Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A.J. Stephan's Raspberry Lime Rickey

The bottle doesn't really tilt like that,
it's just a poorly arranged photograph.

I think these two photos are actually about
the shelves of Lovecraft books behind me.
I didn't plan that, I swear it.

No hideous dye stuck to my face, no grimace of pain,
this stuff must be good.

Okay, this is easily the best smelling soda I've encountered yet. It smells like a Sweettart pooped raspberries in my nose, in a good way. Smells like a pixie stick. Smells like fruity lephrachaun spit. The actual soda is pretty good, much better than my last adventure with old A.J., not nearly as sweet as it smells but with a ticklishly nice aftertaste.

Sadly, I only had the Black Cherry and Raspberry Lime Rickey flavors, after this I'm out of A.J. Stephens.

Now I had high hopes for this stuff, as I am a cherry lime rickey fan to beat the band. One of my regular going-to-town NYC trips was to go to Sassy's Sliders, when it still just above St. Marks, then go a few doors north and get a cherry lime rickey at that 80s rock star restaurant. I can't remember the name. Was it the Bendix Diner? Those were good cherry lime rickies, the best I've ever had. Sometimes I would get cold borscht from the Dairy Bar, but the rickies were a constant. Sadly, the 80s rock star restaurant is long gone. Long, long gone.

A good cherry lime rickey is hard to manage. Well meaning friends would try to get me rickies at bars, but the bars would use grenadine and lime-juice-syrup, not regular lime syrup. It was like a well-intentioned poisoning. Other places in NYC offer cherry lime rickies, but none are that great. The peanut butter restaurant skimps on the syrup, and no other place gave me one memorable enough that I can even remember.

I've made them at home with Torani syrup, and they were okay. I can see why the peanut butter place skimps and the 80s rock star restaurant went out of business, it takes a lot of syrup to make a proper cherry lime rickey.

But, back to AJ Stephans attempt. It is, of course, not a rickey. A rickey is separated into two layers of syrup, an impracticable hope for a soda. At least in my book, a rickey is defined as a layered drink. Maybe these bottles began with the proper separation, with a layer of red and a layer of green and a big orange sticker on the crate saying "Do not jostle or slosh". But I doubt it.

His is also a little too carbonatey, but again, it's a soda and not a rickey. It's a rickey flavored soda, one might say. It's also not pretending to be a cherry lime ricky, but a raspberry lime rickey (though it tastes pretty dang cherry to me). A quick aside; in Australia whenever I'd ask for a cherry Coke in a bar or restaurant, they'd give offer a Coke with raspberry syrup. I normally am not a raspberry flavoring fan, but these were good.
You know, I've got to admit that I'm not sure on the actual definition of what a rickey is. I'm not sure if layers are required or not, but I've been keeping up a policy of dedicated ignorance in this blog and refuse to look it up.

The last bottle I drank had label problems, this one isn't squishing glue but it is poorly affixed. Honestly, a poorly affixed label doesn't upset me at all. In fact, it makes me feel pretty good as it means that this bottle is marginally less wasteful than one which used more glue. Glue is precious, as old horses aren't a renewable resource.

But wait! What's this? A mystery is afoot! The mailing address on this bottle is Box 5115, the other bottle was Box 666. Alas, the other bottle MUST have been something wicked. And this bottle doesn't boast "pure new england spring water". Uh oh. That first bottle must've actually been evil after all. I hope some holy water flavored soda is in this batch, or I'm a goner.

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