HOME > Chowhound > General Topics >


All-time best sodas

In Scottsdale, AZ we have an incredible soda shop, so I'm on the lookout for your recommendations for the very best. If it's available, they probably have it. I'm open to ANYTHING. Plus, what is sanbitter?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Vernors!! best ginger ale ever

    6 Replies
    1. re: gaiadi

      Vernors is the best widely available ginger ale, but Blenheim's medium or hot is better.

      Hires or A&W is the best root beer.

      1. re: Kelli2006

        Agreed - Blenheim is by far and away the best ginger ale on the market today... or ever. Don't waste your time with all those bottles from Jamaica. If you can't find Blenheim locally, it's most certainly worth mail ordering.

        San Pellegrino has a lemon soda and an orange soda that it pretty good. For some strange reason, the canned version is better, IMO.

        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I keep San Pellegrino Limon on hand. Great over ice with a splash of Maker's Mark and a sprig of mint.

          1. re: flavrmeistr

            Aren't they the best mixers?! Now try the Blenheim with a splash of Maker's.

          2. re: HaagenDazs

            HaagenDazs, I can get it locally at a beverage store, but the sell a 6 pack for about $7.50. I have been know to buy a few bottles locally but I always bring a case or 2 home when I visit my sister in Asheville NC. Blenheim's goes extremely well with the vinegary pork BBQ that is served in the Carolinas.

            I have had Jamaican ginger ale but it seem like they have sacrificed balanced flavor the extreme ginger heat.

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              Is that in a green can?!!! I LOVE it!

        2. Sprecher's Root Beer = made with real vanilla and honey

          2 Replies
          1. re: Nukedli

            funny, that's what I grabbed today before reading any of the responses

            1. re: amkirkland

              Sprecher is the king of root beers, I have not tasted anything close

          2. My all time favorite: Hires Root Beer, in a bottle. I haven't seen it for a while. I heard it's available by a retro bottler but it's not the same. I think the last real batch was from the mid '80s???
            Anyone know if it's still available?

            3 Replies
            1. re: ML8000

              Hires was the best I'd ever tasted until the '70s, I believe it was, when the use of sassafras root was forbidden. This connection is one I've never seen publicized; all I know is that suddenly that minty undertone went away, and it became just another everyday rootless "root" beer. Damn shame.

              1. re: Will Owen

                My fond memories of Hires was from a tap at the Woolworths on third avenue around 67th Street in Manhattan...served in a paper cone in a a green plastic zarf. Alas, Woolworths is gone as well.

                1. re: iwanchow1

                  I remember trying out a Hires home brew/bottling kit in the 70s - blew a few bottles up

            2. Dr. Brown's Cream Soda. It's still made and available some places in the Northeast and at many Jewish delis but would be shocked if in Scottsdale.

              7 Replies
              1. re: laylag

                They definitely have it, but I think I've even seen it at Starbucks

                1. re: laylag

                  Dr. Brown's is available at AJ's, a supermarket here in Phoenix/Scottsdale. They make a diet version, which is nice for us trying to watch the sugar intake.

                  It's good stuff. :)

                  1. re: mamamia

                    I only do the diet whether I'm on a diet or not. I've never seen the merit in blowing 200 calories on a soda when I can have the same thing (or close) for 0 calories.

                    1. re: laylag

                      I hope all you diet soda devotees realize that there are a lot of us who can't handle chemical sweeteners. So check with us, please, before serving up your usual beverage. It's socially awkward to take a sip or two of something, let out a "GAAAHK!, and inquire "uh, is this artificially sweetened?"

                      1. re: laylag

                        I want-a add, (from Sharuf comments) if the stuff is decaf, I definitely need to know. Otherwise, it may suddenly become nappy time with the crash -n- burn for this humanoid.

                        BTW- Its also not about calories, but sweetener induced water weight gain.

                        1. re: laylag

                          I agree! I rarely drink carbonated beverages at all anymore, but I used to add milk to either diet chocolate or orange soda and pretend it was a melted ice cream float or creamsicle.

                          My all-time favorite non-diet soda is a good fountain egg cream, made with chocolate syrup, selzer and milk.

                      2. re: laylag

                        I've bought many Dr. Brown's flavors -- including Cream Soda -- all over the USA. It's widely available here in Kansas City where I've bought it at least since the mid-1970s and I've even bought it in small towns in Idaho.

                        However Dr. Brown's Cel-Ray is pretty much a northeast specialty. Not to say I've not ever found it west of the Mississippi, but certainly it's a rare occurance and typically in a kind of specialty grocery or cafe that is either owned/operated by former New Yorkers or particularly caters to former New Yorkers. I know a lot of former New Yorkers in Arizona. Not all end up in Florida anymore.

                      3. Hansen's Orange Cream Soda- I used to work at a mostly vegetarian cafe in Topeka, KS of all places (if you've been there you know what I mean!) and we carried tons of organic sodas, including 9 rootbeers- the orange cream soda was my absolute favorite and I haven't seen it in a store since!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: Katie Nell

                          Wild Oats carries the Hansens Sodas. The creamy root beer is our favorite!

                        2. Manhattan Special's .Coffe Soda , Cream Soda ,Lemon Lime.
                          Still made and bottled in good ole Brooklyn, USA

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: FAL

                            I grew up on Manhattan Specials, delivered right to our door, by the soda man. Those were the days!! It is absolutely the best and I am so happy to have found a local Italian market here in NJ that is bringing it in. If you've never had an Manhattan Special espresso soda you simply don't know what you're missing.

                            1. re: Buona

                              It is all over the east coast in the italain sect's. I have seen them in Vegas and in San Fran too.

                          2. Fresca-the original citrus


                            a delicous tamarindo Italian soda in Berkeley

                            1. Dr Pepper
                              Barq's Root Beer
                              Jones Green Apple
                              Shasta (yes, Shasta) Cream Soda
                              Sioux City Birch Beer

                              1. I was lucky growing up in an area that had BOTH A&W and Stewarts stands (sorta like the burger joint in AMerican Grafitti). These were the real sodas without all the preservatives now included.

                                Stewarts from the stand was, and still is, the best soda ever. You can still find some stands (I have seen in NJ) and if you have a chance go in, order a frosted mug and enjoy the foam mustache.

                                There was one bottled soda that makes the list. It was called Moxie and was in NJ in the late 60's. I am told this was a rejuvenation of a Boston based soda from the 40's but never confirmed.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jfood

                                  You can still get Moxie at some places here in MA. I'd rather have IBC rootbeer.

                                  1. re: othervoice

                                    I find IBC to be sickly sweet, myself; but everyone's tastes are different. I like Barq's--it either isn't as sweet or is more carbonated so it has a bit of a "bite" to it. That used to be their slogan, actually, "Barq's has bite"

                                    1. re: othervoice

                                      I remember carting Moxie back from the Cape - got used to the very medicinal taste, I guess by force of will!

                                  2. my three favourites:

                                    Souix City Birch Beer
                                    Orangina's blood orange
                                    San Pellegrino Limonata

                                    1. I love to try differnet sodas, BUT, I can't start my day without my DIET COKE! There is nothing else quite like it.

                                      1. We have a drink here in North Carolina called Sun Drop. It's a citrus based soda, but is much better IMHO than Sprite or Mt. Dew. I drink the diet Sun Drop all the time.

                                        1. In Austria, they have a soda called "Almdudler." It is herby-citrussy, not too sweet. Yum! Makes me want to yodel just thinking about it!

                                          1. I miss the 16 oz returnable glass bottles of Pepsi. Now there was something with the age of the bottle that made the difference as well. Ones with the Pepsi oval logo on the neck was better in taste than the bottles with rectangular logo. Rare was the raised letter bottles but some came back as reproductions.


                                            1. Dr. Brown's Celray soda and Coca Cola in a glass bottle

                                              1. Blenheim Ginger Ale
                                                Orig. Fresca
                                                Henry Weinhards Root Beer (I know they make beer but I also have some of their root beer which they started making during prohibition.) I stumbled on it at Jungle Jims in Ohio and boy is it tasty!

                                                1. Birch beer, black cherry, ginger ale - don't know any brands, sorry, though these days I get them at Whole Foods.

                                                  1. Snake River Sarsaparilla from the Jackson Hole Soda Co.

                                                    1. For me, Sanbitter is like non-alcoholic Campari.

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. Ting is my favorite, hands down. I had it for the first time in Jamaica, it is a grapefruit soda. It's refreshing and not too sweet. It must be very, very, cold though. Warm Ting is terrible. I've found it at Jamaican restaurants, and sometimes even at Publix supermarkets.

                                                        1 Reply
                                                        1. re: BonnieMiranda

                                                          TING - Excellent...wish it came 12oz to the bottle instead of the chintzy 8oz...still wins big.
                                                          DR.BROWN'S CEL-RAY - can't have a knish and a kosher dog without it.
                                                          REED'S EXTRA GINGER BREW (Red Cap) - got just enough head-straightening ginger juice and they make an even better ice cream!
                                                          I.B.C. ROOT BEER - the original kind which was made in St. Louis.
                                                          FRESCA - (the '60s formula) "It's a blizzard"

                                                          And a good old-fashioned fountain-made Cherry Lime Rickey.

                                                        2. Guanara Antartica.

                                                          While it doesn't have much history in the US, it's the only soda I can drink a two-liter bottle of in one sitting.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: Panini Guy

                                                            That is the BRazilian cherry-ish stuff, righ? Doesn't that have a ton of caffeine?

                                                          2. I second the vote for Stewarts Root Beer straight from the tap in a frosted mug at one of the old stands in NJ. Nothing like it... bring home a gallon if you can.

                                                            Also, Dr. Browns makes a fantastic dry Ginger Ale that is hard to find, even in Supermarkets that carry their Black Cherry, Cream and Cel-Ray. Too bad.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: nycla3

                                                              WHITE ROCK used to be a fantastic ginger ale.

                                                              SCHWEPPES DRY GRAPE - hugely satisfying.

                                                            2. Iced cold Coke in the 6.5 ounce bottle

                                                              2 Replies
                                                              1. re: Moonpie

                                                                Moonpie I thought you would be an "RC" kinda person!!!

                                                              2. Sioux City Sarsaparilla. I first tried when I was in Tombstone. I loved this stuff. But its been years since I had anymore. I kept a few of the bottles though.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: LARaven

                                                                  We have it in our grocery store here. But I was deeply disapponted to know it doesn't actually come from Sioux City (which is 75 miles from here).

                                                                2. San Pellegrino Limonata
                                                                  SPA Lemon
                                                                  Nehi Peach
                                                                  Blenheim Hot

                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                  1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                    Wink the SASSY one....from Canada Dry!
                                                                    Incessantly hydrated myself with it as a kid. Understand why it's not around anymore-nary a mention, besides thee & me.
                                                                    OD'd on the Blenheims years ago-too many cases in too short a time. Great while it lasted though-unmatchable stuff-and great folks at the plant-pure Southern hospitality when it came to occasional broken bottles in shipments.
                                                                    But no soda anymore, not ever, they're all too damn sweet! Now I'm just a sparkling, rocks w/a twist guy-can't beat the freshness and the quench.

                                                                    1. re: kelvin8r

                                                                      Oh Wink...

                                                                      I gather it's a seasonal product...and kosher too!

                                                                  2. Canada Dry Ginger Ale back when it *was* dry and crisp. Now it's totally different- syrupy sweet. Most sodas were better back in the 70s and earlier. I remember 7-Up tasting kind of light and refreshing. Now it's like drinking syrup. I thought squeezing a lemon wedge into in might help, but weirdly, it didn't.

                                                                    That being said, I'll drink a Boylan's ginger ale once in a while. Not bad. But not Canada Dry!

                                                                    Heck, it would be nice to find some tonic water these days that doesn't isn't sweetened with HFCS.

                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                    1. re: jdub1371

                                                                      You are drinking syrup--corn syrup. Corn sweeteners are heavier and, well, syrupier than cane sugar. Corn by-products were used to fatten cattle and hogs. Now they use it to fatten the American public. Europe and the UK still insist on cane sugar for their confections, which is why imported sodas are crisper, lighter and more refreshing in general. The candy marketed over there, even from Mars and Nestle, is much better also.

                                                                      1. re: jdub1371

                                                                        I agree, sodas did taste better 30+ years ago!

                                                                        Remember that wonderful prune-y taste of Dr. Pepper. I really miss that one the most, but Coca-Cola is boring now, too.

                                                                        1. re: KCJ

                                                                          You can still find American made soda's that are stll made with real cane sugar. There is a small Dr. Pepper bottler in Dublin, Texas that still use 100% pure cane sugar, and as stated above it is crisper, lighter and more refreshing than the same made with corn syrup. There are other brands like Boylan that still use it and some others. You can also find Coke in areas with large Jewish populations that is made with sugar so it is kosher for passover.

                                                                          You can mail order the Dr. Pepper's and have it sent to your home. This is also the oldest Dr. Pepper bottling plant in the country.

                                                                          1. re: jackrugby

                                                                            They've really increased production recently. It used to be a "boutique" item and now it's in cans and plastic and sold all over texas in regular stores, probably available in specialty stores all over the country.

                                                                      2. Safeway used to have a very nice peach soda under their "Select" label. Haven't seen it in years.

                                                                        1. Buffalo Rock Ginger Ale - VERY spicey!! I think it's a mainly southern soda.
                                                                          Jones Green Apple
                                                                          Barq's Root Beer
                                                                          Mountain Dew
                                                                          Grape Nehi

                                                                          1. FAYGO!!

                                                                            Rock & Rye, especially.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: Prav

                                                                              Rock & Rye is great and seems to be a flavor that has otherwise disappeared. Kind of like the rye whiskey one would mix it with. I've always had a weakness for their Frosh as well, and, of course, the classic Red Pop.

                                                                            2. reeds ginger beer! (not artificially sweetened)-it has bite!
                                                                              here in NC we have Cheerwine-kinda like a cherry coke, but with more cherry less cola-

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: bethd127

                                                                                The last Cheerwine I had didn't taste as good as I remembered it. Could be because I didn't have any barbecue to go with.

                                                                              2. Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. I used to love drinking this as a kid during summers at the beach in southern New Jersey. Besides that region, it's nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the country. Other than that, I settle for Coke or Barq's root beer.

                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                1. re: wontonton

                                                                                  I miss that Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. My grandparents lived in Cape May and we had it every summer. Really nothing better. I can only find birch beer at Philly Connection, and that's all I get when I go there.

                                                                                  1. re: Katj

                                                                                    It's comforting to know that if you need a fix, you can order a case online!


                                                                                2. Dr. Pepper, Vernor's, Green River (really a nostalgia thing for me nowadays), Coca-Cola, Barq's, Schweppes Bitter Lemon, Moxie (original flavor): all of these ONLY if and when I can get them in their original sugar-sweetened version. Both the corn-syrup "revolution" and the discovery that some traditional ingredients are bad for you have killed off a lot of my childhood faves, but then I shouldn't be drinking most of that stuff these days anyway...

                                                                                  1. High fructose corn syrup has ruined the flavor most sodas (not to mention its other nasty effects). That's why I try to seek out available Latin American and Middle Eastern sodas made with real sugar. One of the restaurants in my old neighborhood was carrying for a long time some real sugar and not-too-sweet Schweppes lemon and orange sodas from Egypt that were just great. Another good one that's available around here is the irish Club brand sodas, particularly the orange which has real bits of pulp in it. Jarritos and Mundet Sidral from Mexico used to be great, but lately the dreaded HFCS has been moving into them too.

                                                                                    4 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: Woodside Al

                                                                                      Jarritos Tamarindo is way up on my list of favorites.

                                                                                      1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                        No doubt, Tamarindo rocks. Nothing like it to go with tres tacos from a truck.

                                                                                        I am hopelessly addicted to Coke, especially the slightly more carbonated, watery fountain blends (i.e. those that fill $4.50 movie theatre rip-off giant cups)

                                                                                        I liked drinking Fanta Limon in Spain.

                                                                                        1. re: equinoise

                                                                                          Yum! I still think of Fanta Limon! How come we Americans can only get Fanta Naranja? :I

                                                                                      2. re: Woodside Al

                                                                                        I happen to like both kinds of Coke, sugar Coke is both more Cinnamon-y and sugary, while corn syrup coke is smoother and more caramel-y. I like the former at the Mexican place with spicy food and the latter with pizza or in a rum and coke.

                                                                                        I just wish you could get a choice. I remember not being fond of Dr. Pepper as a kid, and now I really love it, only because it is milder and smoother (either my palate has changed or its the sweeteneer, I think it is the sweetener).

                                                                                      3. In response to HFCS and flavor...I drink fresh limeade (store bought w/ sugar) and lime flavored Perrier. Extremely refreshing and you control how sweet you want things.

                                                                                        1. A friend of mine has a website that ranks sodas (from the most common to the most obscure), if you're interested in checking it out: http://sodas.mikeshinn.com/

                                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: LBeff

                                                                                            That site is amazing! But I disagree with them on a number of them. Still really cool. Thanks.

                                                                                            1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                              I saw none of my favorites on there, which suggests there may be a virtually limitless number of sodas out there to try.

                                                                                              1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                Well then, you should both definitely add some reviews! I added one or two that Mike didn't have listed. When we travel, we always bring him back unusual sodas to add to the site.

                                                                                                1. re: LBeff

                                                                                                  Be glad to. In fact, my soda radar has been activated more than usual with this thread.

                                                                                          2. Coke in the little glass bottle is widely available here in South Africa, and is so damn good, I cant help drinking it even though I know its unhealthy and coke is a miserabley tyranical evil company ( I know this because of a first hand account from a colombian union organizer who saw his best friend shot in the head inside a coke factory for trying to organize) By the way only pure cane sugar here in South Africa, definitely more delicouse.

                                                                                            I also like the Mate flavoured soda, its from somewhere in latin america.

                                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: gastrognome

                                                                                                The best mate soda is Materva, made in Hialeah, Florida. Damn near impossible to find north of West Palm Beach. There is also Matebeer, somewhat inferior to Materva, but tasty all the same. I see it here and there in Latin markets.

                                                                                                1. re: flavrmeistr

                                                                                                  For NYers try the puertorican or dominican lunch counters they sometimes stock the Materva.
                                                                                                  Would be great if a company like Guayaki made an Mate soda that actually had Mate in it.

                                                                                                  1. re: gastrognome

                                                                                                    Alot of those drinks are weak,made for general pallets,I dont know why theres not a good tasting Mate soda more widely available the stuff is dirt cheap.

                                                                                                    1. re: billjriv

                                                                                                      Materva has flavors of apples and fresh-mown grass with a fairly serious caffeine jolt and a mild bite like ginger ale. Definitely one of the more complex and interesting sodas I've tried.

                                                                                              2. San Pellegrino Lemon in the apple-green cans,...BUT...I also crave Martinelli's Sparkling Apple Cider. Does that count?

                                                                                                1. Growing up it had to be Coca-Cola. The Big Dog, the O.G., the Big Kahuna, A-#1. Hail to the King, Baby!

                                                                                                  But nowadays I drink diet colas, of which Coke Zero is king because it tastes like regular Pepsi (which tastes better than Coke). Funny how tastes change.

                                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: J T

                                                                                                    I have a coke zero theory

                                                                                                    coke has long-had the ability to make a "better" tasting diet, but diet drinkers are hooked on the taste of diet coke, and don't actually like regular coke. With the lo-carb onslaught (which isn't a bad thing in the case of liquid calories probably) they saw a potential new market, coke classic drinkers who now want less sugar. Right place, right time. Notice how Pepsi One, a similar product, never really made a splash... it was too early, like the Apple Newton.(as in the computer company, not the "fruited-cake")

                                                                                                    It worked on me. I dig some coke zero if I want some fizz in my mouth.

                                                                                                    1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                      I love the elusive Pepsi One for two reasons. First; it reminds me of the taste of my first diet soda, the original Tab. The second reason is that they sweeten Pepsi One with Splenda which is a less noxious form of artificial sweetener. My husband was once misdiagnosed with MS when he overdosed on aspartame sweetened soda.

                                                                                                      1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                        I think your theory is right. I started drinking diet soda at 12 (copying my mom, I guess; I certainly didn't need it!) At first I didn't like it, but over time, it became all I liked. There are very few non-diet drinks I can drink and enjoy. The sugar coating my tongue, that thick goo - ugh. Mind you, I know that there are plenty of people who feel the same about diet. And you can definitely taste the diet aftertaste. I just prefer that to sugar (in soft drinks! If I'm eating dessert, that's a whole different thing!) Also now that instant-sugar-in-the-system feeling that I get after drinking liquid sugar is just horrible to me.

                                                                                                    2. I have recently become addicted to grapeteasers (from South Africa). Their appleteasers are good too.

                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                      1. re: orangewasabi

                                                                                                        Hey Orange,
                                                                                                        Grapetiser and appletisers are delicouse.
                                                                                                        They have a peartiser which I love but everytime I drink it I get horrible gas.

                                                                                                      2. Jupiña - a pineapple soda from the Cawy company (same guys that make Materva)
                                                                                                        Sandia - watermelon - delicious & REALLY hard to find
                                                                                                        RC Cola (I'm an old-fashioned gal!)
                                                                                                        Hires Root Beer
                                                                                                        Dr. Brown's Cherry & Diet Cherry
                                                                                                        Aunt Rosie's Loganberry (not a carbonated soda, but a yummy beverage exclusive to Buffalo, NY! How I miss it!)

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                            Yup! There's nothing like RC draft! I'm lucky that the pizza place down the street from my job has it!

                                                                                                            1. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                              Count me as completely jealous...I love that stuff

                                                                                                          2. re: Sra. Swanky

                                                                                                            RC Cola, I haven't seen that since buying cans of it from the soda machine at the town public pool, 30 years ago.

                                                                                                            I also remember C&C Cola. Whatever happened to that?

                                                                                                            1. re: wontonton

                                                                                                              RC is a bit elusive, but I still see it once in a while. I remember C&C Cola! I have no idea what happened to it either! Brings back memories of backyard BBQs at my aunt's house!

                                                                                                          3. Barr's Irn Bru. Scotland is the only country in the world where coke is sold and it isn't the #1 soft drink. It's 2nd behind Irn Bru

                                                                                                            Lilt-Pineapple flavoured soda from UK

                                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: industry worker

                                                                                                              i was wondering when irn bru would come up. My token scottish friend in college swore by it, so I tried it when I was in great brittain last year. I loved it.

                                                                                                              1. re: amkirkland

                                                                                                                Iron Brew is big here in South Africa

                                                                                                              2. Squirt! Love squirt. The diet is also really good.

                                                                                                                1. 50/50
                                                                                                                  Green River
                                                                                                                  And I MUST agree on Shasta Cream Soda (and their lemon lime wasn't bad either!)

                                                                                                                  1. I almost forgot the all time best soft drink:

                                                                                                                    Hey Song Sarsaparilla (form taiwan I believe)

                                                                                                                    This stuff is amazing!!! Nice and fizzy as I like it. Not too sweet and with a beautiful reddish amber hue.

                                                                                                                    My local chinese vegetarian shop used to stock but have now switched to a crappy alternative because of problems with their supplier

                                                                                                                    I you like root beer, find this stuff, and buy a case of it imediately!!

                                                                                                                    1. inka cola (now available on the east coast) from Peru


                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                      1. re: debvil

                                                                                                                        The Lonely Planet guide to South America describes Inca Cola, quite
                                                                                                                        accurately, as "boiled lollipops".

                                                                                                                      2. In the 50s and 60s in California, Calliandra or Callandra came in all colors, including clear creme. All were good to a kid. The bright colors were a part of the allure.

                                                                                                                        In Colombia, Postobon and others have had tamarind flavor sodas: very good!

                                                                                                                        1. Boylan's Creamy Red Birch Beer. Awesome with vanilla ice cream. I used to just see it in northern NJ (company based in North Haledon) but have found it at some independent ice cream places in Pittsburgh. Whole Foods is carrying Boylan's soda now but not the creamy red or even the plain birch beer. Their Black Cherry is very good too.

                                                                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                                                                          1. re: jweg

                                                                                                                            Boylan's red birch beer is really really good

                                                                                                                          2. If we're just talking regular bottled/canned soda (and not seltzer or ice cream type sodas):

                                                                                                                            Caffeine-free diet dr. pepper (yeah, i know, colored water - I hear it all the time)

                                                                                                                            I'm not a big soda drinker, although I used to be. (I was totally hooked on Tab in high school & college.) I had to cut caffeine out, though, and I always tried to drink more water. I got hooked on water and now usually choose it both for taste and because it's better for me. But I do occasionally like a good, cold Fresca, etc.

                                                                                                                              1. wow - i can't believe no one has mentioned bundaberg lemon, lime, & bitters!!! they top my list:

                                                                                                                                bundaberg lemon, lime, & bitters
                                                                                                                                bundaberg ginger ale
                                                                                                                                schweppes bitter lemon
                                                                                                                                San Pellegrino Limonata and Aranciata
                                                                                                                                Grape Nehi
                                                                                                                                Henry Weinhardt's Root Beer and Grape Soda
                                                                                                                                Americana Honey Lime Ginger Ale
                                                                                                                                Manhattan's Special Black Cherry
                                                                                                                                Honey Frosted Lemonade and Peach

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: arifa

                                                                                                                                  I've only had the Bundaberg root beer and it's pretty good. That brand comes from Australia, doesn't it? I agree on the Henry Weinhardt Root Beer, but do they make a grape soda? Never saw that one....only the root bear, orange cream, vanilla cream and something like a black cherry cream. I haven't seen the last one recently. I'm not a beer drinker, but apparently the Weinhardt beer doesn't have a great reputation.
                                                                                                                                  After I gave a Weinhardt root beer to a friend and he liked it, he asked me, "why do they bother to make the beer?" I've had the AJ Stephens root beer and it's good too. About 15/20 years ago there was a brand called Ali's that was found in southern California and that was the best root beer I ever had. They were a little strange, they ended up with 4 different flavors of root beer. The first one was the best and it was clear. They had trouble getting store space and eventually went under. I ended up chasing the guy making the stuff throughout a few warehouse changes in Torrance and the South Bay area. When I was a kid and my folks made a trek up to central California, I'd make them stop at a supermarket and get Frostie's root beer which was bottled in (I believe) Camden, N.J. and Sacramento, CA. I think sometimes the bottler can affect the taste of the product unfortunately.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: Feed_me

                                                                                                                                    did i write that? doh - no grape soda from henry weinhard. i meant thomas kemper's grape! and bundaberg is an australian brand, yes. if you can find the lemon, lime, and bitters it is truly amazing.

                                                                                                                                  2. re: arifa

                                                                                                                                    One thing about Reinhardts Root Beer that I love- it tastes very caramel-y and this flavor stands out when it is not ice cold, just cool of even room temp, or an eensy bit flatter. I love the stuff.

                                                                                                                                  3. My most recent favorite but unattainable: Atlanta's ginger ale - Red Rock, made with cane sugar, no HFC syrup, thank you very much. Very nice and spicy, clean and crips.

                                                                                                                                    Also have a special place for the Taiwanese Sasparilla drink. 黑松沙士 (Hei1 Song1 Sha1 Shi4) , and anyone remember the apple soda, 蘋果西打?

                                                                                                                                    By the way, is it my imagination? Or does the soda with HFC syrup makes my legs swollen? Maybe just me.

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: HLing

                                                                                                                                      I haven't paid much attention to your legs, but I can imagine that anything that throws such a kink into the digestion process can do wierd things with water... or you could be imagining it... or those sodas could also have more sodium... or you could be imagining it... or it could be the other artificialities that go along with it... or, of course, you could be imagining it.

                                                                                                                                    2. As a teenager, my all time favorite were diet sodas. The best of the bunch was Diet Rite with the original concoction of saccharine I believe and the original Fresca. Looking back I am sure not healthy drinks but I remember them being tasty and refreshing. Now the favorite cold beverage is iced tea with a slice of lemon.

                                                                                                                                      1. You can get a lot of these sodas at sodapopshop.com. They carry hundreds of sodas that you can't find anymore, and will ship.

                                                                                                                                        1. All-time best? Rondo. Don't know if you can still buy it. I second the recommendation for sodapopshop. I visited the store in person when I was in LA. It's impressive, and the owner will personally help you out.

                                                                                                                                          1. Blue Sky grapefruit soda from Santa Fe, NM. Like Fresca but much, much better.

                                                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                                                            1. re: CMACDC

                                                                                                                                              Dude, 38 grams of sugar in Blue Sky grapefruit ... of course it's going to taste better! I'll stick w/ Fresca. Aspartame versus HFCS -- guess who wins when it comes to taste? It's the CALORIE game we have to all play. A lot of us are knowingly sacrificing taste. Does Blue Sky have a diet version? If they do, then we can compare grapefruits to grapefruits.

                                                                                                                                              Have a look: http://drinkbluesky.com/products/inde...

                                                                                                                                            2. Another great soda: Jolt. The hacker's friend and all-nighter can-do drink.

                                                                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                                                                              1. re: aynrandgirl

                                                                                                                                                Jolt! Ahh..that brings me back! I haven't seen it in years! It was a staple for studying for college final exams!

                                                                                                                                              2. Ceres brand pink grapefruit juice mixed with soda water. Cant beat it.

                                                                                                                                                1. Growing up in California I used to love Birely's Orange Soda. I thought it was gone, but read (somewhere) that it is still avialable in Japan of all places. Anyone know anything about that?

                                                                                                                                                  1. Nehi grape or Nehi orange in the originall 16oz glass bottles. Icy cold from a large metal cooler filled with ice from the local gas station. Also, on picnics a large galvanized wash tub filled with ice & glass sodas. Your hands would freeze if you had to look all the way to the bottom of the tube for your favorite soda.

                                                                                                                                                    1. I'll second Vernor's as being the best ginger soda that's widely distributed. It's actually my favorite, period, but there are so many out there I have yet to try...

                                                                                                                                                      As for root beer, there's a local brewery called Killebrew's (yep, Harmon K's family) that makes a fantastic, spicy root beer. My roommate and I sort of compared it to root beer with chai spices mixed in. Very nutmeggy, and absolutely fabulous.

                                                                                                                                                      One soda I miss is OK Cola. I'm pretty sure that we were a test market for it and that it never got distributed across the country. Anybody else know it? It was another spicy kind of drink, lots of cinnamon and nutmeg in what I think was a cherry-colaesque type base, but I'm not sure. It was hard to tell. All I knew was that it was good, heh.