There are many avenues of Weird Soda research which intrepid investigators have been following. A lot of fruitful work has been done in carbonation intensification, including the possibility of bubble-based fusion*. Researchers looking into the conditions on Earth which led to the formation of self-replicating molecules have made great strides with Kombucha Wonder Drink. And, of course, the military's use of Biotta as a non-lethal (barely) weapon shows great potential. But the history of Weird Soda development--its origins, systematics, and evolution--holds probably the greatest promise for the advancement of Weird Soda Science.
In the beginning, it appears that all soda was Weird. Only later in its development did the non-Weird classes appear. The Galco's Institute of Weird Soda Science has found descendants of these early Weird Sodas which have shown little change; the coelacanths of the Weird Soda world. (There have even been exciting recent examples of retrograde evolution, such as Pepsi Throwback). My status as a preeminent scienttist of the Weird Soda community allowed me to procure one of these "living dinosaur" Weird Soda speciments from Galco's.
I plan to quaff it tonight.
So tonight we have a bottle of Moxie, surnamed the "Original Elixir". The bottle further claims that its heritage dates to 1884, which is pretty old for a Weird Soda. Whether its formula is truly unchanged in that time is not clear. (I am assuming that this bottle is not itself from 1884, as it would have been an example of remarkable prescience on the part of the bottler to print "Since 1884" on the bottle. Even more so for them to have predicted the existence of a CA CRV.)
Moxie's label is quite distinctive; it suggests that one "Drink It for Vim and Vigor!", and even provides a short abstract:
"Originally known as Moxie Nerve Food, legend says it was an aid to digestion, a cure-all for nervousness, insomnia, and exhaustion"
A cure for both insomnia and exhaustion? This is some impressive stuff. Let's check the ingredients.
OK, I can see how the caffeine and sugar would help with the exhaustion part, but insomnia? Maybe that's the gentian root extract.
And wait, there's one more thing I have to do.
*hands the bottle to the Kibbitzer-in-Chief*
Hey, the kid's got Moxie!
Where and when: purchased April 2009 at Galco's, Los Angeles
Color: dark brown, just a hint of purple.
Scent: sweet cola, but with a strong herbal note. Maybe licorice? Smells a bit like Dandelion and Burdock soda.
Taste: Whoa. WHOA. What the heck? Is that cough syrup?
OK, here goes. The initial taste is quite sweet, vaguely cola-ish, but sweeter. Right behind that is a secondary sweet taste, with a strong chalky component, and a bit of mint. That part is odd--it reminds me vaguely of the tooth-polishing compound you get at the dentist, or quick-dissolve allergy medicine.
But then it hits you. Right behind that--no more than a second behind--a bitter herbal taste surges up. It's not strong, the sweet is stronger, but it's quite distinct. It's similar to the bitterness of the Abbondio Chinotto, but weaker and with less citrus and coffee.
K-i-C: "It's the gentian root. That's why it tastes like it's good for your stomach."
As it sits in the mouth, the bitter and sweet circle each other, warily, like two jackals wanting the same piece of carrion. Their eyes never leave each other, watchful for a sign of weakness, of hesitation. There's no room for timidity.
And then a slight acidity rises from below, permeating the scene like fog, drifting between and around the combatants.
The aftertaste lingers, but it doesn't undergo any big changes. Those jackals are still circling in the fog, a minute or two later.
It's interesting, but I can't really say I like it. The bitter herbal flavor is pretty weird. I suppose it might be an acquired taste; I haven't acquired it yet.
Quaff rating: 2.5. Most of the flavor is pleasant. Most of it.
Cough rating: 2. I have to give it at least two, because I actually coughed after my first sip.
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