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Feast for the senses

burpYou can’t bottle a holiday dinner anymore than you can bottle the post-feast nap in a threadbare recliner or a televised NFL game.

I cracked open the Holiday Pack this afternoon. My team of tasters were assembled. Each had a Solo* cup with their name written in Sharpie marker. Each gave their unabashed first impression, which I faithfully recorded. Meet the team:

B., my father-in-law
R., my mother-in-law
L., my hubby
A., eldest child, age 8
Me, I.

I debated whether the Holiday Pack sodas should be chilled or served room temperature. After going back and forth, I decided to be faithful to true holiday meals and not serve anything chilled. The Holiday Pack came with a spork and a moist towlette, as well as a wine list recommending four different wines to go with each soda flavor. The vintners at Columbia Crest should be pleased to know their Chardonnay, Vintage 1999, is recommended as an enhancement of the Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto Soda (it “carries flavors of apple, pear, tropical fruit, vanilla, and finishes with a sweet spice…”). They fail to note the entire bottle of wine should be consumed before even sniffing the Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto Soda.

As Soda Steward, I poured the sodas in the order one would typically enjoy a holiday meal. First up, Turkey and Gravy.

Turkey and Gravy

The color of Turkey and Gravy soda reminded me of murky turkey pan drippings. I was surprised when I opened the cap. Initially, it smelled sweet and orangey, promising. Underneath the bottlecap were these words: “You shall attain great wisdom with the passing years.” I poured and passed out the cups.

B. said “It’s not turkey and gravy. It’s like Squirt and Gravy”
R. noted it was like artificial sugar, gone bad.
L. could see himself as a child again—a child who knocked over his orange soda onto his Thanksgiving plate and thought it would be good to eat, anyway.
A. Went running for the bathroom
I thought of my dad’s old workboots, the ones he wore woodcutting. They were tan, steel-toed, and had rubber soles. It tasted like the rubber soles of my dad’s workboots.

Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto

The Jolly Green Giant’s doctor instructed him to go to the local lab and leave a specimen in a sterile cup. It was the same color as Brussels Sprout with Prosciutto Soda. Oddly, when I took off the cap and obligatorily sniffed, I thought of those awful popcorn flavored jelly beans. The best thing about opening the bottle was reading the message under the cap, “A friend will bear great news.” Cheers.

B. “I don’t like brussels sprouts. This made brussels sprouts taste good.”
R. thought it tasted like pureed plant stalks, something from the backyard, pureed, then sweetened.
L. felt it smelled like passed gas and tasted worse.
A. was MIA.
I literally took one tiny sip and involuntarily screamed “Oh, God!” in a non-third-commandment-breaking sincere way as I ran for the kitchen sink. I thought I was going to die.

Wild Herb Stuffing

A hot summer day. A child on the street corner, under a cottonwood. The little sweetie has a lemonade stand, 25 cents a cup! You decide to make his afternoon and buy a cup. As you approach, you notice him drop his chewing gum into the lemonade pitcher. He retrieves his gum by plunging his grimy little arm into the lemonade. The color of the lemonade is the color of Wild Herb Stuffing Soda. It smelled refreshing. The inside of the bottlecap confirmed what I already know: “You continue to be lucky in love.”

B. thought for a very long time about Wild Herb Stuffing. Finally, he confidently announced he just drank Old Spice Aftershave.
R. appreciated the effervescence of this soda. It made her think of sparkling water with turkey seasoning.
L. also noted the crisp sensation of Wild Herb Stuffing soda. Baking soda or quinine, bottled.
A. was MIA.
I was reminded of all the sore throats I’ve had since being married. Every time I have a sore throat, hubby insists that a hydrogen peroxide gargle cures everything. Jones Soda might want roll out a line of lozenges and gargles. I felt mildly exhilerated after drinking.


A pleasing ruby color. Smell of cough syrup. Bottlecap says: “Your reputation for being honest will bring rewards.”

B: Cranberry!
R: Cranberry!
L: Cranberry!
A: (no longer MIA) Awesome! and Child #2, suddenly interested and begging for a taste declared: “Sweet massy molassey!” We think he meant “sweet sassy molassey!” but we knew what he thought.
Me: Cranberry!

Pumpkin Pie de la Creme Fresca

Obstetricians give pregnant women a special drink in their 26th week of pregnancy. It helps detect gestational diabetes. This soda is the same color as the “special drink” that “really isn’t too bad if you chill it” and “there’s the bathroom.” It smelled like the Yankee Candle store at any suburban mall. The bottlecap didn’t disappoint: “The strength in your character will bring you serenity.”

B: Tangerine. And wax.
R. detected a slight hint of pumpkin pie.
L’s. initial, first words were “fire, smoke…” then he followed up with “it’s as if it wants to be a pumpkin pie.”
A. thought it tasted like pumpkin pie, on a plate, smothered in soda.
I thought it tasted like a liquified spice-scented autumnal candle from Yankee Candle at the mall. Or a mouthful of potpourri, chewed carefully, washed down with molten candle wax.

On a serious note, Jones Soda donates a percentage of the proceeds from the sale of the Holiday Pack to St. Judes Hospital for Children. We had a fun time sampling the sodas, even though there were moments when our faces were more green than the liquid in our cups. If you see it at Target, consider buying one. You don’t have to drink it.

Because I just did.

*Dixie cups were forgotten. I will make a list when I try the 2006 edition.

15 comments to Feast for the senses

  • We appreciate the sacrifices that you have all made for us. If I am so fortunate as to find a pack, I will gladly refrain from tasting them, except… Cranberry!

  • Julie

    This was the greatest thing I eer read! I laughed so hard. Thanks for sampling them and giving us the review.


  • hamster

    So…I don’t get it. I mean, I understand novelty sodas, people buy them because they are novel, but why make them taste bad? And, they must know they taste bad. Will you buy a pack again next year?

  • I think this was my favorite Lifenut post to date. Thank you for sharing your experience, and now I’m dying to try the cranberry. Do you mind if I ask how much the whole pack sells for at Target? This might make a fun “family night” activity. hee hee

  • Smiles, again.

    BTW, I told everybody the tp joke last night. It was a hit. Gameboy even gave a visual (clothed) about get to the bottom.

  • LOL This was a great post! Loved all the commentary on the sodas! Thank you to all your testers for your sacrifices. BTW, I hate that popcorn flavored jellybean, too!

  • Sounds like a scary adventure. The Jolly Green Giant specimen image is one I hope to forget before bed. Thanks, Gretchen : ) Okay, I’ll admit. This was fun.

  • I stand humbly before you with my head bowed, Dixie cup at my feet. You boldly went where few would dare to go, sacrificing your taste buds and potentially your ability to enjoy future holiday dinners for the benefit of your loyal readers…blog on!

  • Fun! I looked for the holiday pack and couldn’t find them at our Target-I will look again after Halloween. From what you described, my idea of serving soda for Thanksgiving instead of a real turkey and all the trimmings should be scrapped, eh?

  • Hey, I like those popcorn flavored jelly beans! But Brussels Sprout soda still doesn’t sound good to me. Thanks to you and your team of testers for giving us the low-down!

  • Mom-of-mopsy

    Too funny, sorry that I missed out on the taste test. Glad you let your curiousity win.

  • goslyn

    UGH. Glad you tested, was a fantastic laugh. But UGH. Made my stomach turn just reading about it 🙂

    They should have made an eggnog one.

  • bro-de-mopsy

    Mom – never fear, for Liz and I are also proud owners of the Jones soda collection. If you’re curious….

    My co-worker brought them to the potluck on Friday – it was quite a spectical watching everyone try a sip after the previous person almost lost their lunch. I tried them all, except for the Brussel Sprouts – worst thing I ever smelled!

  • Kathy

    I second what Edie said!!!
    I enjoy living vicariously through you Gretchen!

  • So, I was going to buy my dd these as a joke. Now I’m sure I’m going to buy some.

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