The Kibbitzer-in-Chief still doesn't like soda. That's OK; it's important to the integrity of the Lab to have someone who is not enchanted by the very idea of the things we are quaffing. I've never quite understood it, though; to me, soda is a source of joy, even revelation.
Well, she has found something this time which may indeed produce revelation. I fear, though, that it may be revelation of the "forbidden, soul-crushing knowledge humanity was never meant to have" variety.
While out and about today, the Kibbitzer made a visit to Persepolis Market, which is a specialty Persian market in San Marcos. The Kibbitzer-in-Chief had some specific items in mind (she came back to the Lab with a variety of interesting things, including pomegranate molasses), but that didn't stop her from acquiring some Weird Sodas when the opportunity presented itself.
There are other things which can be acquired opportunistically. Such as nasty infections.
She called me at my work after she had returned home, and told me that she and the rest of the staff had brought home some Weird Soda, and that they had sampled it.
"How was it?", I asked.
Silence on the phone. I didn't know you could hear someone shuddering with horror. You can.
"You should come home," she said, "and try it."
Images of Invasion of the Body Snatchers ran through my mind. Join us...join us...
"The kids didn't die," she said.
It was then that I knew that this situation would call for my full capacities as the Quaffmaster. This was the real thing--a Weird Soda loose in the field! Less experienced tasters down, possibly injured. A cry for help. My calling.
"That sounds delightfully awful. I'll be home soon," I said.
So here I am, sitting at the counter, with an unopened bottle of Abali Original Flavor Yogurt Soda. The Kibbitzer had mentioned that the soda involved yogurt. Yogurt drinks, as nice as they can be, are not really Weird.
But then she confirmed that it was also carbonated. Carbonated yogurt is emphatically Weird.
I have no fear. NO FEAR.
She also mentioned it being lumpy.
Where and when: purchased May 2009 at Persepolis Market, San Marcos, CA
Color: when quiescent, it is separated into two layers. The top is whitish and translucent--not transparent--and the bottom is opaque, creamy white. This is presumably the yogurt part. The bottle suggests shaking gently before opening. I do so: oh God. There are now little chunks of whitish stuff swirling in the upper part. This is not a homogenous mixture, but it's not like the fruit pulp you see in stuff like Orangina. It's curdled.
Scent: EEEEURGH! Oh my Lord. Bile rises in my throat. The Kibbitzer-in-Chief is laughing at me. It smells--actually, it smells a bit like Biotta. It's the lactic acid, I think, but this isn't like buttermilk or plain yogurt. It's hideous.
A deeper sniff (shiver) reveals the distinct smell of wholesome yogurt underneath, but the top layer of the smell is almost indescribably bad.
Taste: Let me preface this with another excerpt from the phone call.
Me: "Was it sweet?"
K-i-C: "I don't know, it wasn't on my tongue that long."
Junior Assistant Tester: "It was on MY tongue. It was awful."
Here goes. *quaff*
Remember when I wrote about the hypothetical possibility of a cheese-flavored soda? The universe likes its jokes, doesn't it?
The taste is very, very strong: a combination of fairly strong carbonation (and the accompanying acid) and slightly fermented plain yogurt. The yogurt is extremely tart; it's more like buttermilk or sharp cheddar cheese than yogurt.
There are two distinct flavor layers here. The carbonated yogurt is on the bottom. It's strong and very Weird, but tolerable (sort of); very much like salty, carbonated buttermilk. I would never seek it out, but it's not hellish. The top layer, which is to the bottom as a scum of poisonous toxic waste is to the murky swamp water on which it floats, is so awful that it almost defies description. But I'll do my best. There is something about it which is strongly reminiscent of the Biotta Digestive Drink. Since the two have very little in common, I'll have to hypothesize that it is a fermentation product; something in the bacterial waste. But really, I'd rather not describe it. I'd rather not drink it anymore.
Ugh...blech. Maybe if I shake it up a bit.
No, that's worse. This stuff is really foul. Personally, I think it's slightly less foul than the Biotta (in the sense that death by guillotine is better than death by cheese grater); the Kibbitzer disagrees. I'm pretty sure I'm not going to be able to finish the bottle, though.
One more try.
*quaff* aw, crud...
I thought that taking a bigger swig might let me provide a deeper analysis. It almost let me provide a thoroughly visual and tactile analysis of the near-term digestive process. I've consumed about a third of the bottle, and prudence suggests I stop there.
We have learned something important here. If my hypothesis is correct, we may have discovered something in common between several pretty foul Weird Sodas: bacterial poop. The ingredients list of the Abali is succinct: milk, carbonated water, yogurt culture, and salt. That such depths of horror and nausea could be contained within those seven words (if you count the "and") is a testament to the poetic skills of the bottler.
The Kibbitzer-in-Chief is gleefully reminding me that she obtained samples of two additional flavors of Abali, to be sampled in the near future. And yes, I shall quaff them.
Such is my calling and destiny.
Quaff rating: 0.5. I like cheese. I don't like cheese soda, apparently.
Cough rating: 4. I didn't throw up, but I suspect I would have if I'd gone further.
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