Monday, January 16, 2012

Apple soda

These two luminous bottles arrived last month from Sidral Mundet, which has been making apple soda in Mexico for more than a hundred years. Would I please try some and say what I think?

Have I sold out? Does this belong here? My view: It's about apples, it's fair game. You have been duly warned of potential ethical conflicts. Not much else on this time of year anyway.

I am not a big soft-drink person, but have been known to spring for a bottle of Mexican soda (I like the lime) with Mexican food.

Compared to that, the Sidral (the tawny amber stuff, made with actual apple juice) is mild and unassuming, but quite good. The green-apple Manzana Verde is similar.

Sidral has a cream-soda flavor that my wife caught right away. The apple proved more elusive, but is there. There is also a mild apple-juice aroma.

We sampled this one with food, which may have been a mistake: I got much clearer apple-juice flavors after dinner. The Sidral uses pasteurized apple as its only flavoring, the third ingredient (after carbonated water and sugar). The result is a very clean, light flavor; the carbonation is not heavy but gives things a little tang and zip.

The amber hue, a bit darker than filtered apple juice, is at least partially caramel coloring. It suggests the coppery brown of unfiltered sweet cider, though the soda is quite clear. There is also citric acid and a preservative.

So a very simple treat, carbonated water and sugar plus apple juice. Mexican sodas are sweetened with cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn sweetener. It gives them a certain clarity of flavor: many cola purists prefer Mexican Coca Cola for that reason, and for the old-style glass bottles.

Speaking of bottles, aren't these pretty? The clear glass 12-ounce longnecks printed with small labels showcase the candy-colored soda. Imagine pulling these from a bucket of ice water on a hot day, rather than against a backdrop of late-December trees.

Verde is similarly mild, sweet, and pleasant, "not too gassy," as my wife says. This is a new variety that has some artificial flavor and more acid, bumping apple juice to fifth on the list. It has the bright aroma of a child's hard "green apple" candy.

This soda is a younger sister to Sidral, which has been enjoyed in Mexico since 1902. Its beautiful color has just a tinge of aqua.

We did not try this one with food, but though the apple flavor was a bit more obvious the dominant flavor is cane sugar. There is a faint caramel note and a mixture of the apple-candy flavor and Sidral-like apple juice. Light, fizzy, and sweet--what's not to like?

Compared to Sidral the Manzana Verde has a little more kick and there is a nice astringent tail. I think I like it better, maybe, for that, but the two are very like.

For the record the ingredients of the Sidral are as follows:
Purified Carbonated Water, Sugar, Apple Juice from Concentrate, Citric Acid, Caramel Color and Sodium Benzoate (as Preservative).

For the Green Apple:
Carbonated Water, Natural Sugar, Citric and Malic Acid, Artificial Flavors, Apple Juice (From Concentrate), Natural Caramel Color, Sodium Benzoate (as Preservative), Yellow 5 and Blue 1.

The Quaffmaster at Weird Soda Review has a nuanced account of Sidral Mundet, and Steve at BevReview.com likes it a lot and has more photos. These bloggers focus on their respective topics with the same demented obsession discipline and dedication that we strive for here at Adam's Apples. Hooray for micro blogging!

Local color: Where I live, soda is known as "tonic."

2 comments:

  1. My family and I grew up calling it all Coke.
    "Hey - can you get me a coke?"
    "Sure, what kind?"
    "Dr. Pepper"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maven: according to research mapped here, "coke" is a regionalism for soda (or pop) prevalent in the South and especially the Southeast and Texas.

      So someone is on the case here!

      Delete

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