I've been intrigued by the offerings of the Dry Soda Company. So far as I have been able to tell, their sodas consist of lightly sweetened carbonated water with essential oils from whatever flavor they are claiming to be. It's quite a bit more delicate than most sodas, Weird or otherwise, but that can be an interesting and refreshing change. We've reviewed their kumquat, rhubarb, lemongrass, lavender, and vanilla bean flavors so far (the vanilla bean was especially nice). Now comes number six: Juniper Berry.
I'm a Weird Soda specialist. I don't drink a lot of alcohol. It's not that I don't like an occasional glass of wine or beer, it's just that it wouldn't usually be my choice. I have almost no experience with any harder liquors. It's my understanding that gin is made from juniper berries, so this may well taste like gin. I won't know.
Fortunately, I'm not alone.
Tonight, the lab staff is entertaining a visitor, who goes by the handle RoTalMomska. Of all of us, she is the only one who is familiar with the taste of gin. This should not be interpreted as a covert statement that RoTalMomska is extensively familiar with gin. She is, as we speak, standing upright with no trace of slur in her speech. I have never, to my knowledge, seen her intoxicated, and I've known her for some time. In any case, she will be able to provide verification of any kinship between Dry Soda Juniper Berry and gin.
Wait, she just suggested we go get some gin. Perhaps I need to rethink the previous paragraph.
I'm having a hard time imagining what gin tastes like. I'm having a mental taste image of alcoholic pine-scented floor polish, but I must assume that if it really tasted like that, people wouldn't drink it. I have always assumed that people wouldn't drink things--even alcoholic things--which didn't taste good.
The other day, I had a small taste of Jagermeister.
I have, myself, tasted two yogurt sodas and Biotta digestive drink.
Now I know. People will drink ANYTHING.
So let's get quaffing.
Where and when: purchased April 2009 at Galco's, Los Angeles
Color: completely clear. No pine needles or berries are evident.
Scent: Pine-scented floor polish. Quite light, though, not strong.
RoTalMomska (takes a single, small sniff): "Gin." This comes suspiciously quickly and confidently.
RoTalMomska and the Kibbitzer-in-Chief are debating the scents of gin and vermouth.
RoTalMomska: "You put vermouth in Manhattans."
K-i-C: "I put vermouth in everything. I love vermouth."
Taste: A bit sweeter than most Dry Sodas. A touch of oil, faint hint of pine-ish flavor, a tiny bit spicy. The aftertaste is very odd--sour and oily, heavy yet faint. A bit like pre-vomit saliva, yet not as nausea inducing as that would suggest.
I ask our expert if it tastes like gin.
RoTalMomska: "No, it doesn't taste like gin. If it's going to smell like gin, I'd just as soon it taste like gin."
K-i-C: "No, it tastes like lavender eau du toilette."
Junior Assistant Tester: "It's very very bubbly."
This isn't all that dissimilar from their vanilla bean, except it's a bit moresour/acid and has a less pleasant aftertaste. I would find this less refreshing than their other offerings.
So there we have it. It smells a bit like gin, but doesn't taste like it.
Quaff rating: 2.0. It's not that it's unpleasant--it's kind of nice. But not very nice.
Cough rating: 1.0. The sour aftertaste is icky, and it's kind of oily.
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