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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Home-brewed Weirdness: Bacon Cream Soda

The time has come.
The time is NOW.
Bacon Cream Soda, are you good enough*?

We wouldn't be much of a Lab if we didn't engage in original research and experimentation from time to time. This experiment came from a trip to BevMo recently, looking for butterscotch syrup (for the making of butterbeer). Although we didn't find any, I did pick up some Torani cherry and vanilla syrups. And then I saw it, hidden in there among the other Torani syrups...

I didn't even know they made a Bacon syrup.

Tiny Weirdness bells began to ring in my mind. The possibilities...! What hideous chimera-like creations could we produce with a bacon-flavored soda syrup?
And more to the point--if we, the staff of the Weird Soda Review labs, didn't make them, who else would dare?
Plus, Google searches for "soda reviews" invariably return reviews of Primus's album "Pork Soda". Just imagine...if we dare this feat, we will have actually made a pork soda! We must do this. We MUST.

But how? What can we use as a base?

And then it hit me. We must use the pinnacle of sodas--a cream soda--for this creation. We shall create a Bacon Cream Soda!

An early attempt at this mixture was distributed yesterday to a group of unsuspecting victims volunteers playing Order of the Stick at the Lab. Their responses varied between horror and disgust to a certain bemused disdain, tinged by nausea. Worth noting is that not one of them finished the serving they were given. Some ended up poured down the sink (effects on the sewer system, treatment plant, and employees thereof are still under investigation), and I suspect there may have been a certain amount of discreet smuggling to the toilet. Some was even offered to the Lab dogs, Freya and Flitwick. The dogs turned it down after a single sniff, despite the fact that it smelled like bacon.

This can only be considered an unqualified success.

Several days later, after a suitable lighning storm to obtain the 1.21 gigawatts of energy needed for the fusion, and the establishment of new sodahazard level 5 precautions at the Lab, I am pleased to report (with singed hair and a wild-eyed look) success. It has been created. It waits on the table, in a small cup. The first Bacon Cream soda ever created at the Lab.

To accomplish this, I mixed five parts Zevia Cream Soda with one part Torani Bacon Syrup. And now it shall get its due--a proper review.

Where and when: The Zevia was obtained from Whole Foods. The Torani syrup came from BevMo. The idea arose from N'kai, in all likelihood.
Color: Disturbingly fizzy, significantly more than the usual Zevia. Dark amber, ever-so-slightly cloudy. Glistens eerily.
K-i-C: "It is actually amber. As in the color of amber."
Scent: Just sitting here with it on the table in front of me, I am detecting a disturbing scent of fried bacon. It's actually pretty accurate--maybe slightly sweter than the real thing, but otherwise, highly reminiscent of actual bacon. The fact that it is two feet away from me is impressive; I'm not sure I've ever detected the smell of a Weird soda from this distance.
Closer up, the smell is quite strong. The bacon now has a strong side-scent of maple. It's very much as if you poured maple syrup on bacon (which the K-i-C is fond of doing. Weird breakfast.)
K-i-C: "Smells like Der Waffle Haus."
I note with approval that she is likening the smell to a fictional diner featured in "Dead Like Me". Clearly, our creation is eating away at the barriers which separate our sane, rational universe from its own imaginary creations.
Taste: I'm not sure if I hate it or love it.

The bacon taste is extremely strong, almost overwhelming. At this point, I should really take a moment aside to offer Torani my sincere congratulations on the creation of an accurate bacon syrup. What other havoc can be wreaked with this?

The bacon has transmogrified the sweet, slightly acidic vanilla of the Zevia into a maple-ish vanilla hybrid, which twines itself along the bacon. The two mix in a remarkable way; a vined scaffold of sweet/salty breakfast soda emerges, hung with glistening pods from which pork fat gently drips, to fall sizzling onto a sweetened griddle.

Another sip. I am astonished; it's actually good. Quite good. The worst part is the smell just before you sip; that's mostly bacon, which clashes badly with the expectation of a soda. However, once the soda actually hits your's almost nice. Better than the Tofurky and Gravy soda, at least.

K-i-C: "It's true, it smells worse than it tastes. The aftertaste is..."*reluctantly*"...actually pleasant. "
*makes "yuck faces"*
K-i-C: "It's got that fake sugary feel."
She smacks her lips and grimaces in disgust a few times.
K-i-C: "It tastes like a carbonated $2.99 breakfast special. Like someone took your cheap bacon and got cheap maple syrup all over it."
The K-i-C is now recoiling. She regards the creation with fear and loathing.
Mad? MAD, you say? They called me mad at Oxford, too! But I'll show them!

I actually kind of like cheap diner food, which may explain our difference of opinion. It may be that this tastes good only in contrast to how it smells and how I expected it to taste, but the fact remains--it's kind of good. Kind of not, too--it manages to feel greasy, and the contrast, while interesting, is not entirely a good thing.

I am astonished, but happy to report it, to find that this is not just very Weird, but almost tolerable. Go forth, all you who seek Weirdness in your beverages, and make variants upon the Bacon Cream soda. I note that ThinkGeek (the best catalog in existence) sells a variety of bacon-related merchandise; perhaps an arrangement can be reached...

I wonder if a buttered pancake soda is possible?

I will provide ratings as if this were a soda we purchased, but as a Lab creation, we will regard this as ineligible for inclusion on any lists.
Quaff rating: 3.0. Interesting, and surprisingly good.
Cough rating: 2.0. The smell and initial taste did make me pause and close my eyes.

*"Enough" pronounced with the same "-ough" phoneme as "bough"**
** Which, I am told, is actually an acceptable archaic pronunciation for the word. So there.


  1. I never considered doing this at home. I was aware of Bacon syrup's existence, as there is a local, drive-thru coffee stand that has it listed as a flavor. According to the owner of the stand, I was the first person to order a bacon syrup coffee(maple-bacon latte, to be precise), and the only person who continues to order it as a flavor.
    It carries a surprisingly accurate bacon flavor, and the best way I can describe it to people is saying "it smells like breakfast"

  2. I got some Bacon syrup for Christmas and I must say, I kind of like it. Of course, I use far less than what the package calls for (1 oz would be 1/12th of the bottle) and it gives my coffee enough sweetness with just a hint of smoky bacon flavor to it. So I'd suggest cutting back on the bacon syrup to make your soda and you might actually find it even better.


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