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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pocari Sweat Ion Water

We're back!
After a brief hiatus, the Weird Soda Review lab staff is back on the job. The life of a Quaffmaster has many demands, but always I come back to this, the calling of my heart; to find, quaff, and report to you, hypothetical loyal reader, on the Weirdest beverages we can find.

I don't know if today's drink is actually Weird or not, but I strongly suspect it is, for the following reasons:

1) I bought it at Mitsuwa Marketplace. It comes from Japan, and I haven't yet seen a non-Weird Japanese beverage. Bless the Japanese!

2) It is called "Pocari Sweat Ion Water"

3) The ingredients list includes, as the fifth item, "crude".

Also, as a bonus, the ingredients list does not include any dairy products at all. However, after the ingredients list is the following notation:

*Contains milk

This is already one of the Weirdest things I've ever consumed, and I haven't consumed it yet.

It seems likely that "Pocari Sweat Ion Water" is some sort of electrolyte-replenishing, Gatorade-like drink. Now, normally such a thing would be made in some sort of factory by adding sugars and salts to water. However, based on the name, I'm guessing the company responsible (apparently "Otsuka") has decided to bypass the middleman. I can hear the conversation in the planning room:

Bright young corporate mind: "I have a suggestion for a new sports drink."
Stuffy executive type: "There are a gazillion sports drinks on the market. How would yours be different?"
BYCT: "Well, what is the purpose of a sports drink?"
SET: "To replenish electrolytes lost in sweat."
BYCT: "And how would we normally make such a drink?"
SET: "By adding sugars and salts to water in some sort of factory."*
BYCT: "And we buy those sugars and salts on the market, correct?"
SET: "That is correct."
BYCT: "Well, if athletes are already losing electrolytes in their sweat, and we want to make a drink containing electrolytes, then why do we need the factory? Could we not simply collect the honorable sweat of the hard-working athletes, bottle it, and sell it?"
SET: "That is brilliant. Bring me an athlete right away."

Somewhere in Japan, there is a man, an elite athlete. That man is made to sprint, throw a discus, lift weights, and solve difficult math problems (for the critical "skull-sweat") under heat lamps for eighteen hours each day. An IV containing water and Mountain Dew is plugged into each arm. All of his labors are performed in a large ceramic dish, in the center of which there is a drain. Underneath that drain, a pipe leads into a bottling plant, where this man's perspiration is collected in plastic bottles (after having the all-important "crude" added).

His name, of course...is Pocari.


Where: purchased at Mitsuwa Marketplace, West Los Angeles, CA
Color: Crystal clear.
Scent: Sweet, faintly citrusy. And just a hint of discus. Reminiscent of orange Gatorade.
Taste: Bleh. I was kidding above. I HOPE I WAS KIDDING!
It's mildly sweet, and has the usual slight tang of such drinks (like very watered-down Sunny Delight). Most sports drinks have a slight taste of salt, but are dominated by sweet. However, Pocari Sweat is somewhat saltier than the sports drinks I've tried...almost as if it...was made...from...

EEEEAAAUUARRRRRGHGHHHH! *gibbers with mounting, cyclopean horror*

*another swig*
Yes, there's definitely a different undertone. Saltier, maybe ever-so-slightly musky, as if there were just a touch of very ripe cantaloupe. Combined with the name, this is a most disturbing and unpleasant development.

For my own sanity, I'm going to assume that the different taste is the "crude", and not the other, hideous possibility, that nameless choice among quantum worlds wherein twitches and glibbers the eldritch, twisted figure of something which was once a man, but which now moans over and over in the throes of his athletic exertions the one sound which he can recall...the syllables which form his only fraying rope by which he dangles above the nethermost pit wherein is found only the monotonous clink of plastic bottles and the queasy dribbles of dripping fluid...those syllables by which he was once known, his unknown and unknowable, immemorial name--

"Pocari-ri! Pocari-ri!"

Quaff rating: 1.0. I like Gatorade well enough, but this is not as enjoyable.
Cough rating: 2.0. There was something about the taste which I cannot and must not recall.

* Told you so.

16 comments:

  1. You will be happy to know, however, that you can still compete in Japanese athletics without running afoul of their anti-doping laws.

    You will perhaps be less happy to know that the full name of the company involved is "Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd." and that their primary business is making intravenous solutions and the anti-psychotic drug Abilify, used in the treatment of schizophrenia.

    You're welcome.

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  2. Oh, and I'll add that this is mega-popular in Asia, as ubiquitous as coke is in America. I remember seeing it positively everywhere.

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  3. Cameron (non-hypothetical loyal reader)October 13, 2009 at 1:45 PM

    You know how there are fake tears for eye irritation?

    From Pocari's incredibly awesome website:

    Around 60% of the human body is made up of liquid.
    The liquid that we have in the body is called body fluid.
    The body of a normal 70kg adult holds about 42 litres of body fluid.
    So you may even say that human beings are made of fluid.


    So this is what Dr Strangelove was all about.

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  4. Actually, now that I think of it, I did have this while I was tooling around Korea. I didn't care for it. Tasted too much like salt water lite for me.

    The other soda that was ubiquitious in Asia were those vitamin C drinks, which are tiny and outrageously expensive but damn tasty. There were a lot of brands, but they came in little six or eight ounce bottles.

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  5. The fact that the folks who make Pocari make IV solutions makes perfect, if twisted, sense; the stuff doesn't taste all that different from an isotonic sugar drip. The antipsychotic...well, if any of that is in there, it's probably to counter the horror produced when you think of poor Pocari. Or maybe they've had to genetically modify him to produce his own antipsychotics just to survive, so they just harvest them from him too.

    Please don't sue me, Otsuka.

    And Cameron--there's a certain Lovecraftian poetry feel in that quote from their website. I'll bet if it could be spoken in a rural New England accent ("More'n half the body's made fraoum goo, an' we kin call it body flaouid...") it would fit right in with the Dunwich Horror.

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  6. Pocari Sweat is good stuff! We cycle in Singapore and sweat buckets. 100 plus is more widely available here, but kind of gassy. We do drink it but often have salty soups and water and lime juice instead. When we cycle in Indonesia and Malaysia we buy Pocari Sweat and when you're dehydrated hot and thirsty, it tastes terrific.

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  7. I like this stuff. My parents are from Taiwan originally, and its sold widely there. The flavor of Pocari Sweat (which is a sports drink) is the traditional sports drinks flavor of China, Japan, Taiwan....so pretty much any Asian sports drink you buy that isn't specifically labelled a flavor will taste like Pocari Sweat does. The prevalent brand in Taiwan in this flavor is Super Supau. I've always equated the flavor to grapefruit(ey) citrus. Many Asians will actually add some water to the drink to water it down a little so there's less salt.

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  8. i bought this and a bottle of calpis (aka calpico in the 'states) at the same time. i ate onigiri with nori wrapped around, and was drinking pocari sweat at the same time. bad experience, as everytime i drank the drink later, i tasted effing seaweed. gross. i tried it a year later and it only reminded me of that, so i can't enjoy it.

    on the other hand, calpis is nectar from heaven and oh so delicious

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  9. I just had to try this, which was unfortunately after I read your review.

    I kinda like it. Citrusy smell. And yes, I can taste the saltiness, but upon first drink, not bad. After a couple of minutes, the saltiness became more apparent.

    Tasted like an uncarbonated Squirt soda... with a salty aftertaste.

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  10. I enjoy Pocari Sweat, 100-Plus, H2O, and the other isotonic/sport drinks we get here in Singapore. I've never found Pocari to taste worse than the others - just a bit different. You should try 100-Plus and let us know what you think.

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  11. This stuff is awesome. Having the word "sweat" in the product name was a bit off-putting initially but my husband tried it in Hong Kong and we became "evangelists" to our friends while in Bali. Tasted like Orangina without all of the sugar and definitely helped ease us after we might have stayed out a bit too late the night before. And the night before that. I am a fan of Pocari Sweat!

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  12. I've been drinking Pocari Sweat for more than two decades now, and while I don't drink it as a beverage of choice, it is my very first choice when I need to hydrate/rehydrate quickly. Soccer, surfing, backpacking the P.C.T.... this stuff will rehydrate you very quickly.

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  13. While touring around Indonesia, Pocari Sweat was fantastic. I don't think it would be my beverage of choice while sitting in a 70 degree living room watching TV, but when you need to replenish fluids quickly, it makes you feel better than other, sweeter options.

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  14. I did not expect that brilliant Lovecraftian ending to this soda review. Kudos!

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  15. People drink it a hell lot here in the UAE.........

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  16. I read about Pocari Sweat here http://www.webbline.com/pocari-sweat-ion-supply-drink-review-more-than-just-water/ also so I tried it and it is really good! Highly recommended for everyone :D

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