The 10 Most Terrifying Soft Drinks in Existence (Tested)
First, a disclaimer: please do not try to down a gallon of dubious liquids at home just because an Internet fool is about to do so. This is not a Jackass thing any more than it is a Morgan Spurlock one. What you're about to read was an accidental lovechild of a hot summer day, a soda-stocked fridge, and a mind that really should have known better, documented here solely because I have a dangerous brain disease that requires me to spread all my idiocy for the world to see.
As you may or may not know, my usual base of operations is on a completely different continent from most other Cracked people. This is partly because I'm shamelessly and irredeemably European and partly a direct administrative consequence of the Office Christmas Party That Cannot Be Mentioned (even though the portal was open just for a minute at most, and almost everyone's eyebrows eventually grew back). Because of this, my access to many delicacies readily available to Americans is somewhat restricted. Nowhere is this more evident than in the field of soft drinks. Sure, I can get the big brands, but some of the more suspect (and therefore appealing) sodas an American reader can go and buy right now just aren't there for me.
This is why I pooped a brick of pure happiness when I noticed that a store near my home is stocking a vast selection of imported, potable insanity. So I filled my fridge with a host of drinks I've never had the opportunity to taste:
I'm a notoriously healthy eater.
Then, as soon as they had cooled down, I might have accidentally drank them all.
Welch's Sparkling Grape Soda
I choose to start with what I foolishly assume will be the worst drink on the menu. Not only does the very concept of fucking grape soda send my taste buds packing, but the can's not exactly shy about insinuating that its contents are borderline hazardous. Look at it and tell me it's not going for that brightly colored "run away, I'm poisonous" warning that Amazonian frogs are so fond of:
The packaging also does that thing where the product claims to contain something good and natural, but when you look into it you'll find that what little actual grape juice the beverage has seen probably came in the form of a juice box someone sacrificed during the demonic ritual that summoned Welch's Sparkling Grape Soda into its production vat. However, since this is par for the course for most every item on this list, I'll just let it slide.
As you will notice many times during this article, I am the best photographer.
But here's the thing: Welch's Grape Soda is pretty fucking awesome. Granted, it looks like someone dissolved a Smurf in it and tastes like something that might condense inside those hollow, plastic grapes clueless decorators use, but it's not a bad kind of fake taste. The next time I get a hankering for unexpectedly delicious liquid plastic, this is definitely the drink I'm going to pick.
Wow, speaking of warning colors.
You'd assume something with a name like Hawaiian Punch is supposed to be a refreshing, fruity sort of drink. However, something strange must have happened in the pitfall-filled process between "this product would be a good idea" and "this product is now ready for thirsty consumers to enjoy," for this happy, hoochless hula-hula juice is attacking my taste buds like something that you'd better keep the hell away from your pet turtles unless you want your pizza budget to increase dramatically. This is what the drink looks like:
Heads, you gain invulnerability and an impressive butt-chin. Tails, you become Toxic Avenger.
Can something that artificially bright taste of anything but the faint, desperate, chemical screams of various fruit of uncertain origin, long since preserved in mysterious vats and subjected to the kinds of tests man was never meant to conduct? No. No, it can't. If you don't believe me, go ask the Kool-Aid Man. He knows.
Canada Dry Ginger Ale
I'm a big fan of ginger ale and I've heard some very good things about Canada Dry, which makes it a drink that I'm genuinely excited about tasting. So, of course it turns out to be the thing with the least taste on the entire menu.
Canada Dry is not bad per se -- it's just that I've never encountered a drink so accurately described by its title. It leaves your throat as dry as a liquid can without flat-out introducing hydrophobic substances in the mix, and just as politely inoffensive as anything Canadian can be outside hockey season. If soft drinks were a sports team, Canada Dry would be that player who never quite manages to get anything done due to his inability to physically challenge anyone, yet somehow remains a perennial figure in the opening lineup because he never fucks up too badly.
Still, it was pure bliss compared with subjecting my palate to ...
Barq's Root Beer and Barr's Cloudy Lemonade
Root beer is one of those strange not-quite-pleasures that you never truly enjoy, yet find yourself occasionally giving in to despite knowing full well what's in store and that it's mainly bad news. Basically, it's the sex-with-the-ex of soft drinks. Still, despite knowing all this and being ready for it, Barq's Root Beer manages to catch me off guard. I think it might be the worst non-alcoholic drink I've ever had. It tastes like a combination of off-brand cough medicine, pee, and gasoline, and the most enjoyable sensation you'll get drinking it is the sheer joy when you finally manage to down the last drop.
Barr's Cloudy Lemonade, on the other hand, is all right. It's like a liquid version of elevator muzak: far from sensational but palatable enough unless it's stuffed down your throat 24/7.
Hold on. Barq's. Barr's. These two sound like they're made by brothers, the good Barr and the evil Barq, and at dusk they meet halfway between their respective factories and duel with whatever it is imaginary soda makers use to stir their fare. Giant whisks?
Shit, let's just take this one step further and mix the two:
Mixing absurdly different drinks: never a bad idea.
Surprisingly, this potentially disastrous combination is not completely undrinkable. The sourness of Barr's somewhat mitigates the oily ickiness of Barq's, creating something that I'd never describe as more than serviceable, though it would probably set you back a good $12 if you ordered it at a fancy bar with a hint of whiskey and a celery stalk.
San Pellegrino Limonata
I realize this is technically an Italian drink, but there are only so many sugary concoctions a man can gulp down before collapsing into a hyperactive pile of twitching flesh, and I can already feel that moment lurking far nearer than I'm comfortable with. So fuck it, here we go.
Have you ever tasted a lemon so sour, it forms a tiny black hole inside your mouth and tries to suck your whole face in? Because that's what San Pellegrino Limonata tastes like when the only flavor your mouth is used to is "sickly sweet." Yet, despite the bitterness, the drink turns out to contain Coca Cola-levels of sugar, thus increasing the sweetness-induced energy barrage rushing through my system and yet again affirming my adamant, scientifically accurate belief that sugar is just cocaine with glasses and a fake mustache.
These tiny powdery nuggets are probably neither, but at this point it doesn't really make any difference.
This, friends, is a goddamn beer. It almost manages to take my mind off the fact that I'm still about to plow through several cans of overly sugared "refreshments."
A&W Cream Soda
Let's never discuss the meaning of that sign. It's there for a reason, all right?
The brave soul that pops open a can of A&W Cream Soda is greeted by a dubious, fake-vanilla stank. This is heaven compared to the actual taste of the thing. You know how the Gremlins melt into a puddle of bubbling, liquid goop when exposed to sunlight? A&W Cream Soda is precisely what I imagine that muck tastes like: rich and eerily sweet, with a strangely organic aftertaste.
To make things even worse, this is the point of what I'm by now calling "The Experiment" where the combination of the heat and the Juggernaut of all sugar rushes is forcing me to take a break and go cool myself in the shower. Because I have to finish this drink anyway, and because I figure it can't be made worse than it already is, I opt to enjoy the last half-can in the shower.
Let my mistakes be a lesson to you all.
As you can probably guess, this is a fuck-awful move. The vile, creamy vanillaness of the soda is almost immediately heated beyond potability by the shower environment, updating its taste from Gremlin Juice to something not unlike drinking an entire, pureed cow, fur and bones and all. Believe me: this is even less delicious than it sounds.
Twiss Lemon With a Twist of Mint
Look, this is not what I asked from life. I was only planning to grab a couple of drinks to get me through a weekend of gaming and general sitting-on-my-assitude. But sometimes, a man's natural curiosity and the need to binge on dangerous doses of high-fructose corn syrup in the name of research overrides all other instincts.
This is my story for when someone asks me how on Earth did I ever willingly ingest Twiss, and I'm standing by it.
Fuck you right back into the abyss, foul creature.
Because the combination of lemon and mint seems like a pretty refreshing one, my initial idea was to save Twiss as the last soda on the list. However, after my horrible cream soda adventure, it is occurring to me that I probably should have taken more than two hours to tear through the first six-and-a-beer, and I definitely should have eaten something first. As a result of these various errors in my methodology, I am rapidly beginning to feel like a big fat lump of fructose-infused fecal matter. It appears I'm experiencing a simultaneous sugar rush and crash; the hyperactivity and tremors that started at around San Pellegrino are still there, but the withdrawal symptoms are starting to create a nauseating effect not unlike being pelted with live cats from within. This is not a fun game anymore -- it's time to chug down that one last Twiss and get it over with.
Two guesses as to whether this was a great idea.
The first tang of Twiss Lemon With a Twist of Mint is actually quite palatable, the hint of mint bringing a pleasant twist (ha!) to the generic fake-citrus taste of a store-brand Sprite. However, after a couple of sips the novelty wears out with a vengeance. By the time I'm halfway through it, Twiss tastes almost exactly like Nickelback sounds: an exercise in tooth-corroding blandness attempting to disguise itself with aggressively calculated flair. Hold on, I just said I quite enjoyed the first two sips. Does that mean I like Nickelback now? Is this where you have taken me, sugar overdose?
Nope, still awful. Thank fuck.
I am become a wreck, a pathetic excuse for a human being. Somewhere within me, my cells are gleefully mining fucking Twiss and A&W Cream Soda and converting their considerable excess energy into fat, and if I knew where my body is storing those fuckers I'd be ready and willing to remove that part with a rusty goddamn spoon. Yet, because I'm nothing if not determined (and also a certified dumbass), I choose to press on. Luckily, at this point I manage to summon enough presence of mind to eat something, because come on.
In hindsight, however, I probably should have ordered a pizza or something, because I have only the haziest recollection of chopping up these vegetables:
Kitchen knives: not the brightest idea when your hands have the sugar shakes.
At this point, I choose to choke down a Cherry Coke, because it's the only drink on this list I've tasted before, thus offering a handy reference point to the degree of vileness of the others. To my surprise, it tastes like it always does: pretty OK. Either this means that the previous drinks have truly leaked unto the unsuspecting world from Satan's butthole, or the good people at Coke are really, really good at getting their customers hooked on their product.
Then again, are those answers really mutually exclusive?
OK, one more. After finishing this, I'm going to close the computer and go shake for what will seem like days but probably won't be, then proceed to experience the kind of hangover you can usually achieve only by drinking something brewed by prisoners in a mostly emptied-out fire extinguisher. The duration of this experience has been a little under four hours, and the amount of throwing up that is going to happen any minute now shall be multicolored and legendary.
Now, what do we have in store for my last crusade?
Hehehehe. This one kind of sounds like a sex toy, doesn't it? A really bad sex toy, one of those floppy cheap things with a motor that's aaaaalmost dead. It could be ... maybe red, I suppose? No, I know it's supposed to be yellow, but man, there's no reason to suppress creativity. In fact, at first I thought the name of this stuff was "Hello Yello" and was all: "Hold on, this doesn't really taste like anything much. It should totally be called Mello Yello." And then I noticed that it actually was and I laughed and I laughed and I laughed. Taste-wise, it's OK, I suppose. I guess I could have another. Actually, I think I have another of those nice root beers in the fridge ...
Ah, shit. At what point does sugar take over your brain, again?
For more from Pauli, check out The 5 Most Ridiculous Drinking Myths You Probably Believe and The 6 Creepiest Lies the Food Industry is Feeding You.