Review: Jones Soda Christmas Ham Soda (2007)


There’s a new Turkey & Gravy on the block, and its name is Christmas Ham.

Jones Soda Christmas Ham Soda (2007)

Jones Soda Christmas Ham Soda

Back in September I got a call from my friend Nicko, who runs our affiliated mothership website, ChefTalk.com. He told me that during lunch at a restaurant, he ran into a couple of Jones Soda representatives. Striking up a conversation with them, they mentioned how Turkey & Gravy Soda would not be returning this holiday season. Rather, Jones was doing Jewish flavors instead.

Jewish flavors? Nicko and I pondered this for a while and wondered if these guys were just pulling our legs. However, it was true. When the 2007 Jones Soda Holiday collection was announced, gone was Turkey & Gravy… RIP (2003-2006).

We’ve had a lot of good memories with Turkey & Gravy Soda. No other drink is so reviled as being vile. But in the beverage wars, there’s always something new. Thus the introduction this year of Jones Soda Christmas Ham Soda. Sure, it looked all innocent being bundled in the Christmas Pack with other seasonal flavors, but we knew what was up. This was the gross drink of the season.

Jones Soda Christmas Ham Soda (2007)

Lighted shoes?

All you had to do was look at the pinkish brown hue the colored this soft drink to know that it wasn’t going to be good. Then, just like Turkey & Gravy, you check the sodium count. 250mg? Yup, this is the one. Ham has a lot of salt in it, right?

Sure, Jones tried to distract us with the photo of the front, Photo #9044 by Michelle Laurente of Whidbey Island, WA. I’m not sure why we have Christmas lights combined with what looks like shoes in the photo, but hey, maybe that’s just something they do on Whidbey Island or something.

Upon opening the bottle, a bubbly “saltiness” fills your nose. It doesn’t really smell like ham. It smells like all the other gross flavors we’ve had over the years from Jones. Then you drink it. The consistency is rather watered down, actually. Initial flavor isn’t too bad, but then that 2nd wave kicks in, and puts your whole head into a shaking “what the heck was that?” expression as you shudder to get the taste down your throat. A burning aftertaste also lingers. It doesn’t taste like ham, the saltiness is there, but I’m not really sure what the heck this drink is supposed to be. It’s just not good.

But hey, it’s only 35 calories and 8g of sugar, so that’s a plus, right?

Christmas Ham Soda is made possible with carbonated water, inverted cane sugar, natural and artificial flavors, salt, glucono delta lactone (acidulant), sodium benzoate (as preservative), caramel color, modified food starch,
potassium sorbate (as preservative), ester gum, and Red 40.

In the end, I don’t think that Christmas Ham tops Turkey & Gravy as the worst Jones Holiday flavor ever. It does a nice job coming close, but without an actual flavor or somewhat authentic smell, it’s just horrid-tasting sugar water. That’s not really a recommendation, just an observation. It’s still yucky!