Adventures in (Non)Alcohol - Party like it's 1893

Adventures in (Non)Alcohol - Party like it's 1893

Which I suppose is appropriate, since 1893 was the founding year for 3 of the big Temperance movement organizations. Also, Grover Cleveland became President again! In any case, today's post is going to have very niche appeal, unless you really like my brother and my's form of dry wit, sans vocal inflections. Someone mentioned to me that it was a little limiting, in their mind, that the only things I've done real 'tastings' of were alcoholic, since they're not always in the mood for a drink. 

Motivated by this fact, I decided to organize a non-alcoholic taste testing, so I decided to include my young brother, who is underage, because if he isn't then I'm way too old to feel comfortable in my own body anymore. (Nathan is actually 24 now, so there went that sense of self-esteem.) In any case, I saw that 1893's were on sale, so I took one of each, and a thing of Pepsi, so we could have a tasting. So let's get to the pop!


But First, A brief introduction

Since this tasting will consist of multiple variations of a single product from a specific brand, let's quickly discuss what exactly it is we're drinking. Officially named "1893, from the makers of  PepsiCola", "1893" is intended to tap into the modern mixology trend, with the idea being making it sound fancy enough to add to cocktails, or refined enough you don't feel bad for drinking it solo. 

It's based off a recipe from the Pepsi founder he made in, you guessed it, 1893. So it's supposed to come across as hip and vintage, and of higher quality. Does it pan out? Let's go to the tasting logs!

Statement of Biases

Nathan: I prefer Coke for most purposes. Like, Pepsi is smoother, I feel, in the long haul, but most times I'm going in short bursts, and I prefer a bite.

Jon: I basically only drink citrus-based sodas. I can't honestly tell you that I remember what Pepsi tastes like. I think it's...sweeter than Coke?


TASTE ONE: Mexican Pepsi

Soon we'll have a 2,000 mile wall to keep your kind out. Well, more a fence than a wall. And 2,000 miles is a little much. Let's settle for 75 miles of fencing. 

We wanted to try a "base Pepsi" flavor, but I could not find a solo 20 oz easily, so when I ran into this, I said "close enough"

Nathan: (tastes it) It's Pepsi. I don't know what you expected out of this. Sure, it's a little sweeter than normal, but that's the whole "real sugar" thing.

Jon: It's better than I feared.

Nathan: "Feared"? Have you never had a Pepsi?

Jon: I literally just said "I don't remember." I thought it might be like, kind cloying, or syrupy.

Nathan: Even if that was true, you bought the Mexican one! 

(I pour more into my glass)

Nathan: No, stop drinking it. I'm gonna need this to wash out the weird crap later. 


TASTE TWO: 1893 Original

Please play ominous 2001 Monolith music. 
Ah, who am I kidding? Of course I know the name of that piece.
Play "Also Sprach Zarathustra" by Richard Strauss.

At this point, I feel I should tell you we conducted our tasting using margarita glasses, because we wanted to get the full bouquet and- nah, they were just the first clean glassware I found.

Jon: This looks a little lighter than the Mexican. (tastes it) Hmm. Tastes a little "darker", though.

Nathan: Tastes a little like Root-beer. I guess the "Original" -

Jon: Oh yeah, I never explained to you what the whole shtick of this is! Yeah, it's based off a recipe from the guy who made Pepsi, before he made Pepsi.

Nathan: I like it. I wouldn't mind if this was what Pepsi always was. 

(we take another couple sips) 

Nathan: It tastes like cola bottle-caps candy. 

Jon: Yeah, that kind of necco-wafer, penny candy sweetness

Nathan: I didn't say penny candy, I said Cola bottle-caps. 


At this juncture, one of those Progressive soap-opera commercials came on. I mention how I like them, and Nathan agrees. I point out they first caught my attention because Arielle Vendenberg is in them, and I learned about her from Vine. I attempt to start a conversation on the strange pathways of modern fandom, but Nate cuts me off by agreeing the commercials are good, but Vine is dead and I should let it stay dead. 

Maybe it was just in a coma?

TASTE THREE: 1893 Ginger

Damn, you can really see the reflection of my phone in that can. 

Nathan: Let's do Ginger next, because I hate my tastebuds.

Jon : (pours, inhales) Wooo boy, take a whiff of that. (pours Nate's and slides it to him.

Nathan smells, flinches. We both begin laughing.

Jon: Yeah, that's pungently ginger.

(we taste)

Nathan: It's like...someone mixed half a thing of sushi pickled ginger into a two-liter of Pepsi.

Jon: There's like a, cloying feeling just under my nose. Personally, I think it's okay. I like ginger and...ooh, this could be something to cook with.

Nathan: I could see that. It may be the only thing it's good with.


TASTE FOUR: 1893 Citrus

We had to move the can for the pic because it was too damn reflective.

Nathan: Okay, let's try this orange crap.

Nathan smells it. Smells it again. His face is confused. He takes a sip. His fingers tap on the table. Tap. Tap. Tap.

Nathan: Bizarre. 

Jon: See, it's not orange, it's grapefruit.

Nathan: GRAPEFRUIT. Yes. 

Jon: I actually think this one is good.

Nathan: I dunno, If I want this flavor, I'll buy Ruby Red. Or...Squirt? Is Squirt grapefruit? 

Jon: Yes. 


A thought occurs to me. Aren't most colas...caffeinated? Yes. I begin hunting down the numbers. 

Jon:  34 plus 38 plus-

Nathan: What are we counting?

Jon: -plus 38 plus 34. Okay, at least they're consistent.

Nathan: Is this the sugar?

Jon: No. It looks like these 5 bottles are about...178 mg of Caffeine. 

Nathan: mmmmmmmmmmmm. That's going to be a problem later.  (he notices my copy of the Dresden Files Cooperative Card Game, still upstairs since our last board-game day.) Hey, remember how you hadn't won this until I played? 

Jon: (beginning to pour the next drink) I do.

Nathan: I'm going to take credit for that win. I'm what made the difference. 


TASTE FIVE: 1893 Black Currant


Jon takes the can, pops the tab, and smells from the spout before pouring. 

Jon: This smells like the original again.

Nathan smells from his margarita glass, and his face tightens in confusion.

Nathan: You...sure about that?

Jon smells the glass, the scent has changed considerably. 

Jon: Oh, damn, there it is.

Nathan: Yeah, I was gonna ask "Are you stupid?"

We drink. 

Jon: Hmm. That's different.

Nathan: It tastes like someone left Cherry Coke-Well, Cherry Pepsi, I guess- outside for a while, to let it ferment just a little. 

Jon: This tastes like what I feared normal Pepsi would. 


We become distracted. A fat man on TV is leaving a sauna to go into near-freezing water. He gasps in reaction.

Nathan: Ah, man. I love going from a sauna to cold water! 

Jon: It is nice. 


Nathan: I don't know what a black currant is. 



Nathan: I'm gonna say...93 Original is numbah one supah fun time. Mexico's number two, then...currant, then citrus. 

Jon: So Ginger's last?

Nathan: Throw Ginger away.

Jon: See, I say Citrus, Mexico, Ginger, then original, and Currant last. But to each their own.

Overall, we agreed that the majority of them were fine. Maybe they didn't blow us away, but we wouldn't refuse them if offered.