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:
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*
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--
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.
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