Review: Pepsi Natural
With little fanfare, Pepsi Natural seems to have abruptly arrived on store shelves: I found a small stack of the new, all-natural version of Pepsi in my local Safeway, on sale for $2.99 for a four-pack of 12-oz. glass bottles. (Regular price: $3.99.)
Of course I had to buy it so I could review the stuff.
It truly is a natural product (though be clear, with 38 grams of sugar, it’s not something I’d call “healthy”): The ingredients include water, sugar, apple extract, caramel color (both for color), citric acid, caffeine, acacia gum, tartaric acid, lactic acid, natural flavor, and kola nut extract, in that order.
Foremost you’ll notice that Pepsi Natural is somewhat less carbonated than other soft drinks, which gives it less of a bracing rush and a lighter, smoother taste. It’s certainly sweet, but not cloying, and it has some of that initial spiciness that makes regular Pepsi unmistakable at first sip. But as you drink it — and it goes down fast and easy — that spice evolves into more of a cinnamon character, and by the end of the bottle (or rather, well before the end) I was really enjoying the flavor and wishing for another glass.
I don’t normally drink standard Pepsi — I find it too chemical-tasting and metallic — but this reimagination is not bad at all. It’s already on my short list of favorite sodas, and even if you’re a Pepsi-hater, I suggest you give it a try.
So, Coke… where’s yours?
A- / $2 per four-pack of 12 oz bottles / pepsi.com
Next time Passover rolls around (Spring 2010) look for Kosher for Passsover Coke. It’s made with real sugar instead of corn syrup, in order to follow some convoluted (in my opinion) dietary laws that Ashkenazic Jews (including myself) follow on Passover. It’s usually bottled with a different cap (yellow or white with rabbinic supervision symbol printed on it). I’ve been hopeful that Coca-Cola would make it available year-round, as I really don’t like corn syrup in my soda.
You can get Mexican Coke (also sugar-based) here year-round, but it’s still got plenty of artificial flavorings in it.
Sorry, I realized the difference after I posted.