How American Artisans Are Changing the Way You Think About Sodas
Who said sodas were just for kids? Some local artisans aim at elevating one of the most beloved, most consumed beverages in America by replicating what gourmet chefs have been done with burger: making it a gourmet product for grown-ups.
Less sweet and dryer than mass-market soda drinks, the new sodas use old fashioned, traditional recipes and natural ingredients to create a one-of-a-kind, distinctive drink experience.
Surfing on the healthy food trend, these purveyors of fine fizzy beverages are also hoping to offer an alternative to consumers who have been shying away from processed soda drinks, on the decline in America (www.businessinsider.com/soda-consumption-decline-2014-4).
Sodas are major sources of added sugars in the diets of U.S. residents and reducing consumption of calories from added sugars is a recommendation of the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/).
With a large collection of syrups, More Good has been aiming at introducing healthy, playful alternatives to store-bought sodas by pushing home made seltzers and carbonated drinks.
Meanwhile, other artisans have been aiming at restoring the pedigree of iconic drinks, like Ginger Ale, Meyer Lemon, Root Beer and the infamous Orange and Cola drinks that need no introduction.
Brooklyn-based Q Drinks for example, aims at restoring the actual taste of our beloved beverages. To do so, the company only uses organic plant-based ingredients and uses spices instead of artificial, generic flavorings and colors.
Adult sodas aim for authenticity and prefer to let it shine through than mask the actual flavors of the core ingredient. Q Lemon tastes tart like real lemons, Q Orange bears the distinct flavors of citrus and Q Kola incorporates kola nut, agave, and sweet spices like cinnamon, cloves, coriander, lemon, or orange to balance the bitterness of the kola nut. The result is a clean, crisp, balanced drink with interesting flavor and lacks the syrupy sweetness of commercial colas.
The trend is relatively recent and has prompted many aspiring artisans, like Sipp Sparkling Organics or Izze Esque to come up with their own take on traditional sodas.
Operating since 2003, Steve Hersh and Jeannette Luoh’s GuS Sodas has been serving a variety of 100% authentic, pasteurized, caffeine-free signature sodas for longer than most local brands.
Their beverages are all made from real juice and incorporate cane sugar, purified sparkling water and natural flavorings. The result is a pleasant, perfectly balanced drink, much less sweet than what you’ll find on the shelves.
GuS’ dry Cola, for example, uses nothing but 6 natural ingredients, including real cola nut extract, an edible seed of an African tree that presents hints of citrus and spice, and the drink’s caramel color natural comes from sugar.
America seems to be paving the way in this respect: while Asian countries are focusing on unsweetened iced teas and Europeans tend to favor water or even syrup water, soda has been deeply intertwined with the American lifestyle and culture.
While giants like Coca Cola, Pepso and Orangina are world-reknowned, their commercial success stirs controversy in countries where obesity is on the rise (http://ideas.time.com/2013/02/05/can-we-drink-soda-responsibly/).
How sweet would it be if local artisans could improve the way consumers perceive ‘American sodas’ in the rest of the world?