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Oh, SmAlbany!

Daily posts and occasional longer essays about politics, culture, and life in the Capital Region...updated M-F, midmorning

"I write this not as a booster of Albany, which I am, nor an apologist for the city, which I sometimes am, but rather as a person whose imagination has become fused with a single place, and in that place finds all the elements that a man ever needs..." -W. Kennedy, from O Albany!

Local Soda

A Saratoga company is looking to gain market share locally for it's popular western New York soda, Sarasoda loganberry:
the beverage, made from a fruit that is a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry, is most popular in Buffalo and southern Ontario, Canada.

But it's gaining some traction in the Capital Region, too, thanks to P.J. Davis, who "imported" the loganberry drink from Buffalo 20 years ago to sell at his popular Route 9 restaurant, PJ's Bar-B-Q.

Now Davis' daughter, Jady, beverage industry veteran Sam Tubolino have taken the reins of the business and are attempting to sell more of the red- and purple-hued beverage to a wider audience.
This event gives us a nice chance to review the best local sodas around. Now, I'm a soda junkie, and I don't just mean the old Coke/Pepsi/Sprite routine. I like local sodas. It's not worth reviewing plain cola or diet cola - they all taste like Coke, anyway. The real treats are the flavored sodas, and SmAlbany doesn't disappoint. Here we go:

Orange Soda

I've always thought that the best orange soda is the cheap Price Chopper stuff in can form. Cans are almost a requirement for orange soda, for two reasons. First, flat orange soda is about the worst stuff in the world. You might as well go get some McDonalds Orange drink. Second, none of the bottled stuff tastes that good - Minute Maid Orange is way too syrupy, and Orange Crush has a nasty aftertaste. Given price and quality, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats Price Chopper Orange. (Stay away from PC Diet Orange, however, it's awful.)

Grape Soda

Grape sodas are a lot like Orange sodas. The bottled stuff from the big manufacturers - be it Crush, Nehi, or Minute Maid - just aren't that good. Again, you need a can. The Price Chopper stuff is ok, but the best is Adirondack Grape in a can. While Adirondack Orange has less flavor than Price Chopper Orange, the grape is easily superior. Very sharp. Stay away from the Sam's club soda for both grape and orange. Although it's dirt cheap, it's not worth it.

Black Cherry

Adirondack also has by far the best black cherry soda
, although an argument can be made for IBC black cherry in the bottle. Black Cherry doesn't require a can the way Orange or Grape does, and the IBC stuff is darn good. One ridiculous problem with IBC, however, is that they don't sell the Black Cherry in our area! (It also is quite pricey compared to Adirondack.) It makes zero sense - they sell the root beer and cream soda everywhere! I've had to stealthily import it from New Haven, CT and Rochester, NY on several occasions. If someone knows where to get IBC Black Cherry locally, let me know.

Specialty Sodas

My absolute favorite specialty soda is Stewart's oranges-n-cream soda. It's like drinking a creamsicle. And it comes in a nifty glass bottle. Although it's not exactly local, per se (it's from White Plains), it counts here because it's tough to find outside of the northeast (I've had it in New Haven, CT and once in Washington, D.C.)

Let's hope that Sarasoda Loganberry isn't as bad as Funny Cide Ale - which, by all accounts, tastes like the horse urinated in the bottle.
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At 5:51 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said:

I believe IBC Black Cherry is now being sold at certain area Wal-Marts.    

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