Whether you call it soda, pop, coke, simply a soft drink, or something else altogether, your mental encyclopedia of carbonated beverages most likely isn’t too diverse. You’ve got your Coke, Pepsi, Sprite, Mountain Dew, 7-Up, Fanta, root beer, orange and grape sodas, and sparkling water, and unless you’re a real soft drink aficionado, you probably don’t stray too far from this mass-market box. But there are dozens of crazy soft drinks and soda companies out there, and we’ve got the top 17.
Jones makes cane sugar sodas in creative flavors like birthday cake, bubblegum, and crushed melon, but sometimes they go a little too wild. 2013 brought a poutine-flavored soda, and they’ve been known to release holiday packs with flavors like turkey & gravy, wild herb stuffing, Brussels sprouts, cranberry, and pumpkin pie (for 2005 Thanksgiving). You never know what they’re going to think of next, but we wouldn’t put anything past them.
New York-based Dr. Brown’s has been around since 1869, and is a staple of Jewish delis up and down the Eastern Seaboard (their cream soda is the perfect complement to a corned beef sandwich). Their Cel-Ray soda, easily their most oddball creation, actually dates back to the year of their founding, and was first sold as a “celery tonic” (one of several that were on the market at the time). This throwback is flavored with celery seed and has a robust celery flavor, and it’s certainly an acquired (but surprisingly not unpleasant) taste.
California-based Rocket Fizz produces some completely bonkers sodas under a few silly brand names, including Lester’s Fixins. Varieties include bacon (plain, with chocolate, or with maple syrup), coffee, maple syrup, peanut butter and jelly, pumpkin pie, ranch dressing, sweet corn, and perhaps most curiously, Buffalo wing.
Bird’s nest (made from swiftlet nests and primarily composed of saliva) is a popular high-end delicacy in some parts of Asia, and it’s made its way into this Vietnamese soda. “White fungus” also came along for the ride, because why not.
Produced by California-based Real Soda, this beverage satisfies “that deep carnivore thirst,” and according to Specialty Sodas, it “has an obvious hickory-smoked pepper teriyaki beef jerky aroma,” and it “tastes of smoky beef, brown sugar, soy sauce, and pepper.” If you want to try it for yourself, you can buy a bottle online for the low, low price of $29.67.
New Britain, Connecticut-based Avery’s has been around since 1904, and became known for its high-quality cream soda, birch beer, root beer, and ginger ale. We’re not sure when they decided to branch out and introduce “Totally Gross Sodas” like “Fungal Fruit,” “Bug Barf,” “Dog Drool,” and “Monster Mucus,” but as you might imagine, these sodas (which are all fruit-flavored) were invented by kids, who were participating in their “make your own soda” program. Leave it to kids to turn a quaint soda bottling demonstration into a gross-out fest.
Chicago-based Cicero Beverage Company is an award winning craft soda manufacturer, with popular flavors including chocolate hazelnut, salted caramel root beer, and caramel apple. Their biggest head turner, though, is their candied bacon cream soda. We’ll be on the lookout for it the next time we’re in the Windy City.
RocketFizz saves their most off-the-wall offerings for their flagship line, however. Relatively sane-flavored creations include Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites Soda, Candy Cane Train, Jorge’s Horchata Soda, Rosa’s Arroz Con Leche, Havana Banana, and Scotty’s Butterscotch Soda. As for the weird ones? Those include Dirt Soda, Grass Soda, Peanut Butter Old Fashioned Soda, Pickle Juice Soda, and something called Stalinade.
California-based Indian Wells Brewing Company has a line of sodas branded as Gross Gus’s, and as the name might imply, they sound pretty gross, with names like Pirate Piss, Dragon Drool, and Pimple Pop. Thankfully, the flavors are anything but; Pirate Piss is banana-flavored, Dragon Drool is black licorice-flavored, and Pimple Pop tastes like marshmallow.