R.W. Knudsen Sparkling Beverages

While not soda per se, the R.W. Knudsen sparkling juice line has fizzy drinks made largely from organic fruit and it’s non-alcoholic, so it’s getting a small review.

Company is from the 1960’s. Looks like it’s made in California. There are several flavors available in this line … we’ve tried the apple, blueberry, and pear. These drinks come in champagne-style bottles, and are a perfect alternative for celebrations involving young children or people with modified drinking requirements.

The ingredient list is simple … 100% juice and a touch of ascorbic acid. Size is 24 oz, and it’ll pack on about 360 calories if you down one without sharing. All three flavors were really sweet … not a lot of bite but you can definitely tell you’re not drinking plain juice. Best when chilled within an inch of freezing.

Apple flavor was pretty good. Blueberry was a bit fruitier. Pear SMELLED more like pear than it tasted like pear … would’ve been the favorite if it only had a bit more flavor to it.

If you’re in the mood for SOMETHING, but you’re not sure what you want (soda, juice, wine?), these R.W. Knudsen Sparkling juice beverages are perfect.


Neurosonic is a lightly carbonated drink that’s supposed to increase mental performance. You’d probably classify it more as a vitamin supplement than an energy drink or soda pop, and it’s got a few things going for it. Only 35 calories, no artificial colors or flavors (which doesn’t mean a whole lot these days, heck even poisons come from the earth), and a bottle that manages to be trendy and yet unintentionally retro at the same time.

Not a big fan of their logo, which looks more like something you’d find on the side of a CT scan machine.

It’s packed with vitamins. Odd ones, too. The typical B6 and B12 are here, but 50% of your Vitamin D is present also. Huh???

Adding to the weirdness is the inclusion of resveratrol, a compound found in red wines. Hmm, ok. Please note that there is no alcohol present in this drink.

Though maybe you’ll wish there WERE. I’m not sure if it did much or anything for my mental performance (got to be honest, probably not much can be done in my case) but it sure as heck didn’t do much for my taste buds. Blech.

I don’t remember how much I paid for it, but I’m guessing it was more than your typical soft drink. And again, it’s not so much a soft drink as it is a supplement.

Can’t really recommend it though. It’s got 9 grams of sugar, and that sure as heck ain’t enough to make THIS medicine go down.

Durango Zuberfizz Key Lime Cream Soda

Now we’re talking. Durango Soda Company has been around for about ten years now and they put out some great products. Like others in their line, this one is made with triple-filtered water and pure cane sugar. It’s also caffeine free.

It tastes great. The carbonation level is just right, there’s just enough cream soda elements and lime flavor to balance it out, and the bottle was gone before we knew it.

The only real con I can think of, and it’s not even a reflection on the product itself, is that a lime cream soda doesn’t always go well with what you’re eating and it’s not always something I’d be in the mood for. Most people don’t match soda w/food like they do with other beverages but to me it’s just better by itself, especially on a hot day.

Price is a little steep if you’re just looking to quench your thirst … but if you like cream soda or lime and want to treat yourself, pick some of these up. Again it’s caffeine free which may be a plus or minus but either way give one of them a shot sometime.

Nesbitt’s Orange Soda

Where to begin. This soda, made by Nesbitt’s of California (mostly bottled in my home state of Texas), has been an American institution since 1924. Hugh Nesbitt founded his juice company, which produced syrup for soda fountains. Years and other products lines rolled by, and nearly a century later, people are still enjoying Nebitt’s orange soda.

Mix it with some ice cream for a great summer treat. Even given to people who don’t care for orange soda, it survives the taste test. It’s pretty easy to find, so if you’ve never had the pleasure, pick one up. And hey, it was good enough for Marilyn Monroe.

“Nesbitt’s name on a soft drink is like sterling stamped on silver.”

Some trivia about Mr. Nesbitt: he died young … in a hotel brawl because he took a drink of another man’s liquor. So stick to soda, kids.



The History:

While many drinks gain market share through merit and word of mouth, Sprite’s rise to fame is more a story of aggressive marketing and pushiness on the part of its parent company, Coca-Cola. Debuting in the early 1960’s, Sprite was unveiled in the United States to compete against the mainstay lemon-lime drink, 7up.

As Coca-Cola refined its distribution system and gained influence, it used that influence to pressure bottlers to push Sprite rather than 7up. The plan worked beautifully, and in conjunction with very aggressive marketing campaigns that lasted throughout the late 1980’s and the 1990’s, Sprite secured its position as the lemon-lime drink of choice for many regions.

Taste Test:

We tried a Sprite the way the rest of America does – straight from a 20oz bottle.

What can we say? It’s Sprite and the taste is classic. It’s got the citrus taste and the carbonated kick that has come to be expected.

As it relates to other lemon-lime drinks, Sprite has a much crisper taste than other brands, namely 7up. It’s not quite as sweet as 7up. There is a little bit of an artificial taste which 7up doesn’t have.

The colder you can drink it, the better. Also, while we didn’t do it for this review, Sprite mixes really well with other flavors, adding some versatility to the drink that others don’t have.

We rate Sprite 4 out of 5 on our Flat to Fizzy scale!

Fun Stuff:

– Sprite is so ubiquitous that when people want a lemon-lime soda, they often ask for a “sprite” even if the establishment only carries a 7up or other variant.

– It’s interesting to note that many dentists and orthodontists recommend “Sprite” (meaning any lemon-lime soda) for people with certain kinds of braces and tooth implants because it doesn’t have the discoloration/staining potential for teeth that other drinks do.

– As with many other brand-name soft drinks, several variations exist, including Sprite Remix and Sprite Zero.

– Sprite is often given to people with an upset stomach, usually served warm or flat.

RC Cola

The History:

In 1905, a pharmacist named Claude Hatcher began crafting soft drinks in his basement lab below a grocery store. His first major breakthrough was Chero-Cola, followed by the “Royal Crown” line of beverages — then including ginger ale, strawberry, and root beer flavors.

By the end of the 30’s, the “Royal Crown” line had been rebranded as the Nehi family of drinks, and Chero-Cola was renamed to Royal Crown. Hatcher named his company Chero-Cola after his original cola, then later renamed to Nehi Corporation in light of the success of the Nehi brand. As if that wasn’t confusing enough, the company would later rename itself again to The Royal Crown Company following sagging Nehi sales and the growing popularity of Royal Crown cola in the 40’s and 50’s.

Royal Crown was thought of as “the working man’s” cola (particularly in the south, where it was commonly paired with a Moon Pie), enjoying widespread popularity through the 1950’s. Late in that decade, Chero-Cola introduced the world’s first diet cola, “Diet Rite”, which became the 4th most popular cola in America within two years of its debut.

In recent years, Royal Crown Cola’s popularity has waned in the face of growing international competition. The Royal Crown brand changed hads a number of times before ultimately finding a home with Cadbury Schweppes as part of the Dr. Pepper/Seven Up family. Despite such adversity, Royal Crown still soldiers on as RC Cola.

Taste Test:

We tried RC Cola from a 2-liter bottle, served over ice. The cola has a less pronounced aroma than Coca-Cola, with a slightly syrupy scent. Based on smell alone, we were braced for that cheap, cloying off-brand flavor, but were surprised by the light, almost crisp flavor of the cola. RC Cola offered more acidic “bite” than Coke, but without the sugar rush of Pepsi — in fact, the aftertaste was almost bitter. RC Cola is a bit too harsh to really enjoy on it’s own, but would probably go great with food; it’s less sweet and more mellow than most colas, and less likely to distract from other flavors.


The History of Pepsi

Pepsi started out as “Brad’s Drink,” made in a pharmacy in North Carolina in the late 1800’s (a few years after Coca-Cola). It contained pepsin, probably the source of the name. It was fairly successful, but almost went bankrupt during the first world war and the Great Depression.

One of the secrets of Pepsi’s success was going after markets that Coca-Cola ignored, particularly the African-Americans.

Coca-Cola had a few chances the buy it over the years and declined.


There are tons of variations. Our favorites include Wild Cherry Pepsi, Pepsi Green, Pepsi Natural, and the variation that uses yogurt (Pepsi White).

Taste Test

I’m sure a lot of people that visit are going to check to see if we gave Coke a higher rating than Pepsi … it’s the age-old question. Sorry to disappoint, but we rated them both highly.

We rate Pepsi 5 out of 5 on our Flat to Fizzy scale!


Fun Stuff:

Recently, Pepsi achieved internet fame and some amount of ridicule when a collection of “marketing documents” leaked onto the internet. The document, among other things, showed different versions of the “Pepsi smile” and was generally regarded as a waste of stockholder money and the epitome of marketing aloofness.

One of our favorite Pepsi slogans is the 1950’s one: “More Bounce to the Ounce!”

Dr. Pepper

The History:

Dr Pepper has been around for over a century, though it was quietly sold for a couple decades previous, it stormed onto the scene with a flair at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition in 1904. Born and bred in Waco, Texas by a German pharmacist, Dr Pepper was only sold in a small handful of small-town stores, most notably Morrison’s Old Corner Drug Store which was a historic locale in Waco.

The inventor, a man named Charles Alderton, named the drink after a neighbor that he had in Virginia named Dr. Charles Pepper. It’s rumored that Alderton was involved with Pepper’s daughter.

It’s hard to keep track of who owns the rights to Dr Pepper. After hitting on some financial troubles in the 1980’s, the company was briefly associated with Coca-Cola before merging with 7up. After countless legalities, Dr Pepper is again associated with Coca-Cola, and distribution is sometimes associated with PepsiCo.

Dr Pepper has had such an influence in the south that there’s actually a Dr Pepper museum still in Waco. The museum is quite large, and offers tons of merchandise and unique exhibits.

Ever been to the northeast part of the United States. Don’t even bother asking for a Dr Pepper up there – they’re unlikely to even know what it is. Dr Pepper even today has a somewhat limited distribution, though the eastern part of the United States and the south sells it in spades.

Taste Test:

23 flavors is a lot to cram into a can. It’s sweet and has a little bit of that burn that some sodas have. The smell tingles. It’s definitely unique.

Not as refreshing as other sodas. It’s a very distinctive taste, and one that’s been carefully formulated, but it won’t appeal to everybody. Either you like it or you don’t, and it’s probably a little bit of an aquired taste.

Honestly, growing up in Texas, I’ve always been a fan. Objectively though it just doesn’t quite have that mass-appeal taste that other quality sodas have.


History and Origin

Crush, quite appropriately, was invented in California. Around the time of the first World War, Clayton J. Powel invented a very refreshing orange soda (so yes, the original flavor of Crush WAS orange).

Dr. Pepper acquired it, and it’s one of the cash-cow brands of the Dr. Pepper company.


Orange, grape, and cream soda flavors can be found and bought everywhere. Other flavors are not so easy to find, though I’ve seen Crush Strawberry, Crush Lime, and Crush Pineapple randomly in the northern part of the US. Other varieties include a peach flavor, a chocolate flavor, a lemon flavor, cherry, apple, and even a birch beer flavor for our Canadian friends.

Crush (particularly Orange Crush) appears with other Dr. Pepper brands as jelly beans, frozen drinks, candy, freeze pops, t-shirts, and a variety of other products.


Crush (and other brands of Orange Soda) surged in popularity in the early 90’s when a character on the popular Nickelodeon show Kenan and Kel was obsessed with orange soda.

Coca Cola

The History of Coca-Cola

The drink was originally created by the Eagle Drug and Chemical Company in Georgia in the late 1800’s. It was originally sold as a kind of medicine that was supposed to cure all kinds of ailments (including impotence) and yes, it originally had trace amounts of cocaine in it.

The name comes from the Coca leaf (nowadays they take the cocaine OUT before they use it), and Kola nuts (which contain mega amounts of caffeine). The rest of the formula is literally in a vault in Atlanta, and the myth of only two executives knowing the formula at any given time is essentially true.

Coke started being canned in the 1950’s, and its popularity soared all over the country and eventually the world.


Where to begin? There are more than listed, but variations of Coca-Cola include Diet, Caffeine Free, Vanilla, Cherry, Coke Zero, etc.

The taste of Coke leads itself well to experimentation … for instance, when Vanilla Coke disappeared for awhile, many of us took to making our own. Try it with orange extract, grape juice, lemon, lime, even banana extract. Add other things to liven it up.

Taste Test

Like most of the world, we’ve tasted Coca-Cola in a variety of different ways. Obviously certain tastes grow on you, but for our taste test we were as objective as possible … and still rated it 5 out of 5. It’s a mainstay for a reason: coke just tastes GOOD.