Lots o’ Soda: Lime Crush
The problem with so many citrus sodas, says the guy who is all of the sudden Mr. Big Expert on carbonated drinks, is that they interpret the citrus taste as sweet rather than tart. This is the case with basically all lemon-lime sodas, which favor ‘crisp’ (sugary) and ‘clean’ (flavorless) instead of the tangy quality that makes lemons and limes so valuable in alcoholic beverages. Crush, which is to white people what Fanta is to Hispanics, is certainly guilty of that; its orange flavor, compared to leading competitor Sunkist, is numbingly sweet and contains almost none of the spicy undertones that an orange drink needs to have. Even Crush’s lesser-known flavors, like pineapple and strawberry, are just pure corn syrup drip feeds with the loosest possibly interpretations of their fruit flavors. That’s why I was a pleasantly surprised at the taste of lime Crush, which cuts the sweetness and boosts the lime flavoring — or, in practical food-chemistry terms, goes easy on the corn syrup and hypes the citric acid — to provide an interpretation of ‘citrus’ that uncharacteristically emphasizes tartness. It’s not that the stuff is sour; it’s designed for the sweetness-addicted American palate, after all, and isn’t going to shift many units by forgoing a sugary rush. But it’s an unexpected thrill to run into a lime-flavored drink that avoids the hyper-sugary extremes that are normally found in orange sodas, Mountain Dew derivatives, and the crystallized abomination that is Green River. Like a lot of the more marginal Crush flavors, it doesn’t turn up often, so snag it when you see it; at the very least, it’s an improvement on their grape soda, which is horrendous even by comparison to the usual festival of artificiality that comprises a typical grape soda. Its color, too, is an appealing shade of, well, lime, abjuring the inexplicable clearness of lemon-lime sodas, the radioactive Kelly green of Green River, and the re-agent-looking glow of Mountain Dew.