Soda + Spirit
For this month’s 1870 Magazine, we thought we would let local miscreant drummer, Lex Vegas of “Cadaver Dogs”, drink himself stupid by pairing high-octane liquor with artisan sodas from Rocket Fizz.Enjoy.
Forecast For Tonight: Alcohol, Low Standards, and Poor Decisions’ read the old tin sign hanging crookedly above the door. Count me in.
For my first 1870 article, I was told to get drunk. My assignment: hit Rocket Fizz Candy & Soda Shop, choose a selection of sodas from their quirky collection to pair with assorted liquors, and see how things fared. I wanted to keep things simple: get a variety of liquor types, no extra ingredients, and aim for quality, not outright absurdity. Seemed foolproof.
The moment I entered Rocket Fizz it became obvious that this would not be so easy. In addition to dozens of the aforementioned tin signs and thousands of candy options, there are nearly 600 types exotic carbonated libations to pick from. Classics like root beer (75 varieties!), cream soda, and ginger ale reside in the back while the front of the store is occupied by a seemingly infinite cornucopia of fruity flavors, including guava, passion fruit, pomegranate, celery, cookie dough, sweet corn, buffalo wing, dirt—wait, wait…
There were flavors I could barely comprehend. What in the name of Fanta would a beverage called ‘San Francisco Fog’ taste like? Immediately ruled out anything strongly offensive (ranch dressing soda is a thing,) picked up an empty six-pack carrier and prepared for launch. Sodas and liquor purchased, it was time to feast.
Liquor: Bourbon, Tin Cup bourbon
Soda: MacFuddy’s Pepper Elixir
I went with whiskey first, a bottle of Tin Cup brand bourbon-style, which the company prides on its “bold and spicy finish.” I was pairing it with ‘MacFuddy’s Pepper Elixir,’ so it seemed like they might bring out the best in each other. The soda’s label claimed that it was “infused with luck,” and I was guaranteed “24 hours of favorable outcomes.” I thought the other cocktails might appreciate some fairy dust in their favor so I dropped a couple ice cubes and poured.
The soda had less bite than a Dr. Pepper, but with a strong cherry flavor. A little bland, but I reasoned that the good luck doesn’t start until the drink is finished. I slurped it quickly so I could dive deeper.
Verdict: Been There
Liquor: Vodka, New Amsterdam
Soda: Rocket Fizz Green Apple Jalapeño
For my next drink I chose New Amsterdam unflavored vodka with Rocket Fizz’s own brand of ‘Green Apple Jalapeño’ soda. The fizzy concoction glowed a vibrant nuclear green and I wondered if it would just burn through my esophagus and spill down the front of my t-shirt like an acidic waterfall. It didn’t.
Not typically a sour apple fan, I was unsure how the flavor would sit within the balance of the jalapeño and vodka, but this was actually quite a smash. The soda on its own was a little less spicy than I was hoping, but the apple flavor was sweet and it very effectively masked the taste of the vodka. It seemed ol’ MacFuddy’s luck was finally starting to kick in.
Verdict: Odd Burps
Liquor: Tequila, Jose Cuervo
Soda: Sioux City Prickly Pear
For my third offering, tequila was calling my name, so I mixed Jose Cuervo Tradicional Silver with a cold bottle of Sioux City Prickly Pear soda. The beverage is a bold fuchsia color, like the tail feathers of an exotic bird of paradise. I knew it was a home run before I took a sip, and Holy Squirt was I right. The pear is tart and bright and mixes fantastically with the tequila.
Verdict: More Please
Liquor: Gin, Seagram’s
Soda: Rocket Fizz Cucumber Soda
Next up was Seagram’s Gin mixed with Rocket Fizz’s Cucumber Soda, which is an exquisite mint color. The cucumber flavor was a bit artificial for my taste, but paired with the gin it made a uniquely pleasant beverage, in spite of my aversion to the spirit. Normally, I scoff at anyone who offers me gin, but this might be the way to wedge it into my rotation.
Verdict: Very Sneaky
Liquor: Rum, Bacardi
Soda: Melba’s Fixins Apple Pie Soda
At last, I reached the final destination on this drunken journey, Bacardi Rum with Melba’s Fixins Apple Pie Soda. I was pleasantly surprised with the authenticity of the apple pie flavor in the soda—very crisp and not overly sweet. This was a proper final course to my experiment.
Verdict: Just Desserts
The combinations are seemingly infinite at Rocket Fizz, and any reader could recreate this challenge with an entirely different outcome. At Rocket Fizz there is truly something for everyone, including extraterrestrials and people from the future. Also, a bazillion types of candy, but that’s for another article.
Tune in next month when I do this again with just Faygo and hit The Gathering of the Juggalos. Until then, may MacFuddy’s blessings be with you. •