Last year, we talked about the awesomeness that was found in Kosher for Passover Coke. As it’s Passover this week, it’s time to try Kosher for Passover Caffeine Free Pepsi!
As we mentioned, traditional soft drinks sweetened with high fructose corn syrup (which pretty much includes every soda sold in the United States) are not Kosher for the Jewish Passover holiday. To meet the demand for soft drinks during this period of time, both Coke and Pepsi produce alternative blends of their flagship drinks to conform to Kosher standards.
What these means for everyone is that for just a few weeks each year, you get the opportunity to drink Coke and Pepsi the way it was intended, because the makers of these drinks switch out the HCFS and replace it with good old fashioned sugar. This is the way most soft drinks were made in the United States prior to the conversion to HCFS in the 1980s. Most non-U.S. beverages still stick to the classic sugar recipes, which makes them taste so much better.
Last week, Amy and I drove up to Skokie to once again return to Hungarian Kosher Foods, the Midwest’s largest Kosher supermarket. While all the Jewish folk were there picking up items for Passover, we headed to the back of the store to look for the soft drink offerings. This year they once again had Kosher Coke, but also Kosher Sprite and Kosher Caffeine Free Pepsi. So, awkwardly, we made our way to the checkout and got a few interesting looks from the folks waiting in line… but sometimes, that’s the price you have to pay for quality beverages!
So, let’s take a look at Kosher for Passover Caffeine Free Pepsi! It was only available in 2 liter bottles, unfortunately. Curiously, the packaging noted that it was actually bottled in New York. There wasn’t much else different in the look, other than a “KP” icon near the ingredient listing and some other Kosher icons on the bottle cap… oh, and of course the mention of “sugar”.
Like we did last year with our Kosher for Passover Coke review, I got a bottle of normal, high fructose corn syrup-containing Pepsi to compare with the Kosher version. (For the sake of this review, I’ll refer to them as “HCFS Pepsi” and “Kosher Pepsi” accordingly.) Probably to be the most accurate, I should have found a Caffeine Free bottle of HCFS Pepsi, but hey, the beverage review budget was a little slim this month.
Just as we discovered with Kosher for Passover Coke, when poured into glasses, you could easily see a difference between these two versions of Pepsi. Kosher Pepsi had small, compact bubbles… everything was more dense. In contrast, HFCS Pepsi had larger bubbles scattered throughout the top of the drink “film”.
As for the taste? Like you even have to ask. HCFS Pepsi had a noticeable “syrupy” taste to it, something I call a “during and aftertaste”. It’s probably not something you’d notice regularly because it’s all we have here in the States. But when you contrast this against Kosher Pepsi, which had a very clean and natural flavor of sweetness, it becomes very apparent.
It’s beverage times like this you’ll wish you were Jewish… but thankfully, you don’t have to be to enjoy Kosher Pepsi. It’s good stuff!