We Taste Test a Jones Soda Thanksgiving Holiday Pack From Seven Years Ago
Here at Geekosystem, a few of us have been fascinated with the often times eccentric Jones Soda for quite a while. Along with the normal staples of root beer, cream soda, and fufu berry (which, if we’re counting that as normal, one can probably discern just how weird Jones is), Jones has delved into flavor madness and released some truly unique sodas in their time. From the delicious berry lemonade, to the surprisingly good green apple, to the love-it-or-hate-it blue bubblegum, Jones doesn’t just stick with normal cola and lemon-lime flavors. Over the years, they’ve released extremely odd experimental flavors, usually in the form of limited edition holiday packs. One of the most notorious packs is the 2005 Thanksgiving Holiday Pack, which contains five sodas flavored to match a full course Thanksgiving dinner. We managed to snag a sealed package, and despite being around seven years old, we braved the Brussels sprout, wild herb stuffing, and turkey and gravy sodas just for you. Impressions below.
First off, it’s probably worth noting that the pack not only came with a recommended wine list to pair with the “meals,” but a spork stuffed into the side. You know, because it’s “food.”
Brussels Sprout Soda
James: It smells awful. I literally gagged upon the first sniff. A discussion took place as to whether or not it actually went bad, considering it smells so badly and is around seven years old. The Internet assured us that the sodas would be good, however, so we chalked the smell up to being Brussels sprout soda. It tastes worse than it smells, it’s indescribable for me, and easily the worst thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. It does not taste like Brussels sprouts, which are pretty awful to begin with.
Max: It smells like there is something wrong. There is a small patch of suspicious white stuff at the bottom of the bottle. It tastes like flat saccharine, like a dying breath stored in a box in a hot place for six months. It is easily one of the worst, most foul and stale things to ever go in my mouth.
Wild Herb Stuffing
James: It actually smells doughy; not bad at all. Upon initial tasting, it didn’t taste like anything. After a few seconds, however, the taste quickly becomes overpowering. It does actually end up tasting like stuffing, but only after you finish gagging, and unfortunately not the delicious kind of stuffing.
Max: Smells slightly better, a hint of cream soda. Tastes like foul salt water. Maybe a bit sweet, I don’t know, I couldn’t keep it in my mouth for very long.
Slow Roasted Turkey and Gravy
James: The smell, like the stuffing soda, isn’t that bad. It smells like a box of chalk. It tastes chalky as well, and I didn’t immediately have to spit it into the sink like I did with the Brussels sprout soda. It tastes a little bit like root beer, and a little bit like gravy. Image if Necco Wafers made a standard gravy flavor.
Max: The stuffy taste of old saccharine is unavoidable. However, this one had a slight herbal tang to it, reminiscent of root beer. This was the last big hurdle, and I am really looking forward to the next two. Also, a swift death.
James: Somehow, the soda was still somewhat carbonated, even after seven years and the previous three sodas were completely flat. It also smells and tastes pretty similar to any regular cranberry soda, although it tastes like it’d be the diet version. Kind of missing that non-diet punch. I could probably drink this as if it were a normal drink. It wouldn’t be as good as something designed to be good, though, considering this is designed to be a novelty.
Max: Astonishingly, this one is still carbonated. I really can’t believe it. Also, there’s no suspicious white stuff at the bottom of the bottle — a blessing? The stale aspartame smell is still there, but it tastes liked diet cranberry soda. Out of all of them, this one is probably the most drinkable.
Pumpkin Pie Soda
James: It smells very strongly, almost too strongly to discern at the start. It has an after-smell of cinnamon, and surprisingly, faint pumpkin pie. It’s actually still a bit carbonated. Funny how the flavors that aren’t horrifying are the only carbonated ones after all this time. This one tastes chalky as well, but definitely gives off the sense of generic spices and faint pumpkin pie. I don’t know if I could drink a whole bottle like I could the Cranberry, but I wouldn’t be afraid to try.
Max: An extremely strong spice and butter smell, and a taste to match. Also, weirdly, still carbonated. There isn’t any trace of pumpkin — the sands of time have worn it away — and all that remains is a strong flavor of pie crust and spice.
James: I’ve always, always wanted to try the crazier Jones flavors, and this specific 2005 Thanksgiving pack has always been at the top of my list. The later Thanksgiving packs don’t include flavors nearly as horrifying, replacing Brussels sprout with pea, pumpkin pie with antacid, cranberry with dinner roll, and wild herb stuffing with sweet potatoes. Okay, maybe the later packs are equally terrifying, but for me, Brussels sprout reigns supreme. Though this experience involved a lot of spitting into a sink and gagging, I feel like I’m better for it, and have finally satisfied a longstanding desire of mine. However, I wouldn’t try these flavors ever again without a significant amount of coaxing. Jones is still pretty much the best, though, and I’d absolutely try any and all weird flavors of theirs that have yet to pass these lips.
Max: I’m really glad that we did this in small samples. My initial plan of drinking the entire bottle seems like an extremely bad one now. Despite the tiny snifters we allowed ourselves, I still fear for the sanctity of my bowels. May heaven forgive me.
Bottles of Jones come with a funky label and saying on the inside of the cap. We felt some of the sayings on the caps paired well with the horrifying flavors of the sodas and wanted to share them with you.
Brussels Sprout: “See a sunrise.” You know, because you might actually never see one again if you drink a whole bottle.
Wild Herb Stuffing: “You and your partner will be happy in your life together.” Something to focus on while trying to ignore the odd flavorings.
Turkey and Gravy: “All your hard work will soon pay off.” Makes sense, because this was the last horrifying one, and the next two were at least flavored after things that could make a good beverage.
Cranberry: “A pleasant surprise is in store for you.” Because it wasn’t horrible!
Pumpkin Pie: “Your silence at this time is important.” Since you just drank a full Thanksgiving meal and you probably never want to speak of it again.