A few weeks ago I was approached by Heathwick Ltd, distributors of Dominion Soda, who asked me if I would be interested in trying some of their authentic American Import Beverages - Although never having been one for fizzy drinks, I am ever eager to broaden my horizons and try different things so kindly accepted their generous offer.
I wasn't sure when said Sodas's were going to turn up but lo and behold after only 2 days, mid baking session and covered in a whole host of sticky substances, a lovely Chap in some cool Shades turned up with a case of 6 glass bottles of Pop - 2 each of Root Beer, Creamy Orange Soda and Black Cherry Soda.
The first thing to stand out to me was the logo.. ITS A STAG!! THATS MY ANIMAL!! You know how some people are crazy Cat Ladies or that one Kid at school who was obsessed with Horses.. I am the Deer equivalent. Like literally, I am obsessed - I have even kept the Stag printed bottle caps. Brownie points for Dominion Soda.. They must have seen me coming.
If like me you know nothing about Root Beer then you might be interested to know that it is made from the root/bark of the Sassafras Tree - Possibly the funnest word in the world to say yet lethal as only the extract is now available after finding that Sassafras itself is carcinogenic! Specifically Dominion Root Beer is made from natural ingredients (Pure Cane Sugar and Honey) and is free from caffeine and high fructose syrup as well as being non alcoholic, making it perfect for all ages. On to the tasting! I popped the topped and it fizzed up, a treat. I took a whiff and was immediately not looking forward to trying it - It smelt so sweet and artificial and not to dissimilar to floor cleaner! I built up the courage and took a sip.. It tasted exactly like old fashioned Bubblegum.. But not in a good way. It was sweeter and much more artificial - Similar in taste to the wheel/tapes that I think were produced by Hubba Bubba back in the day. I can't say I could distinguish any of the Honey listed in the ingredients and can only assume the Bubblegum sort of flavour must be that of Sassafras which I can safely say I don't like at all. It was foul. It must be an acquired taste as the only thing I can think its good for is striping wallpaper. Yuck. Its a 0 out of 5 from me!
Creamy Orange Soda
Next up, was the bright Orange and potentially radioactive bottle of Pop. The acerbic citrus has been smoothed in this drink whilst provoking the flavour profile of carbonated cream.. Whatever that means. It smelt a lot like Fanta which was always my Fizzy Drink of choice when I was a Kiddo. Taste wise, it was full on Orange with a slightly medicinal taste and very, very sweet. A creamy vanilla tone came through subtly as a after taste too. It is suggested to serve with vanilla ice cream but that appeals to me even less than the drink by itself - Im clearly not Americanised in the slightest! Its a slightly more bearable, 1 out of 5.
Black Cherry Soda
Lastly was the Black Cherry jobby which I have to admit was the one I was least looking forward to trying despite the 2 previous disastrous taste tests - I love cherry but it is very easy to get wrong, especially when put in a drink! I had a sniff and it didn't smell all that bad although it was very potent of Morello Cherry. Taking a swig, I wasn't completely repulsed - Its a miracle! The flavour was that of a strong Bakewell with the Cherry element being spot on. I imagine this would go down a treat with Cherry Coke fans - I would even go as far as to say it is nicer but that is coming from a Coke hater so perhaps I am bias! Its a 2.5 out of 5 from me.
Overall, well.. These Dominion Soda's have been a bit of an experience! Surprisingly the carbonated element of the drinks didn't bother me in the slightest - I think my dislike of the flavours completely overpowered any hate I had for the fizzy stuff which is saying something! I wouldn't touch Root Beer again with a 10 foot bargepole but I am guessing a lot of people do like it since its popularity is increasing, here in the UK. I won't lie and say I finished any of the bottles but the Black Cherry Soda is for me, the best of a bad bunch and I could drink it, if I had to. By all means, if you are a fan of really sweet fizzy drinks and fancy something a bit different, they are worth giving a go. Check out Dominion Soda on Twitter as well as the website to get your hands on some. As for my hands.. I am just going to Jazz hand and sing "Sassafras!" until the novelty wears off. Thanks Dominion Soda!