Notable Nosh: Dry Soda – Cucumber and Juniper Berry

Dry Soda 1

I saw an interesting new line of soft-drinks in our local Co-op recently. They have only just put in an appearance in these latitudes but I suspect they have been on the shelves in southern Canada for considerably longer by this time.  The word ‘Dry’ on the label does not, as I first thought, indicate the relative sweetness of the contents (as in a ‘dry wine’), but rather that the beverages are produced by the Dry Soda Company, operating out of Seattle, Washington. The corporate website does, however, does make much of the fact that these low calorie drinks (products range from 45 to 70 calories per bottle) are made keeping ‘the pure cane sugar to a minimum’ and thus the company name may have been appropriately and descriptively chosen.

Anyway, there are apparently seven products in the line, being: Wild Lime, Lavender, Blood Orange, Rhubarb, Juniper Berry, Vanilla Bean and Cucumber. Our Co-op had 6 of these (I didn’t see the Lime variety), and I decided to bring a couple of the more interesting flavors home one afternoon so that my wife and I could do a little taste test of our own…

By the way, you may want to follow the corporate link I provided above and take a look at the company’s website. One of the interesting things about these products is that, in addition to suggesting the ways the sodas can be used for mixing (alcoholic) drinks, is that food-pairing ideas are also included. This is common enough with wines, of course, but I can’t say I have ever seen it with soda-pops as yet. Still, that being said, I did take a look at the suggestions for each of the seven flavors and I am not entirely convinced that the suggestions are very well considered. The Vanilla bean variety, for instance, suggests that the beverage be served with roast chicken, summer salad, and white fish (amongst other things), neither of which sound like especially tempting combinations. I’ll hold back full judgment for the time being, but at the moment I am inclined to take their suggestions with a grain of salt, so to speak.

The Taste Test

Cucumber – This one was interesting but, to be honest, without knowing that this was supposed to be cucumber, that wouldn’t have been my first guess as to the flavor. It does have a grassy, vegetable quality to it, but there is also a floral note towards the end that is fairly pleasant, if a bit out of place. The sweetness is negligible, and there isn’t much acid tang, but overall it is fairly refreshing. My wife thought it rated a 3 out of 5 but I was less impressed and only gave it a 2 out of 5.

Juniper Berry – I was rather expecting this variety to taste something like Gin (given that the dominant flavor in that beverage is also Juniper), but it really wasn’t like it at all and was thus a bit disappointing. There was a faint juniper taste with some woody notes but the general effect was a bit flat and uninteresting. Like the Cucumber flavor, there was little sweetness and very little acidity. A touch of Angostura Bitters might help give this a little sparkle, possibly. My wife and I both rated this at just a 2 out of 5 and neither of us were particularly enthusiastic about trying it again.

In conclusion…

Well, I am glad we tried these two beverages but neither was very impressive. The Lime and Orange varieties don’t interest me particularly but I the Rhubarb type sounds intriguing and one can only hope that it is a bit better than the two we tried here. I am not keen on the aroma of Lavender, especially, but I may give that flavor a try too sometime…

4 thoughts on “Notable Nosh: Dry Soda – Cucumber and Juniper Berry”

  1. One of the reasons I don’t drink sodas anymore is because of their chemical content. Coming out of Seattle, it’s possible that these are more natural and organic. I haven’t seen them on the shelves here in Chicago yet, however.

  2. Several years ago, my husband got me a soda water maker because I complained of the cost and frankly the burden of buying 10 liters a week (love soda water!) It’s amazing, I love it. I don’t love the flavoring samples it came with. I will muddle some mint, cranberries or lime and add it to the bottle and I’m in heaven! In the spring I started drinking infused waters and never thought to add cucumbers with the soda water… but I will today! The organic cucumbers I get at the CSA have a strong cucumber aroma, it’s lovely, so I assume it’s a good candidate. You should look into these soda makers -such a wonderful contraption for a person like me with flavor control issues LOL

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