Orange Soda, probably the third most popular category of soft drink after cola and those in the lemonade family, is a well-established category and has some big names attached to it. Three big brands that started off making Orange Soda, Tango, Fanta and Orangina, have now gone on to create a plethora of new flavours and spin-offs. Orange Sodas are typically quite sweet, although Schweppes once made a bitter orange to accompany their bitter lemon.
#1 Orange Tango [ASP, SAC*]
This had a medium fizz with very small bottles. It tasted of orange, with some hints of vanilla and a slight mineral quality. It wasn’t especially clean and got a bit sweet and cloying after a while, but over ice it’s pretty refreshing. Mrs. B said it reminded her of a cross between orange squash and orange sherbet; she quite liked it.
#2 Fanta [ASP, SOD SAC*]
A slightly more neon yellow in colour, this also had medium fizz, but the taste of orange was less distinct and less fresh. Rather sweet, it had an unpleasant habit of clinging to your teeth, which is never a good sign. It says “made with real fruit”, but I never would have guessed.
It reminded Mrs. B of orange Calpol and she found it quite cloying and slick.
4 , 4
#3 Fentiman’s Mandarin and Seville Orange Jigger
A rather appetising colour, being somewhat reminiscent of freshly squeezed juice. There was a slight maltiness on the nose, as well as in the initial taste. This moved onto a deep, slightly bitter orange flavour, which then moved onto a fresher, fruity finish. After the taste of orange came some fieriness that lasted quite a long time.
This is a different type of soft drink and one for folks who find the usual thoroughfare of fizzy pop too sweet.
8 , 1
#4 Belvoir Organic Orange and Manadrain Pressé
A dark yellow-orange and cloudy drink, this had minimal fizz, but was still quite refreshing. It was a smooth drink with a full, tangy orange flavour and some light, fruity notes and hints of vanilla. The sweetness seemed quite balanced, but, by the time I finished the glass, it had become a bit thick and sickly for my liking.
6 , 6
#5 Sunkist [ACE, SOD SAC*]
With a medium-to-high fizz, this was a tangy orange offering with a little hint of vanilla afterward. It was quite fresh and rather pleasant, but a touch cloying at the end; overall, still pretty good. In contrast, Mrs. B hated it, saying it was too fizzy – here we disagree.
7 , 3
Initially, there were fresh and juicy flavours of orange. A medium-to-low level of fizz gave it a light effervescence that dominates the drink, but also gave it a refreshing spritz. Not too sweet and with a really orange tang on the finish, we both thought this was excellent.
9 , 8
This was the first of our still mixers. The nose was fruity, with a touch of spice and a hint of violet/rose (or turkish delight) at the end. This was a very smooth product and was very well-balanced; we could tell that some effort has gone into making this. The main flavour was a tangy orange, followed by a light warmth from the ginger and nutty cardamon on the finish. Lovely and succulent.
8 , 6
Cool, fruity and refreshing, but there was a slight chalky squeakiness in the texture towards the end. The orange flavour is very similar to that of orange sweets, in particular fruit pastilles.
Mrs. B liked it found it very refreshing; she found it to have a soft sweetness and an aftertaste of marshmallows.
5 , 5
#9 Still Fanta
Very sweet and rather syrupy, the tangy orange was there, but more subdued than in most others. As an orange soda, this wasn’t great, but for nostalgia reasons I still really like it.
6 , 5
This use Sicilian Oranges and Raw Cane Sugar. Medium fizz with a slight orange sourness, not too sweet and quite fresh a hint of the bitterness you get from Bitter Lemon and int he UK this is the closest I have found to what I think Bitter Orange would taste like. As such it very refreshing a good thirst quencher.
#2 Luscombe St. Clements
#3 San Pelligrino
I’m quite a fan of bitter lemon and as I could not, sadly, get hold of any Schweppes Bitter Orange, in the spirit of innovation, I decided to make my own.
On with the recipe:
Juice & zest of 3 large oranges
Pith of 1 orange
1/2 tsp of Chili Powder
1 tsp Cinchona Bark
4 tsp Citric Acid
300ml Granulated Sugar
100ml of Water
Quite pleasant, with fruity orange flavours and a dry, bitter finish. Cooling and very, very refreshing. I still prefer bitter lemon, but this is a close runner-up.
1st Step Cocktail
The bourbon and bitters gave it a feel of an Old Fashioned and the Orangina gave it the same aftertaste that the orange twist gives to an Old Fashioned. Complex and refreshing, I think only by using a good qaulity orange soda like Orangina could you pull this off. This is an Old Fashioned for beginners.
I used one of the still drinks, Juiceology Manadarin, Cardamom and Ginger, for this drink. It was very clean, with some vanilla and herbal notes, fresh orange and a hint of spice and fire from the juice. There was quite a lot of flavour and I’d advise using quite a clean, crisp vodka to stop too much flavour interfering with the other flavours of the drink.
Packed with flavour: the herbal complexity of the vermouth, the dryness of the gin and one of the vermouths, and the sweetness of the Orangina and the other vermouth, all tied together by the Angostura Bitters. It also had a tangy orange finish. Quite refreshing, I thought it would make a pleasant aperitif.
*ASP = Aspartame, SOD SAC = Sodium Saccharin, SAC = Saccharin, ACE =