I have been hearing about other varieties of soda-like beverages for some time. Legends have come my way about a northeastern favorite, the "egg cream". Such a concept has always been both fascinating and offputting for me; in my mind, I always imagined some sort of soda/quiche hybrid, and that never sounded all that good. However, the Weird Soda Review is NOT about "good"--it's about WEIRD, dangit, and any beverage called an "egg cream" is automatically weird. Thus, while collecting samples for quaffing, when I ran across something calling itself "Jeff's Amazing New York Egg Cream Chocolate Soda", I was compelled by the sacred Weird Soda Oath to purchase and consume it.
I suspect that something as weird as an "egg cream" has a devoted following, and if any of them were reading this, they would feel compelled to submit their opinions on this particular manifestation of eggcreamitude. In all likelihood, those opinions would be that this was a woefully inadequate example, and that to taste a REAL egg cream, I would need to travel to some secret location in New York City accessible only by a series of knocks and code phrase such as "I'm looking for a certain Dr. Ayigcrim to help with my dropsy", whereupon I would be ushered down dark hallways, catching glimpses of shadowy figures quaffing nameless brews in tenebrous corners. After passing through several dank stone archways of dubious integrity, I would find myself in a chamber hewed of rimed and nitrous basalt, watching a figure in a yellow silken mask exchanging alarming hand signals with my guide to the thin and monotonous piping of detestable flutes. At the conclusion of the ritual, the masked figure would open a box covered with carvings and runes which suggest mind-shattering truths about the true nature of the universe, and produce a dusty bottle whose heady scent produced trembling visions of quaint and hoary sunset cities, where tiny lamps peep pleasantly through mossy shutters. After drinking from the bottle, my tenuous grip on sanity would be forever shattered, and I would spend my remaining days gibbering and capering under a leprous moon.
And THAT would be a REAL egg cream.
But I have stuff to do around the house this weekend, so I'll try Jeff's Chocolate Soda instead.
Where and when: purchased 3/12/09 at BevMo in Escondido, CA
Color: Light brown, opaque, yet carbonated.
SPECIAL NOTE: I hate to interrupt the pattern, but I have to mention this. The bottle says "do not shake", but as I poured it into cups, I couldn't help but notice that it was somewhat thicker/creamier than soda. Then the lumps started glopping out into my cup. I may have to wax Lovecraftian again. The horror! "It wuz craimy, end it tuk a laong time to git aout uf th'bottle, and it had little lumps, lahk my Pappy after he got chainged by them perfesser types what came out of th'sky. Ia! Ia, Cthulhu fhtaghn!"
Scent: definitely chocolate. Chocolate milk or cocoa. Just a hint of bite (carbonation?) in the scent.
Taste: Weird, quite weird. Creamy like cocoa, and chocolatey, but fizzy, with a pretty strong citrus/acid bite. The carbonic acid from the carbonation is very present, and contrasts oddly with the chocolate. Fizzy, creamy chocolate milk with a dash of lemon.
This is probably an acquired taste.
Lead Assistant Taster: "It's like sweet, fizzy cocoa, with...(considers)...lemon!"
Junior Assistant Taster: "Yeah. Cocoa. Like lemon or lime."
It is probably worth noting that this is the only soda I have ever had which felt it necessary to point out on the bottle that it is 97% fat free. I never really considered fat content relevant to soda. Its also the only one I've had which actually supplied cholesterol.
Inspecting the ingredient list reveals that it is sweetend carbonated water with milk, cream, cocoa, and vegetable gum stabilizers. No eggs. Im not sure if that's good or bad.
Quaff rating: 2. I'll bet that those who are egg cream afficionados love this stuff. I'm not quite there yet, but it's an interesting experience.
Cough rating: 3, but mostly from the sight of glops. The taste, isn't all that offensive, though Im not sure about the acid/fizz/cream mix. It is unpleasantly reminiscent of milk and orange juice. But so far, it's staying down.
Afterburp flavor: pretty much the same.
Nella Bella Chocolate Almond Fizz
1 day ago