Columbia Soda Works Sarsaparilla Soda HFCS recipe

wow, so that sidebar “sodas i need” thing really is working! a wonderfully friendly gal from Columbia Soda Works contacted me and offered to send a bottle my way for review, so terribly kind! of course i mainly forgot about it, partly since i just have no long term memory it seems and partly since people have promised to send stuff in the past and it only actually happens about half the time. so when this did come in the mail i was slightly confused until i checked my “root beer” email folder and refreshed my memory on the origin of this bottle.
wow, i think in the past i have had maybe 10-15 sodas with non-twist off caps but there have been at least five in the past month! wacky stuff. i suppose i could have added that as an attribute in my database but there is no real reason people would want to know that i don’t think, besides whether they will need to pack a bottle opener if they happen to bring the brew on a picnic or something. yet, i would think the target audience of most sodas is the under-18 demographic, most of which would not have a bottle opener on their person. yet perhaps microbrewed sodas appeal more to the older audience who just might, or else at least would enjoy this beverage in their home which has a well stocked kitchen including many bottle opening devices.
let me try this soda, ok?
whoa, holy licorice spider-pig! my gosh, that is so much of the flavor! mind you, this is not a bad thing, i like licorice, luckily for Columbia Soda Works. the licorice/anise taste seems to be one of the biggest distinguishing things between what makes something a root beer versus a sarsaparilla. no, this is not always the case at all, but more often than not, sarsaparillas have a licorice taste. besides that, the taste here is good, sweet yet with a little bit of a bitter bite to it, which may be the licorice again. it is hard to ignore that aspect of this drink.
i applaud this company for going all out with the licorice taste, it distinguishes this pop, yet i think it might be too much for some people. those people though are not reviewing it right now and i think it is pretty tasty! although it is not something i would crave all the time, much like candy licorice, it is something i think i would really want sometimes.
the carbonation and foaming levels are pretty low, which is ok by me although i do enjoy the look of a good head on my soda pop. not that that really affects the taste or anything anyway.
i do wish they would not use high fructose corn sweeteners but i do understand the financial pressure to do so.

Anthony’s Rating: 88
User’s Rating: 91
# of ratings:28

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Type: Sarsaparilla Comes In: 12oz glass bottle
Available: CA

Obtained in: mail from company
Head: Small Sweetener: high fructose corn syrup
Calories: 170 Sodium: 20mg
Carbs: 43g Sugar: 42g
Caffeine: No

Ingredients: carbonated water, high fructose corn sweetener, caramel color, natural and artificial flavors, citric acid and gum acacia

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  1. Ruben says:

    I just ordered a bottle of this soda, and they are now using cane sugar.

  2. a. graham says:

    Have been searching ….. searching…. for the sarsaparilla I remember as a kid in the 40s/50s.
    It was different than root beer, more “grownup” if you will, but not like the Moxie taste that my father drank. It was advertized, I believe, by some cowboy, maybe Hopalong Cassiday, Yes I know I’m dating mystelf. I got convineced to try the Maine Root brand, YUCK! that’s not the sarsaprilla I remember. I believe the distributor was some popular one at the time that sold other kinds of soda also, it was not considered something special. Know of anyone who remembers the sarsaprilla of that era and if someone distributor uses that same receipe?

    Thanks for you help


  3. is says:

    This is a kind of good sarsaparilla. Had it a while ago. Kind of syrupy sweet. I’ll have to try it again though in order to give it a fair review.

  4. I was impressed. My wife noticed the anise taste right away. I hate a strong liquorice taste, but for me it was so subtle, at first I thought it was wintergreen.

    Overall I liked it, I gave it an 85.

  5. is says:

    Just tried this one again. It’s actually pretty good!! A very good HFCS sarsaparilla. The bottle states “a taste as rich as the mother lode” – and are they right, because the flavor is very rick indeed. The flavor that really sticks out is the black licorice/good N Plenty flavor which I love! This is probably right under Jackson Hole, Empire, & Baron sarsaparillas – yet only by 1 or 2 points. Had Columbia been cane sugar, it might be better….. or not… who knows. This one would have to be a strong 87.

  6. Wow. After trying this one again, I must say that this is now my favorite sarsaparilla. This has dethroned barons boothill for me. The flavor is just soon good, especially since they now use cane sugar. The aftertaste is a delicious licorice flavor, and it does not have the gross bitter flavor that some sarsaparillas have. The flavor is very strong and rich, which is what I like…. and there is a little bit of a root beer flavor in it due to the smooth vanilla flavor that this soda has. I must up my score to a 92; because this soda is just that good.

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