To say that the drink selection at Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop in Rice Village is "overwhelming" is definitely an understatement. The store is like the Spec's for carbonated beverage aficionados, so be prepared to wander around in a partial daze as you take in the hundreds of different sodas. And if you're perplexed as to what to actually buy and try, you can't go wrong with these five appetizing varieties.
5. Boylan's Birch Beer Pennsylvania expats in Texas (like yours truly) especially appreciate the inclusion of birch beer in Rocket Fizz's beverage offerings. This refreshing soda, originally made with extracts of birch bark, has a truly unique wintergreen flavor. Naturally, it pairs well with hearty Pennsylvania Dutch fare, and also, strangely, Vietnamese food.
4. Melba's Fixins Strawberry & Cream Melba wasn't the first -- and probably won't be the last -- person to dream up the idea of drinking your pie. Her funky pie-inspired flavors include apple, key lime, and lemon meringue, but my favorite is the sweet summery strawberries and cream. It's great on ice on a warm day, or drop in a scoop of vanilla-bean ice cream for a wonderful float.
3. Jelly Belly Lemon Drop Soda Jelly Belly's line of gourmet sodas are intended to replicate the company's jelly bean flavors, though some varieties are more successful than others. I recommend the lemon drop soda above all others, for its sharp citrus flavor and bold carbonation. "It's, like, lemonade on crack," I once heard someone say, and if you can get over the sloppy simile, that's actually a pretty apt description.
2. Sioux City Sarsaparilla If you like root beer, you'll find sarsaparilla its more intense, slightly spicy cousin. With a flavor more medicinal than sweet, Sioux City's sarsaparilla is actually best consumed at room temperature and therefore actually works well as a "cold weather soda."
1. Cheerwine Denizens of North Carolina are practically raised drinking Cheerwine, which claims to be produced by the oldest single family-owned soda company in the United States (since 1917!). This uber-bubbly ruby red soda, which tastes of dark cherries at the peak of ripeness, may make you forget about Coke entirely.