And now, a guest post and new feature from Schu…
Since Stephanie came up with the concept for this blog—certainly for no other reason than to torture my sense of good taste, since all revolves around me—I’ve been filled with hate. Surrounded by mustard, the planet’s—nay, the solar system’s, worst condiment, disdain has darkened by once happy soul.
So as I hijack the blog on occasion, a new strategy is being developed. In addition to chastising the wretchedness of Stephanie’s favorite food spread—actual physical mustard destruction is still in the offing—assuming contributions are allowed, I’m going to occasionally immerse myself in the “miscellany” part of the blog by reviewing an off-the-wall passion of mine: odd sodas.
This oddity thing is such a learning experience. Before the Mustard and Miscellany days, I figured mustard came in French’s and Gulden’s, and some anonymous troll just made the other 20 concoctions, purchased by my mom through some covert network, but not otherwise available to the public. Boy, how my eyes have been opened. And how my taste buds have been threatened even more.
While mustard has been something of a (thankful) mystery, I’ve been relatively familiar with the world of odd sodas. The initial discoveries happened during times away from home. It’s sort of a travel credo: why eat or drink what you could eat or drink at home when you have the chance to try something else somewhere else? This certainly applies to beverages as well, and said beverages—mostly sodas, but occasionally there will be branching out, complete with occasional drinks dedicated to the flavors of actual branches—will be consumed and critiqued herein.
So welcome to the tasty (and that’s not always a compliment) world of Schu’s Soda Sampler.
Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda.
So it’s been a long and arduous day of mustard shopping, and I need refreshment to sate my palate. So after a trip to the Middle Eastern market, and the North African market, and the Indian market, we pass by a neighborhood country store that doesn’t have much stock, even though there was a smattering of mustard, and a small collection of odd sodas.
Odd sodas? I’m all in.
Enter. Dr. Brown. Dr. Brown is one of those fringe brands that has experienced occasional success on actual supermarket shelves. I imagine the good doctor (why so many soda makers have advanced degrees is a source of fascination—does this date back to the elixir, snake oil mentality of the late 18th century?) in a series of feuds with Jones and his colorful bottles.
So Dr. Brown has the usual line: soda, root beer, black cherry. And then something a bit off catches my eyes. It’s a green can, and green always means crisp in the soda world. But how crisp, I had no idea. So I pick up the can, and it says Cel-Ray. And I say “no way.” But after studying the can further, it’s yes way.
This is a celery flavored soda. Celery.
I have a lot of wishes, including the one about how I wish I was in the board meeting where someone pitched the concept of celery soda. And someone else approved it. That must have been a heck of a power point presentation.
So at 79 cents for the 12 ounce can, a purchase must be made. The helpful cashier informed me that Cel-Ray was refreshing, but a bit odd, largely because the celery flavor was there, but since it was in an unfamiliar setting—carbonated liquid as opposed to garnish covered with peanut butter on the side of your plate—the consistency factor takes some acclimation. I don’t think she used the word “acclimation,” but hopefully you get the gist. Celery in soda form is kinda weird.
She was also right about the refreshing part, and it’s pretty clear this is the crux of Dr. Brown’s niche effort. Instead of going the 7-Up/Sprite/Sierra Mist lemon-lime based route, they used celery, a clear vegetable with next to no discernible benefits, as the basis for the drink. Part of that makes sense. Indeed, Cel-Ray does not possess the same overwhelmingly sugary aspect that tends to bog down the more mainstream clear soda leaders. So therein lies the refreshing. Unfortunately, it tastes like celery. So, uh, mission accomplished?
So if you like celery, and want a refreshing carbonated alternative to other clear sodas, then perhaps Dr. Brown is for you. I just hope they expand the repertoire to include the peanut butter flavored offshoot.
Photo credit: Weirdsodareview.com
Hmm. On second thought, maybe I don’t hope that.