Well, now we've done it. Most of the Weird beverages we've sampled to date have been sweetened with either cane sugar or high-fructose corn syrup (or, notably, not sweetened at all, as in the yogurt sodas and Biotta...*shudder*). Recently, we tried out the notably yummy offerings from Oogave, which are sweetened with agave nectar.
Well, here's another. Today we have Zevia, which is sweetened with an extract of the Stevia rebaudiana plant. Apparently, this sweetener has no calories and produces a slower and longer-lasting sweet flavor as compared to sugar.
According to Wikipedia, there is evidence that not only does it not impact blood glucose, it may also even improve insulin sensitivity. There is also a little bit of evidence that it might be a mutagen, although no evidence that it actually causes genetic damage.
It was banned by the FDA as a potentially unsafe additive, although that was because it hadn't been proven safe, and there is controversy over the suggestion that the artificial sweetener industry coerced the FDA into the ruling given that stevia is easy to grow and widely available. Interestingly, the FDA has granted acceptable status to two sweeteners based on stevia developed by...wait for it...Coke and Pepsi.
Well, sounds fine to me. And, to make it even better, a good friend decided to donate two cans of Zevia (a soda sweetened with stevia extract) to the Lab for our tasting pleasure. This good friend doesn't have an official WSR Lab nickname yet, but neither is she mysterious nor a stranger. Let's call her--for the moment--"Pepper Trot".
Pepper Trot was kind enough to give us a can of Black Cherry and a can of Root Beer. Today, we'll try the black cherry.
Thanks, Pepper Trot!
Oh, and I have decided that the anti-bias personality we developed during the Oogave Odyssey needs official WSR Lab status. It shall be designated the Grumpy Alternative Libations Taster. Welcome to the team, GALT!
Galt: %@$%^ YOU AND YOUR &^@*ING STEVIA.
Where and when: Donated October 2009 by Pepper Trot.
Color: Completely clear. Quite bubbly.
Scent: A nice black cherry scent. Crisp, somehow alpine. Very good scent.
Kibbitzer-in-Chief: "Smells like...lollipop."
Junior Assistant Taster: "Mmmm!"
Taste: Hmmm, that's pretty good. A little more tart than the smell suggested, but that's not a bad thing. The cherry taste is nice, fruity, not particularly artificial. The aftertaste is odd, though--fairly tart, with a strange note--a bit bitter or bark-like. Herb-y.
K-i-C: "Tastes like raspada.
GALT: WHAT THE &@#$ IS A RASPADA?
K-i-C: "Like a snow cone. But not one of those crappy snow cones you can buy with the stuff already on it."
Yeah, good cherry snow cone syrup is pretty close. This is better than I expected, except maybe the aftertaste. The tart is maybe just a bit strong; I prefer a slightly more mellow, berry-ish tone to my cherry flavor. But this is good.
If I'm right about the stevia, I'm not sure it will go well with the root beer. But we'll have to wait and see.
Quaff rating: 3.5. A very nice cherry soda.
Cough rating: 1.0. The aftertaste is weird. Not Weird, just weird.
Red Ribbon Birch Beer
2 days ago