With all of the buzz surrounding high-fructose corn syrup, and that it’s just not good for you, many of us are left wondering where to get a caffeine kick. Fortunately, there are enough savvy beverage companies to fuel our needs.
Natural sodas are a growing category in the specialty-beverage business. Here are five that are pretty much guilt-free – so that you can get the bubbles and the jolt, but without all the corn syrup and processed sugars.
- Zevia All Natural Soda “Mountain Zevia” (zevia.com)
Mountain Zevia doesn’t carry as much sugar on the palate as Mountain Dew does, which is a good thing. Instead, this no-sugar, zero-calorie soda is a pleasantly fizzy lemon-lime-tasting flavor. Inside each 12-ounce can is stevia, a 100-percent natural ingredient as it’s a botanical sweetener
derived from the stevia plant.
- Whole Foods Market Green Apple Italian Soda (wholefoodsmarket.com)
There’s a youthful crispness to this soda. Its juicy green-apple notes, due to 12 percent juice, slip into a clean finish. Although sold under Whole Foods Market’s label, it’s bottled in Rimini, Italy, by La Galvanina. Twelve percent juice is in each 25.4-ounce bottle.
- Boylan Bottling Co. Crème Vanilla (boylanbottling.com)
Sweetened with natural cane sugar, this isn’t a soda for someone without a sweet tooth. Each 12-ounce glass bottle – with a stylish, retro logo – is a reminder of what classic sodas flavors like Vanilla Cream used to taste like. Since Boylan has been making soda since 1891, although the Crème Vanilla flavor debuted only in 2004, nailing that vintage appeal makes a whole lot of sense.
- 365 Cola (wholefoodsmarket.com)
Sweetened with 100-percent cane sugar, this won’t rival Coca Cola but it will turn you away from all of those off-brand cola products. Filtered, carbonated water — combined with the cane sugar and natural cola-nut flavor — creates a smooth, full-bodied fizzy drink in each 12-ounce can.
- Cas Cal Fermented Natural Soda (cheerscascal.com)
A blend with “notes of black currant and Mirabelle” (per the label) sounds exotic but this 11.15-ounce drink is also super fizzy, with a head of foam. Underneath is a soda tasting like black cherries and resembling a glass of Rosé wine. A fermentation method (hand-crafted at a microbrewery) isn’t typically par for the course with sodas, yet with Cas Cal it’s a signature touch.