Soda Poppin’: Mint Julep Soda

Kirin has launched an imprint called 世界のkitchenから, or "From the World's Kitchen."  (Warning: Flash and sound heavy site.)  The imprint (sub-label, sub-brand, whatever) produces sodas based on cocktails from around the world.  This week, my wife and I tried the new Mint Julep Soda.

According to the advertisements, Kirin based their soda around the idea of mint and lemongrass, choosing those as the key flavors from the traditional Cuban cocktail.  And, indeed, the soda has a strong mint and lemon taste, with enough fizz to make it feel like a soda yet without the bitter aftertaste of alcohol.  However, it was not sweet.  Perhaps it was due to a misconception on my part as I know that soda does not necessarily equal sweet, but the mint juleps I have had were based around bourbon and sugar and therefore, fairly sweet for a cocktail.

This is the only real problem I had with the soda – I felt it was misnamed.  To begin, I had always thought of a Mint Julep as being a Southern U.S. cocktail.  The name brings to mind images of men in white suits and straw hats at the racetrack, at least for me.  Also, I feel strongly that bourbon based cocktails are fairly sweet.  The absence of any sweet taste in the soda was problematic for me.  My wife, however, who has never had a Mint Julep cocktail found the taste quite nice.  She felt the sour taste was like, well, a citrus sour.  And I agree, the soda does taste a lot like a sour, which is not a Mint Julep.

Having said all that, naming aside, expectations aside, it is a nice, slightly sour, heavy lemon taste, slight mint aftertaste soda.  All in all, it's a nice, light, summery soda.  I just can't help wishing it was closer in taste to a proper Mint Julep.

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2 responses to “Soda Poppin’: Mint Julep Soda

  1. I am intrigued by your description, and am in agreement with your express distaste for the errant naming/marketing reference with regard to an iconic cultural feature. Cuba may have her Mojito and it is a fine drink made from rum produced from the abundant native sugarcane. The Mint Julep requires Bourbon, which by heritage can only be produced in Bourbon County, Kentucky and is a notoriously sweet whiskey. To reference the Mint Julep instead of the Mojito from Cuba, and then to make the drink sour is a misleading and unfortunate way for a foreign market to first experience this distinctly Southern icon. It leaves me perplexed why Cuba was referenced in the marketing, when a map of Kentucky would have served just as well and more accurately.

  2. Exactly. And I wish I could say that this was a singular example of advertising throwing reality to the four winds, but we all know that that just isn't true. I'm starting to think we need a whole new set of international "truth in advertising" laws.

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