Everybody likes a nice refreshing soda now and then, and everybody has their favorite flavor. I’m a Mountain Dew man myself—I especially love the specialty varieties. Sometimes, though, a soda will pop up that must be some kind of elaborate joke. To each their own, of course, but no one can seriously enjoy these bizarre concoctions. Can they?
You would think this one wouldn’t be that bad. After all, people eat yogurt all the time—it’s delicious. However, the yogurt that people usually eat has been sweetened and flavored to mask the fact that it’s fermented milk. Yogurt soda, not so much.
Popular in the Middle East, yogurt soda (doogh) has the consistency of whole milk and a pungent sour milk aroma. It has a salty tang, and pepper or mint is sometimes added to enhance the flavor. Reviews of the drink mention its tendency to settle upon sitting, requiring the drinker to shake it before enjoying.
Enjoyment might not come easily, though, as they also mention the fact that the drink never really mixes—curdled bits of yogurt just sort of float around in the soda. And in case your gag reflex has somehow remained untriggered, the overall taste is lovingly described as “bacterial waste.” Yummy.
You know those hot summer days when the only thing you can think about is getting your hands on a nice crunchy onion and just going to town? No, you don’t because you are a sane human being. You are also not in the target market for South Korea’s onion soda.
Produced by Tamla Village Company, Ltd., this fizzy, sulfurous abomination is basically concentrated and carbonated essence of onion. If you can successfully wrestle the can past your nose, the drink is supposed to have amazing health benefits. The drink is believed to reduce cholesterol, clean the blood, and prevent cancer, so it’s no wonder the beverage’s tear-jerking aroma is tolerated.
Of course, it’s anyone’s guess as to whether any of these claims are actually true or just a combination of cultural superstition and clever marketing. Personally, if it means never having to put the foul liquid anywhere near my mouth, I’ll take their word for it.
Celery has long been a staple of fitness regimens. The image of the health-conscious, sweatband-wearing exercise junkie crunching a stalk has become a cliche. It may come as a surprise, then, to learn that it has been an ingredient in fitness freak kryptonite for nearly 150 years.
Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray soda was developed as a health tonic in New York City in 1869. Physician Dr. Brown used concentrated celery extract to ease the stomach pains and anxiety of his patients. However, like many early sodas, Cel-Ray eventually evolved from medication to beverage and can now be found in many New York delicatessens.
It has a grassy smell, and the flavor is described as vegetal and herbaceous with a peppery bite. If not for a bit of sweetness in the form of corn syrup, it would simply be carbonated celery juice. Not a bad idea, but I think I’ll take my celery with raisins and peanut butter, thanks.
In yet another fitness cliche turned on its head, we have raw eggs. But rather than just cracking a dozen or so into a glass and shotgunning the slimy mess, the Vietnamese egg soda tries to class it up a bit.
The recipe for soda sua hot ga (“egg soda”) is pretty straightforward: Place a raw egg yolk and sweetened condensed milk in the bottom of a glass, pour in club soda, and stir. From that point, it’s a simple matter of building courage, sipping, suppressing your gag reflex, and repeating until your masochistic streak has been satisfied.
It’s allegedly “better than it sounds,” even though the soda tends to cause the eggs to curdle, requiring the mix to be strained before drinking. There are also some concerns about salmonella contamination, adding a thrilling bit of danger to the experience. Overall, it’s supposed to be great, but try it at your own risk.
With marijuana slowly inching toward legalization, many gimmicky pot concoctions have been cropping up lately. Candy bars and baked goods are among these intoxicating edibles, but they just don’t hit the spot on a hot summer day. Therefore: weed soda.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the substance behind marijuana’s high, and it only takes about 2–3 milligrams to affect a light user. However, THC-infused sodas, sporting names like Canna Cola and Orange Kush, pack a whopping 35–65 milligrams.
Not only that, THC is much more potent when ingested orally, meaning this chronic cola will hit you like a super mellow freight train. The effects come on slowly, however, and the high concentrations of THC can lead to stomach pains and nausea.
Before you hit up your local convenience store, know this: At present, the only places to get your hands on an ice-cold Canna Cola are those with legalized marijuana distribution, medical or otherwise. Sorry.
5 Buffalo Wing
Perhaps the most common reason that we reach for a soda is because we want a cool, refreshing treat. Perhaps the most common reason that we reach for a buffalo wing is because we want to recreationally singe our taste buds. So how does something as ludicrously counterproductive as buffalo wing soda happen?
No idea, but it did. The Rocket Fizz Soda Pop Candy Shops have been producing the beverage under the brand name Lester’s Fixins for a few years now. Its flavor is complex. It begins with orange soda–like notes and finishes with the heavy acidic tang of buffalo sauce.
Reviews mention that the brew has the overpowering aroma of Cajun seasoning. However, these same reviews claim that the overall experience “wasn’t horrible” and that the spiciness was more like ginger than actual wing sauce.
Clearly, this product is some kind of joke, produced solely for novelty value. Still, it can be ordered online if you’re interested. It pairs nicely with Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray.
4 Thanksgiving Dinner
Thanksgiving. This joyous celebration of gluttony has delighted Americans for ages. And what better way to improve upon the experience than to liquefy, carbonate, and bottle everything from the turkey to the green bean casserole? Well, anything really.
Seattle’s Jones Soda Company thought otherwise, however, and rolled out a traditional Thanksgiving feast–flavored soda bundle in 2004. This box of liquid nausea contained five sodas, each a different flavor: Turkey and Gravy, Mashed Potato and Butter, Green Bean Casserole, Cranberry, and Fruitcake.
While the last two sound at least tolerable, the first three were apparently so wretched that the creators themselves refused to drink them. The Mashed Potato and Butter was especially horrible, with an overpowering butter flavor that refused to leave the mouth. I would suspect that this was some sort of nefarious scheme to tarnish Thankgiving’s good name, if not for the fact that some of the proceeds were donated to charity.
3 Beef Jerky
A lot of people like beef jerky. Smoky and delicious, it makes for an excellent snack. You may even grab a soda while enjoying that snack. However, what you probably wouldn’t do is rip up the beef jerky, stuff it into the soda bottle, allow the mix to stew for a bit, and then chug the horrifying mixture.
But the fine folks behind Beefdrinker Teriyaki Beef Jerky Soda certainly would. Their bizarre brew packs all the taste sensations of your favorite dried meat product into a 33-centiliter (12 oz) bottle.
Upon popping the top, the drinker is immediately assaulted by the aroma of hickory-smoked beef. If they are the particularly determined sort and fight past this meaty cloud, they are rewarded with a mouthful of what is essentially peppery, carbonated soy sauce. Some may find that enjoyable, but most of the fun of this product comes from its usefulness as a gag gift.
2 Tree Bark
Surprisingly, given the stiff competition, this entry is very nearly the strangest on this list because it is the only typically inedible flavor ingredient featured here. How anyone thought to concoct a soft drink from one of the blandest, most abrasive, least appetizing substances on the planet is beyond me.
Nevertheless, Mauby Fizzz is most certainly, somehow, a thing. Popular in the Caribbean, this effervescent elixir is created by boiling the bark of the buckthorn tree with sugar and spices. The resulting brew supposedly starts off tasting very much like root beer before leaving you with a bitter aftertaste.
Fans admit that “it’s not for everyone” and that it’s definitely an acquired taste. Of course, each Caribbean island has its own variety of the traditional drink, so disliking one doesn’t mean that the others won’t tickle your fancy. If you’d like to give it a try, Mauby Fizzz can be ordered from several different websites.
Japan is a place where very, very strange things happen on a daily basis. Eels are notoriously slimy, repulsive, utterly unpleasant creatures. Soda is a delightful, fizzy beverage. Combine all three, mix gently, and you have Unagi Nobori: eel soda.
Unagi Nobori (“Surging Eel”) is a yellow Japanese soft drink made chiefly from eel extracts. It is meant to taste like broiled eels, a popular summertime dish. So imagine all the savory deliciousness of a salty, charred eel slithering down your throat, and you’ve got the right idea. And as if that wasn’t enough incentive to crack one of these bad boys open, eels are also believed to provide one with an energy boost, prompting the manufacturer to market the drink to those “exhausted by the summer’s heat.”
I realize that there are cultural differences to take into consideration here, but I cannot fathom a worse idea for a soft drink. I would rather drink any other entry on this list. Combined with any other entry on this list. Twice.
Alex is just a guy who enjoys writing. And zombies. And occasionally tacos.