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Sunday, March 22, 2009

Jarritos Tamarindo

Sometimes having truly selfless and devoted research staff is a great thing. The Kibbitzer-in-Chief, one of the lead members of the Lab here at Weird Soda Review, doesn't actually like soda. At all. And yet, yesterday, after spending hours in non-Lab related activities, she was selfless and thoughtful enough to bring home a Weird Soda. A treasure indeed.

What she brought was a Jarritos Tamarindo. Jarritos is a Mexican soda brandwhich is fairly common here, but probably less so elsewhere. It comes in a variety of fruit flavors--I've sampled their strawberry before, and found it quite acceptable--but this was one I hadn't had before. Tamarind is a popular flavoring in a lot of Mexican drinks (aguas frescas and sodas). A bit of research shows that it is actually popular around the world. And I was sure I'd seen it on a non-beverage ingredient list in the past, so I had to figure out what that was.
And I did.
Worcestershire sauce.
Here is the ingredients list for Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce:
"Vinegar, molasses, high fructose corn syrup, anchovies, water, onions, salt, garlic, tamarind concentrate, cloves, natural flavorings, chili pepper extract"

The fact that this Weird Soda shares a major flavoring ingredient with steak sauce may not bode well.

Where and when: purchased 3/21/09 at Target, San Marcos, CA
Color: light brown/orange, slightly cloudy. Darker than a lager or apple juice, though.
Scent: Eww. Not much scent, but oddly sweet and salty. I'm trying not to smell it as vaguely vomit-scented. It's not, really, there is an interesting fig-like sweetness, but there's definitely something unpleasant in there too.
Taste: Bleah. Molasses? Maybe Fig Newton with cumin. The tamarind itself is sweet and fig- or date-like, but there is a strong acid/tart component, too. That acid comes forward pretty quickly, in much the same way that one gets a acidy taste in one's mouth with too much saliva when feeling sick. Theres a strange aftertaste, too--to me, for reason's I'm not sure of, it made the image of licking a basketball come to mind.
There's something almost beerlike in the initial taste--under the sweetness, a bitter not unlike hops, very faint. The figlike tamarind flavor isn't so much a problem, but the sour and bitter undertones (the sour especially prominent) are quite unpleasant.
In the course of pre-quaffing research, I found that in several areas, tamarind is dipped in (or mixed with) chili powder when making it into candies. As weird as that sounds, I can see how it would be better; it would counteract the musky, biological flavor that comes with the tamarind. As it is, that sour/bitter flavor is probably what makes me think of pre-vomit saliva, and what makes the K-i-C think of armpit sweat.
It's not extremely sweet, and that is generally a good thing. It tastes a bit like Worcestershire sauce, which is good in macaroni and cheese, but not so much in soda. And it tastes a bit like sweat or sick saliva, and that is a very very bad thing.
Junior Assistant Tester: "Tastes kind of good, but not as good as bad." Oddly, that does kind of sum it up.
Kibbitzer-in-Chief: "Tastes like mango armpit."

Quaff rating: 2. I've had worse--it's easier to quaff than Kombucha Wonder Drink--but it's not exactly fun.
Cough rating: 3.5. Erk.

22 comments:

  1. I love your use of the english language to describe this "erk", "bleah", "eww" soda. I've never tasted any of the Jarritos soda's and won't EVER taste tamarindo...for sure. "Mango Armpit" isn't my favorite flavor and might just give me a whopper of a Migraine.
    Thanks for making me laugh!!
    MrsRDB. California

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  2. Some of the Jarritos flavors are pretty nice; the Fresas (strawberry) version isn't bad at all. But yeah, the tamarindo is pretty nasty.
    I'm so glad you liked the review, though.

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  3. Have you never had anything else with tamarind before? It has a strong flavor that I personally don't like but I find the Tamarindo Jarritos quite delicious. The sugar and carbonation tone down the tamarind flavor while retaining the unique taste. The other Jarritos are much too sweet and and neon for me.

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  4. I'll agree with you on unique. It's so musky, though, that it's not at all to my taste. Perhaps it's an acquired taste.
    The only thing I've had with tamarind is Worcestershire sauce, which I like--but it's so heavily laden with other stuff that I'm sure it's not representative of a purer tamarind taste.
    I'll try this stuff again sometime, and see if it's more palatable.

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  5. I had the stuff at a BBQ recently and loved it. I'd had tamarin in its raw form when i was younger. Fun to eat fruits.

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  6. Tamarindo Jarritos taste great to me. I like all the Jarritos flavors, even the ones that are very sweet and neon. Don't ever buy Mexican Soda Water if what you want is Unsweetened Ice Tea.

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  7. I actually liked it. We did a taste-test with my three children and one of them actually voted for it. It's interesting.

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  8. Agua de tamarindo is better. "in some areas" was kind of priceless. You're the worst. Peace.

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  9. Jarritos has the best tasting fruit flavors and they are made with real sugar!
    Tamarindo is perhaps weird to people who have not grown up with this fruit! It is both tart and sweet.

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  10. Tamarind is really good for clearing the palette.

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  11. Every time I drink this, I think about mango armpit! You guys are hilarious!!

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  12. Dude, the only thing better than tamarindo soda is tamarindo juice from Latin America! Almost a cross between a lemon iced tea and a starfruit. Love it.

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  13. Tamarindo Jarritos are my favorite! I think of it &having a sort of tea flavor to it.

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  14. Tamarindo is awesome. It is also the major flavoring ingredient in Angostura Bitters, which is, in turn, a must have for traditional Jamaican rum punch.

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  15. I really like the Jarritos Tamarindo soda...in no way does it take like armpit or anything of the sort! It's a quite refreshing, spicey different flavor, wonderful change from US sodas. I would encourage anyone to try it...you'll be pleasantly surprised. I drink it almost excluslively now, nice sweetness balanced with that unique flavor!

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  16. I loved tamarindo as a kid and I for one don't drink soda but I LOVE Jarritos Tamarindo soda! I'm also not a huge fan of sweets unless they're also tart so this drink's right up my alley.

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  17. I loved tamarindo as a kid and I for one don't drink soda but I LOVE Jarritos Tamarindo soda! I'm also not a huge fan of sweets unless they're also tart so this drink's right up my alley.

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  18. I love tamrind soda-it reminds me of dried papaya slices in soda form.

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  19. I doubt you've had raw tamarind. It is Sour, acidic and sweet. all at the same time. that is how it taste and that is the flavor you get with the jarritos.

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  20. Try a tamarind margarita sometime. Delish!!

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  21. If u don't like it go Fuck yourselfs cabroness

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  22. Just had Jarritos Tamarind for the first time, tastes like raisins to me. I bought the diet.

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