Joined: Jun 20, 2005
From: Portland, Oregon
|Posted: 2006-12-06 1:10 pm  Permalink|
During my latest stay in Los Angeles, I recalled an episode of Modern Marvels about soda (What? Soda? A modern marvel?? Anyway..) Modern Marvels visited a soda specialty store, Galco's Soda Pop Stop in Glendale, CA to be more precise. http://sodapopstop.com/ I'm pretty sure it's been mentioned on TC in Tiki Drinks and Food.
So my housemate and I ventured out there to see what kinds crazy crap we could find. We were not disappointed. It's set up like a regular mini-grocery, but instead of food on the shelves, the place is stocked with soda pops from all around the world.
Over the next month I sampled Egg Creams (chocolate, vanilla, orange), birch beer, root beer, sage beer, sasparilla, banana, mint, grape, rhubarb, rose, coffee, almond, and lavender flavored sodas only to find that they really didn't do much to float my boat. In the end it's all just sugar water. There were exceptions:
NuGrape soda was the best grape soda I've ever had.
Frosty is my new favorite root beer.
Jeff's New York Chocolate egg creme soda is better than YooHoo. It's CARBONATED!!!
The greatest discovery (and purpose of this post) was the phenomenon of "Malta" sodas. Hailing from the Carribean, S America, Africa, and Europe, malta sodas are made not with cane sugar or corn syrup, but malt sugar. Pure, thick, malt sugar. Malta sodas were the only sodas from Galco's that really had anything truly revolutionary to offer the taste buds.
Before continuing I should mention that of all the folks I've pushed this stuff on, only my father could drink a whole bottle. I love the stuff, of course.
It is a strong drink. Most of the sodas I tasted smelled great, but the flavor on the tongue was never -y enough. You know, grape-y, banana-y. Malta has a mild smell, but the taste packs a real whallop.
You know when you're eating malted milk balls and you get a soft and mushy one? That's malta.
Have you ever brewed beer? Did you taste the beer before fermentation? That's malta. Literally. Especially dark beers.
It pours out like a Guinness (there's even a Malta Guinness, haven't tried). You know, reeeally dark, with a cascade of little bubbles at the top.
Malta is dark. Really dark. So dark that you can't tell from across the room if it has ice cubes in it (it's best with lots of ice).
A malta float works wonderfully, too.
In South America, they sometimes drink it with condensed or evaporated milk added. This is outrageously delicious. And a million calories.
The only malta I didn't like was VitaMalt. I think it was from Denmark. In Europe, I think they're trying to market malta as a health drink, so they add extra vitamins. VitaMalt sucks.
Hatuey was my favorite. Also, the first one I tried. Also, the main reason I went back to Galco's three more times.
Also good were Pony Malta, Malta India, and Malta Goya. All from South or Central America.
After extensive searching, I finally found a place that sells Malta in Vanouver, WA. Moxies. All they have is Goya, but they are expanding very soon and hope to have more. Once every other week I go in and buy a sixer, sometimes exhausting their supply. I am hooked.
Having said all this, please remember that my wife, sister, mother, and all my friends thought it was awful. Even folks who "love" malted milk or milkshakes. They can't even see the similarities.
More for me.
MUGS MUGS MUGS!!! Now on Etsy!