Recently, I had a hankering for pineapple soda.
When I was a lad in high school, there was this Italian deli in town that made fantastic meatball subs. I used to wash ‘em down with Crush pineapple soda. (I can’t be sure, more than twenty years later, but it might have been this place.) Good stuff, but you don’t see pineapple soda much. I stopped for some roast chicken and papusas at a DC-area dive recently and got a Jarritos pineapple soda to accompany the meal. It was okay, but not as good as my memories of those bottles of Crush. I decided to get a bunch of pineapple sodas, do the taste test and see what would come up on top.
There were a few brands missing from the lineup. I couldn’t locate another bottle of Jarritos on the spur of the moment (although that brand had only been okay) and I also couldn’t find any bottles of Crush or Sunkist pineapple soda. But I had five brands available and with the help of a couple of colleagues, I put them to the test. What I was looking for was a soda that captured the tang of pineapple without delivering a sticky sweet syrup.
The Jamaican brand probably would have been okay if it had been labeled as “Cotton Candy” flavor. I didn’t care for the Jupiña, but it did have a very distinct flavor, complete with some sort of odd aftertaste that’s hard to place. It’s probably popular with specific ethnic groups due to whatever the special ingredient is. The Piña from Cerveceria India had a strong straight-ahead pineapple juice flavor, if you’re looking for a drink that tastes like pineapple juice.
That brought it down to a taste-off between the Goya and the Fanta. After much back-and-forth, the Fanta edged out the Goya by having a nice fizzy edge to it.
By the way, I made a pineapple-infused vodka one time, having tasted such a beverage at the Russian Tea Room, and it was quite good. I expect these sodas might not suffer for a shot of Hangar One.
For another view of this taste test, read here.