ByAnita Surewicz/May 13, 2023 11:30 am EST
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Refreshing and delicious, soda has a long and interesting history that spans several centuries. Dating back to 1767, soda owes its beginnings to Joseph Priestly who discovered a way to enrich water with bubbles or carbon dioxide gas. While at the beginning soda was only sold in pharmacies, as it was believed to have medicinal properties, this changed with the invention of root beer in 1876. It wasn't long before Dr. Pepper made its market debut in 1885, and Coca-Cola followed suit the next year.
With around 450 different soft drink types on the market in the U.S. alone, companies have started experimenting with more unusual flavors to stand out in an oversaturated market. However, just because you can create a fizzy concoction that stands out from the pack, it doesn't mean that it will become a commercial success. While it's true that unusual soda flavors can initially generate buzz, ultimately many such products are only valued for their novelty. In fact, some of these carbonated drinks taste so bad that they are only ever purchased as a gag or to get a laugh from friends. With this in mind, here're some of the worst soda flavors on the market today. Enjoy!
Reactions to the bold flavor of bacon soda have been mixed, however, most people seem to find the beverage underwhelming at best. When Jones Soda Co. released its version of the fizzy drink, New Yorkers found it "disgusting," as highlighted by the New York Daily News. According to the article, most of the people approached by the paper gave the bacon soda a hard pass, and those who actually tried it were overwhelmingly unimpressed. David Horowitz, for instance, described it as tasting like beef, with a strong and thick flavor that he found gross. "Who would want that?" he wondered.
While it looks like Jones Soda Co.'s bacon soda might have been discontinued (and for a good reason), the meaty pop lives on as a part of Rocket Fizz's Lester's Fixins line of drinks. When we looked at Amazon, we discovered that Lester's Fixins' version of the swine-flavored beverage comes in three types: Bacon Soda, Bacon Soda with Chocolate, and Bacon Soda with Maple Syrup.
Lester's Fixins' Bacon Soda has received an average of 3.4 out of 5 stars from 284 Amazon reviewers, indicating a rather frosty reception. One Amazon shopper called the soda "hideous," adding, "You drink it and first of all, the consistency is not like a normal soda, it lacks a certain body. Then you get this sweet indeterminate flavor, maybe like a cream soda. Then the aftertaste, this awful combination of burnt bacon and burnt rubber."
Buffalo wing soda
Apparently,"y'all [will] get yer fixins" with Lester's Fixins' Buffalo Wing Soda, or so goes the statement on the beverage's label. Despite the fact that it's made with 100% cane sugar, HuffPost has awarded the carbonated drink 2.7 out of 10 for its overall taste and 2.3 out of 10 for its resemblance to, well, buffalo wings. One of the taste testers commented that they wouldn't have ever guessed that the beverage was supposed to taste like buffalo wings, adding that it was unmistakably spicy on the nose.
Daryl from Soda Fry, who reviewed Lester's Fixins' Buffalo Wing Soda as a possible source of nourishment after a potential jaw surgery, was also far from dazzled by the beverage, rating it 3 out of 10. "I found the Buffalo Wing Soda to be mostly sweet, like a lot of buffalo wing sauce can be, but with a faint presence of cayenne/paprika underneath," he wrote. "It sounds bad, and it is bad."
Cup Noodle soda
I think we are all familiar with pre-packaged instant cup noodle soups. You know, the ones that you can easily prepare by just adding hot water. They are available in a wide variety of flavors, from chicken and beef to seafood to theirmore controversial flavor combinations. Taking the cup noodle concept to the next level, Cup Noodle company has come up with cup noodle-flavored sodas. Yes, you read that right! The parent Japanese company, Nissin, has released a series of carbonated drinks that taste like their signature noodle soup broth.
Launched to commemorate Nissin's 50th anniversary, Cup Noodle Sodas come in four flavors including regular cup noodles, curry, seafood, and chili tomato. Vice has reviewed the four offerings, rating the Seafood Cup Noodle Soda a stomach-turning 3 out of 10, elaborating, "It tastes like a watery version of a slightly expired clam chowder, nothing at all like a cream soda with 'hints' of seafood, as the package advertised." The Chili Tomato Cup Noodle Soda received an underwhelming 5 out of 10, with the reviewer complaining that it tasted like a diluted version of marinara sauce. Surprisingly, both Cup Noodle Soda and Curry Soda earned 8 and 7 out of 10 respectively (maybe weird soda flavors aren't all bad) — though the Soda Jerk maintains that the Curry flavor tastes more like taco seasoning than curry.
If you're anything like me, you would have experimented with eating dirt as a child. This, however, doesn't necessarily mean that you should be keen to repeat the experience as an adult. Nevertheless, if you're curious about the taste of dirt — or at least Rocket Fizz's interpretation of it — then their Dirt Soda might be right up your alley. "Shoveled & Bottled in the USA," as its manufacturer highlights, Dirt Soda blends the sweet notes of cane sugar with an earthy mineral flavor.
If you think that Dirt Soda doesn't sound like the most appetizing beverage option, you are right. Rated 1.5 out of 10 by Soda Fry, the fizzy drink has been described as downright nasty. "You open the cap and you're hit with a wave of potting soil stench. [...] I tried my best to finish the bottle, but I actually only made it about half way through the teacup," the platform warned in its review.
Dirt Soda has received mixed reviews on Amazon, with some shoppers impressed that Rocket Fizz actually managed to make the beverage taste like dirt (this is probably not a good thing). One Amazon customer who gave the product five out of five stars stated, "Was not expecting it to taste like dirt. Boy was I surprised. It even smelled like dirt." However, not all consumers seem to appreciate the flavor, with one unhappy Amazon reviewer saying that drinking the beverage is "like drinking dirt with sugar in it."
Ranch dressing soda
Ranch dressing is a beloved condiment known for its creamy texture and tangy flavor. A favorite on salads, it's usually made with mayonnaise, buttermilk, mustard, and onion, as well as herbs and spices. While we aren't sure what Lester's Fixins' Ranch Dressing Soda is made with, we can pretty much guarantee that it doesn't contain any of the aforementioned ingredients. And to many, the carbonated beverage doesn't even taste like the zesty condiment.
If the appearance of the cloudy white liquid doesn't put you off, then the smell of Ranch Dressing Soda certainly will. Alex Falcone, who reviewed the ranch dressing-flavored soda for the Portland Mercury, wasn't blown away by the drink's aroma, writing, "Just popping off the cap revealed a nauseating smell that, an hour later, hasn't entirely left my apartment."
So what about the flavor? Jeni from Jeni Eats, who only managed to stomach one sip of the beverage, stated that it tasted like a blend of powdered ranch dressing, simple syrup, and buttermilk. Steve from TheImpulsiveBuy echoes Jeni's disgust, noting that the soda tastes "like it's been sitting around in a waxy plastic bag leaching chemicals for decades ... [and] coats your mouth in a repellent sticky film that refuses to go away."
Some of us may be familiar with the bitter, slightly sweet, and earthy taste of grass from when we pretended to be horses as children. Personally, it's not something that we would want to try more than once. However, for those who are curious about the taste, there're alternatives — such as Rocket Fizz's Grass Soda. To clarify, the beverage is just grass-flavored and doesn't actually contain any grass.
Soda Pop Craft has reviewed the green — almost fluorescent — liquid, so you can get an idea of what to expect when sampling the beverage. Firstly, the soda has been described as very sweet and syrupy — something that, at least to us, doesn't sound terribly grass-like. And even though the fizzy drink isn't overly fragrant, according to the platform, its scent is more reminiscent of grass than its actual flavor.
Daryl from Soda Fry has awarded Rocket Fizz's Grass Soda 4.5 out of 10 stars, which we think might be rather generous. While Daryl is open about the fact that he probably won't ever try this carbonated beverage again, he finds light in the fact that "rather than a supersaturated novelty disgusting flavor, this came across as a pleasantly sweetened generically 'herby' soda." Good for him!
Let's not beat around the bush, butter and liquid don't mix. This is because butter doesn't dissolve in water and is likely to leave a nasty-looking layer of fat on its surface — think of Starbucks' olive oil coffee. As such, it's not surprising that Rocket Fizz's Butter Soda doesn't contain any actual butter. Instead, it's filled with citric acid, artificial flavors, ester gum, and yellow 5 coloring that gives it an almost radioactive appearance. With so many chemical additives on the ingredient list, the addition of artesian spring water and cane sugar doesn't really put our minds at ease.
Rocket Fizz's Butter Soda has received 3.7 out of 5 stars from Amazon shoppers, indicating that it didn't wow even those game enough to purchase and try it. One Amazon buyer called the bubbly product the "worst soda ever," adding, "this tastes like sugared popcorn but in drink form."
The reviewer from Soda Fry also didn't find the beverage very buttery. Instead, they approximated its taste to be a blend of movie theater butter and a lot of sugar. "There was no real creaminess, but there was a hint of salt. So, I'd say it's more like a sweetened vegetable oil soda," they clarified.
For those unfamiliar with the Korean side dish, kimchi is a fermented vegetable dish made with cabbage or radish, along with a variety of seasonings such as garlic, chili pepper, and ginger. And since the condiment is sweet, sour, and spicy all at the same time, it goes without saying that its complex flavor would be tricky to replicate in soda form. Undeterred, a Japanese soda company has attempted to do just that, with questionable results.
Perhaps the best thing about Ramune's Kimchi Soda is the bottle, which comes with a "Codd-neck bottle" instead of a regular cap. Despite the imaginative design of its bottle, Ramune's Kimchi Soda leaves much to be desired in terms of flavor. Serial soda taster, Daryl from Soda Fry, called the bubbly concoction "punitive," adding that it was weirdly sweet and coated his mouth with a lingering flavor of garlic. He gave the soda a whopping 1 out of 10 and left the reader with a word of caution: "Don't drink this one. Seriously."
Peanut butter & jelly soda
The classic flavor pairing of creamy peanut butter and sweet jelly (or jam) is a vital component of American comfort food. A recipe for the popular snack was first published at the turn of the 20th century and became popular during World War II when it appeared on U.S. Military ration menus. While peanut butter and jelly sandwiches have been enjoyed by generations, peanut butter & jelly soda is a very recent addition to the food and beverage world.
Concocted by the company behind countless weird soda flavors, Lester's Fixins, peanut butter & jelly soda has failed to resonate with customers. Weird Soda Review has described the bubbly beverage as "blech." And while the platform proclaims that the soda doesn't taste unlike peanut butter and jelly, it highlights that the drink is also revolting. "The smell is sweet and citrusy, with a bit of muskiness," writes the reviewer. "[In terms of taste,] all of the acid and muskiness is in a thin crust on the flavor surface. Underneath, it's a pretty clear grape jelly — sweetened and synthetic-ish, but grape."
While the label on Lester's Fixins' Mustard-Flavored Soda clearly states that the beverage is 100% natural, we very much doubt this bold claim. And while mustard certainly has its rightful place — on hot dogs, for example — it probably should be kept at a safe distance from all carbonated beverages.
The Soda Jerk, who reviewed Lester's Fixins' Mustard-Flavored Soda for a YouTube video, said that the beverage wasn't as mustardy as he expected after sniffing it. After sipping the bubbly confectionery, he proclaimed, "That tastes like the way deviled eggs smell," adding "The vinegar taste is definitely there. The sugar masks it considerably ... if this wasn't carbonated, I might vomit. ... I think it now wins the worst [Lester's Fixins] I've had." Also unimpressed with the bright yellow beverage, Amazon reviewers have awarded Lester's Fixins' Mustard-Flavored Soda 3.4 out of 5 stars. This just goes to show that some edibles are best left as just that — edibles.
Bubbly soft drink that tastes like sugary dirt. Made with pure cane sugar.What is butter soda? ›
You betcha! Glass bottle specialty soda with pure cane sugar and the flavor of sweet cream butter, is meant to taste like well . . . butter. With a cool retro soda style label, butter soda might pair well with old time stovetop popcorn.Why does soda not separate? ›
Because the companies that make sodas only use water-soluble ingredients.What soda did Cowboys drink? ›
History. Sarsaparilla was popular in the United States in the 19th century. According to advertisements for patent medicines of the period, it was considered to be a remedy for skin and blood problems. The Oxford Companion to American Food and Drink notes that it evokes images of "languid belles and parched cowboys".What is the original dirty soda? ›
The original dirty soda is made with Diet Coke, heavy cream, coconut-flavored syrup, and lime. It's similar to an egg cream, but with flavored soda instead of seltzer water.