Orange Soda Tasting


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.
6, 7

#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

#6 Orangina
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

#7 Juicology
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

#8 Capri-Sun
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

#10 San Peligrino
To start, there was a fresh flavour of orange juice and a medium-to-high level of fizz. Quite tangy and refreshing, this was somewhat reminiscent of orange juice and lemonade.
8, 7

#11 Abbondio 

Medium-high fizz, fresh orange fruit flavour and some creamy hints of vanilla. Rather nice, possibly a touch on the sweet side but it doesn’t really take away from the drink that much.
7, 5
#12 Luscombe St. Clements
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.
8, 8


#1 Orangina
#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.

Harvey Wallbanger
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.

Bronx Fizz
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 =


The Harvey Wallbanger

With the start of Summer next month, I thought it was time to start looking at some Classic Summer Coolers.

I have found more to the Harvey Wallbanger than originally meets the eye: trying to find the origin of the urban legend was a little tougher than I had imagined. There are a least half a dozen different stories about how the drink came about, involving bartenders, surfers, salesmen, sports editors and even a presidential candidate. However, all of the variations have one thing in common: how the drink got its name.                                                                                                               .

The story goes along these general lines: in California, a chap whose name was Harvey(sometimes referred to as a surfer who had just lost a competition) drank a copious amount of a mix of vodka, orange juice and Galliano, an Italian liqueur. When it came to the time when he left the bar/restaurant/party, he was a little worse for wear and proceeded to bump into the furniture (and walls!) before finally making it out of the door; hence Harvey the Wall-banger.


But where then does the recipe originate?
The cocktail-savvy amongst you may have noticed that the Harvey Wallbanger is essentially a Screwdriver (vodka & orange juice) with Galliano; and you’d be right. In fact, I think it is probable that the Harvey Wallbanger was originally known as the Italian Screwdriver. (Screwdriver + Italian Liqueur) The Italian Screwdriver was created to showcase the effectiveness of Galliano in cocktails for sales executives of the McKesson Import company, Galliano’s US distributor at the time. There is a good portion of evidence that the drink itself was created for the company by Donato D. “Duke” Antone in 1952*. The new name for the cocktail and an amusing back story to go behind it is thought to have been dreamt up when a salesman discussed with a bartender how to make the drink more popular.

What followed was of the most extensive drinks marketing campaigns of the day. A cartoon character, “Harvey”, was designed, a jolly fellow who always looked a bit worse for wear.Harvey’s drink became so popular that the sales of Galliano quadrupled and his influence extended to the sending of thousands of write-in votes to make Harvey Wallbanger a candidate in the 1972 U.S. Presidential Elections.

The writing of this article also neatly coincided with my discovery of a new type of Galliano, based on the original formula, and in the spirit of thorough research I decided to compare the two.

Galliano Vanilla (Purple Cap) – 30% ABV

Flavour is predominanetly vanilla and rather sweet. If you’ve had a Harvey Wallbanger in the last ten years, chances are it was made with this.

Galliano L’Authentico (White Cap) – 42.3% ABV

The new release with flavour with great depth, the vanilla is a lot less prominent, but there is an increase in a flavour of anis. Generally you can taste more herbs and spices and it’s more complex. A more traditional liqueur and a nice addition for fans of cocktails from or inspired by the Golden era.

So to the comparison: the purple cap Galliano produces the Harvey Wallbanger that I’m familiar with: heavy with vanilla, sweeter and quite nice, if you have a sweet tooth; the Authentico is still noticeable in the cocktail, but is distinctly more subtle: there is a little vanilla, which it is neatly backed up by the flavour of anis, which, for those of you with a tooth less sweet, may be welcomed as taking the edge off of the heavy vanilla of before.
In conclusion, my research into the Harvey Wallbanger had been met with many pleasant surprises, and I’ve certainly learnt many things, the main one being: never underestimate a cocktail.


Harvey Wallbanger Recipe from a 1970s Beermat

I did find some evidence of a slightly different recipe from the 1970s (after my original recipe) from a beermat. Here the main difference is the Galliano is added after the drink has been stirred. On trying this I found the flavour was less balanced and the majority of the Galliano come through in the last quarter as the Galliano sinks.

*This was recorded in Mr. Antone’s obituary.