It’s not nutritious. The Center for Science in the Public Interest refers to it as “liquid candy”. But there’s no denying that soda is a tasty treat best saved for special occasions. While the debate of high fructose corn syrup versus sugar is best left to scientists, some swear that there is a taste difference. So here are the five best sugar-sweetened sodas in Indianapolis and where to find them.
5) Thums Up. Origin: India. Bought at: The Spice Box, Indy City Market. Think Coca-Cola meets cardamom. According to Wikipedia, Thums Up is owned by The Coca-Cola Company and accounts for 40 percent of the Indian market share. The label reports it contains “carbonated water, sugar, acidity regulator, natural color and added flavors”, and it contains caffeine. It is featured in both the book and movie Eat, Pray, Love, according to Wikipedia.
4) Jarritos. Origin: Mexico. Bought at: Saraga International Grocery Store, located in Lafayette Square. Probably the easiest foreign soda to find in Indy, you can find it even at Marsh, although Saraga has more flavors. Translated as “little jugs”, Jarritos has several flavors ranging from Tamarind to Lime. According to Wikipedia, Jarritos is more carbonated than American sodas. It is the most popular soft drink consumed by American Latinos, Wikipedia reports, and 6000 bottles are shipped across the border each minute.
3) Bundaberg Lemon-Lime and Bitters. Origin: Australia. Bought at: Rocket Fizz, on Monument Circle. “That’ll put a pucker on your pucker,” says owner Kim Nething. “You can make a phenomenal lemon-lime cake with the Bundaberg lemon-lime bitters.” It tastes like a lemon cream pie and has a pleasant aftertaste. It is 6 percent lemon and lime juice. According to Wikipedia, the company uses traditional brewing methods to produce non-alcoholic drinks. Bundaberg refers to it as “craft soda”.
2) Lester’s Fixin’s Sweet Corn Soda. Origin: USA. Bought at: Rocket Fizz. At first glance it doesn’t sound appealing, but it works. And it works well, according to Nething. “Restaurants are sending their chefs in to make Sweet Corn ice cream,” she said. It is a popular seller and tastes like the Indiana State Fair in a bottle. According to Vat19.com, each 12-ounce bottle has 170 calories. The site also notes “Sweet Corn had a great after taste. It actually tasted better after a few seconds.”
1) Pete’s Pumpkin Patch. Origin: USA. Bought at: Rocket Fizz. The good news: it’s not seasonal! If you like Pumpkin Spice Lattes, give this one a try. But don’t take my word for it. ThirstyDudes.com rates it four out of five bottles, explaining “If you love nutmeg then you will love this soda. I honestly don’t taste much pumpkin in it at all, but it has so much awesome nutmeg flavor that I don’t care. This is what I imagine a pumpkin pie would taste like if the cap on the nutmeg accidentally fell off when the baker was pouring it in. At that point they already had so much work put into it that they just mixed it all up and hoped for the best. I know a lot of people would hate to eat that pumpkin pie, but I would have at least 3 slices of that delicious mistake.”
What are your favorite sugar-sweetened sodas?