As I mentioned in my tapas post, booze and me…we’re just not friends. New Year’s Eve of my senior year of high school, booze and I had a one night stand. I tried to get to know him, intimately, and ended up “talking to Ralph on the big white telephone” all night…I felt so used the next morning. Over the years we’ve tried to get acquainted again, but even after very brief encounters, I realize, he just doesn’t bring out the best in me.
On my honeymoon, I thought “Hey, I’m an adult. I can order a real Pina Colada.” Dinner with Pina Colada left me missing his chain-Mexican-restaurant-virgin counterpart of my youth. So, I feel I’ve done my share of trying to understand the allure of alcoholic drinks, and instead have turned to various non-alcoholic alternatives.
Since little gets written about interesting libations of the non-alcoholic persuasion, I decided to do just that. I was surfing the net (does anyone say that anymore?) the other week and wound up on the Reeds Ginger Brew site. Reeds makes incredible ginger brew. Not the wimpy sugar water other companies call ginger ale. No, I’m talking about the ‘knock your socks off’ sweet heat that can only come from REAL ginger.
Reeds also owns Virgil’s Root Beer. Seriously, the BEST root beer I’ve ever tasted! Possibly the best on the planet. Virgil’s root beer in a float with premium vanilla is pure bliss. Plus, I’ve seen some stores sell Virgil’s root beer and cream soda in pony kegs for parties. What a great idea!
Anyway, back to “surfing the net.” I saw that Virgil’s has a Black Cherry Cream Soda. I enjoy Boylan’s Black Cherry Soda on occasion, because it is quite tasty. But it’s a little too sweet, and I find the red dyes, sketchy at best. So, I clicked on the Black Cherry Cream Soda to see if there was something about where I could buy it, but there wasn’t anything. Then I thought, why not email them to ask where I can find it?
A week later, the mail order department of Reeds emailed me saying they would like to send me soda samples. How cool is that? So, this is the box that arrived at my doorstep a few days later.
It included 12 bottles: one of each of their flavors. I don’t go for diet, so I’ll have to give those ones away, but at least they use xylitol, which is not nearly as bad as the artificial sweeteners the big guys use.
I was stoked that it included the Black Cherry Cream Soda, but it also had a few other flavors I’d never tried. I hit the micro-brew soda jackpot! Virgil’s Black Cherry Cream Soda is perfectly sweetened for my taste. Not as sweet as most mass produced sodas, but still the treat I’m looking for.
The flavor of cream soda usually just means vanilla, and you do get the fragrance of the vanilla with the distinct taste of cherry. I wish it was sold near me, as it would become a fun indulgence. They also sent me China Cola and Cherry China Cola. I hadn’t tried them before and was stoked for a new experience. Both the colas are naturally made without caffeine, which I love.
I enjoy sweets and cheese, and chewy crusty bread, but my diet is pretty clean. Usually, I avoid caffeine, trans fats, a lot of refined sugar and flour, preservatives and artificial anything. Every once in a blue moon though, little Junk Food Brizy comes out and craves a donut or a commercial candy bar. But on the whole, I stay away from weird Franken-foods, so I love that Reeds makes sodas reminiscent of their origins as herbal tonics – without compromising their great taste.
China Cola and Cherry China Cola have ingredients you don’t see in most carbonated drinks these days, like Szechuan Peony Root, Cassia Bark (which is what we know as cinnamon), Nutmeg, Cloves, Licorice and Cardamom. Both flavors are delicious and complex, without the treacly sweetness of, say, Coke. I would totally buy them for a party or other bubbly celebration.
So, if you just get a hankering for a bubbly drink, but don’t want all the chemicals that come with the mega mass produced sodas, all of Reed’s sodas are a good bet. The integrity of the company comes through very clearly in their products. I’m a big fan of supporting companies ,who use good wholesome ingredients. And thoughtfully do what they do…WELL!