Lauren asked me to do a guest post this week. We both live in an ethnically diverse neighborhood of New York City, and one of the things we enjoy doing occasionally is strolling through grocery stores and mini-marts and taking stock of the packaged food imported from all corners of the globe--powdered milk from Greece, mate from Brazil and, of course, sodas from everywhere. If Lauren weren't interested in the design and packaging of these products, we'd probably stick with plastic bottles of Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite like most everyone else; instead, we search for bottles stacked somewhere near the back in their own section of overlooked drinks that look like they've been gathering dust for years. On a recent trip we found bottled sodas from Slovenia, Jordan, and Peru all in the same store!
Yet, as we've learned, searching for these bottled sodas is often more fun than consuming them. In my admittedly limited experience, too many international sodas are overly sweet and leave an aftertaste that coats your entire mouth. Case in point: Manzanita Sol. We found this sparkling apple drink from Mexico in the back freezer of a neighborhood convenience store, and were mildly optimistic, since fruit flavored international sodas usually go down better than colas and, especially, malt sodas. The bottle cap is rather plain--bright red and perhaps reflective of a tropical landscape. But the soda is a sugar overload--a carbonated apple juice concoction with three scoops of sugar mixed in. The experience is akin to drinking an apple-flavored lollipop. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is that if you ever see a bottle of this soda sitting forlornly on a rack in the back freezer of your convenience store, well, stick with what you know.