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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Prometheus Springs Lemon Ginger Capsaicin Spiced Elixir

This morning, a dear friend of the Lab (who has been introduced before as Pepper Trot) came by. She and her son were coming to take Olorin out for a day at the beach, which is good--he should occasionally have a break from his 18-hour-a-day job analyzing bottle mold and making painstaking woodcut illustrations for his book "Weirde Sodas of 1775: A Compendium of Heresie Amongst Beverage-kind". To me great delight, she had also brought something new. And by "new", I mean "which I would never have thought of, and whose existence strikes me as ill-advised". She produced a bottle of Snapple-ish size and shape, which was labeled "Lemon Ginger". thing seems quite protective of this stuff.

Well, those are nice flavors. This should be

"Capsaicin-spiced elixir"?

Allow me to quote from the label.

"Capsaicin: Nature's Spicy Superfood. Extracted from chili peppers, this antioxidant is delightfully painful. Its kick has the curious ability to trigger endorphins for a happy, natural high."


"Awaken your senses with refreshing lemon layered over a cold-pressed ginger bite. This robust elixir is for intrepid individuals who seek a more potent ginger experience."

I feel it is worth noting that this is the only Weird beverage I've had so far which is actually promising to hurt me when I drink it. I am also keenly aware that Prometheus was a titan, best known for bringing fire to mortals.

I am so happy right now.

Where and when: apparently, according to Pepper, this was purchased at Jimbos, or maybe Whole Foods.
Color: Pale, cloudy, ever-so-slightly yellow tinged.  
Scent: Hmm. Actually, kind of like Thai food.

Kibbitzer: "If you had a peanut-butter sandwich next to it."

I wonder if you mixed this with one of the peanut sodas if you would get Pad Thai?

The lemon and ginger are clearly present, and there's definitely a threat of burning.

Taste: Oh my God.
Let me provide a rough timeline.
(t=0 s) Major lemon impact, mild to moderate sweetness. Powerfully tart.
(t=0.05 s) There's the ginger. So far, so good. Actually, kind of nice.
(t=0.1 s) So far, reminiscent of lemon ginger cookies, which I like a lot. This isn't so bad.
(t=0.3 s) Hmm. That's kind of an interesting edge. A bit spicy.
(t=0.4 s) Okay, some spice building up.
(t=0.5 s) I write this in the hopes that it may be found by those in a position to warn others of my fate. For more than 400 milliseconds, I thought I had found something pleasantly lemony and gingerish. Ah, to be young and foolish once more.

I will openly admit that I am a spiciness wuss. When I go eat Indian or Thai, I never go over 2 (on a scale of 1-10). That being said, my eyes opened wide, and I was only able to make vague strangled noises for a moment. To a wuss like me, it's pretty potent stuff.

Kibbitzer: *pause, contemplation, nodding to self* "Actually, it's pretty good."

Punctilius: "Maybe it would be good for arthritis of the throat."

Kibbitzer: "It's very...warming."

That's the funny thing--it is actually pretty good. The capsaicin interacts in a nice way with the ginger, making it significantly more potent. The lemon plays nicely, and it's nicely sweetened.  I was prepared to really dislike this, and I doubt I'd seek it out, since I'm not actually very fond of spicy food, but it's pretty pleasant.

Quaff rating: 3.5. Quite nice, and definitely interesting.
Cough rating: 1.0. A kick in the pants.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Lester's Fixins Peanut Butter and Jelly Soda

Remember in our review of Rocket Fizz Peanut Butter Soda, when we suggested that the only way to make it worse would have been to have a peanut butter and jelly soda?
There is a soda company, Lester's Fixins (bottled by Rocket Fizz), which seems to be specializing in producing carbonated versions of a variety of comfort foods (such as bacon, sweet corn, and peanut butter and jelly). My mother was born in Texas, and maintains a deep love of fried okra. We can only assume that somewhere in my future, I will be drinking a bottle of fried okra soda.

I feel about this much the same way as Londo Mollari felt about his vision of his own future.*

In any case, the Kibbitzer picked up a few samples of these from the new Rocket Fizz in Vista, and I can no longer put off the inevitable. Let's start with what is probably--incredibly--the least horrendous, Peanut Butter and Jelly.

I hoped that, by placing this in a pleasant pastoral setting, I could compensate for the horror of its existence.

Where and when: purchased in May 2012 at Rocket Fizz, Vista, CA  
Color: An oddly sickly pinkish-orange. I'm not sure why; if it's meant to reflect the intended taste, I can only assume that this is a peanut butter and guava jelly sandwich. Which is an assumption I don't want to make.
Me: "All right, anybody want to smell and taste this with me?" The rest of the Lab staff, in chorus: "NO."

*sniff* Holy crud, it *is* guava jelly.

The smell is sweet and citrusy, with a bit of muskiness. No detectable peanut butter, and definitely not any jelly I normally put on sandwiches.**

Nazgul (forced to smell): "It actually smells good, kind of like cherry".

I see what he means, but it'd be a tart cherry. I still get more guava or passionfruit from it.

Taste: Blech.
Okay, now I get the peanut butter. Actually, it's a more accurate peanut butter taste than the previous one. This isn't that far off from a semi-sugared peanut butter like Jif or Skippy. I've gotten used to the natural/organic peanut butters, and this isn't anything like those...but it does taste a bit like peanut butter.
Not that that's a good thing.

The jelly part is also there. It's not guava; all of the acid and muskiness is in a thin crust on the flavor surface. Underneath, it's a pretty clear grape jelly--again, sweetened and synthetic-ish, but grape.

The acid and musk on the top does not help. The major impression I get is of a Skippy/Welch's Grape Jelly sandwich, on Wonder bread, on which someone has plopped a heavy dollop of cantaloupe and tamarind puree.

It's not pleasant; it's actually kind of revolting. But I will give Lester's Fixins points for accuracy; it does actually taste something like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

Quaff rating: 2.5. Somewhat interesting.
Cough rating: 2.0. But in a bad way.

*You should watch Babylon 5. Just in case you don't, Londo was NOT pleased about his future. On the other hand, in its way, it saved millions of lives. I'm not sure if that would be enough to get me to drink fried okra soda.
** Actually, I prefer crunchy peanut butter with dijon mustard on potato bread.

Guest Review: Biotta Sauerkraut Juice

Someone finally clicked on the "Submit a Guest Review" button! Thisis an exciting event for us at the Lab. This is a short--very short--opinion, submitted by "Disappointed", on Biotta Sauerkraut Juice. I'm assuming that's Biotta Digestive Drink, which was one of our first reviews, and very nearly ended the whole enterprise. At least, I'm hoping that's what it refers to; the thought that Biotta decided that what the world needed was another sauerkraut-based beverage is horrible to contemplate. Anyway, here's the review: ---------------------------------------------- Where and when: Whole Foods Taste: This does not taste anything like sauerkraut juice. They need to change the title to YUK! ----------------------------------------------- It may be a short review, but I can't say I disagree. Thanks, Disappointed!

Armenian Fungus Cake

No, this post isn't about an Armenian Fungus Cake soda. Although that would be rather awesome. Rather, I'd like to recommend a website to those who follow this blog. I was recently contacted by some individuals who run a blog reviewing unusual snacks, including soda. I took a quick look, and can enthusiastically recommend that you visit them. Firstly, because the reviews are written in a funny and engaging style. If you like reading this blog, you'll probably like them too. They wrote poetry to a tarragon soda. Secondly, because a blog named "Armenian Fungus Cake" is definitely Weird, and everybody should be able to say "Hey, did you check out Armenian Fungus Cake today?" Their website is here. You can also find them in the list of Other Soda Reviews on the lower right side of the site.
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