Over the years, we’ve taken a close look at many of the Kosher for Passover products that provide great sugar-sweetened beverages for a limited time. Most notably, we’ve had nothing but great things to say about Kosher Coke and Kosher Caffeine Free Pepsi. Last weekend I came upon a 6-pack of Kosher Pepsi styled with the new Pepsi logo, so I thought it would be a good chance to take a closer look.
I don’t have to really go into the taste of this beverage. Read our Kosher of Passover Caffeine Free Pepsi review and you’ll get the idea… just with some caffeine thrown in! And yes, the bubbles in this Kosher drink are just like the others we’ve reviewed… small & compact, which is a great sign of flavor!
As I do every year, I found my stash of Kosher Pepsi at Hungarian Kosher Foods in Skokie, IL, a northern suburb of Chicago. They claim to have the Midwest’s largest selection of Kosher foods! While at was at the store, it was interesting to see the letter in the soda section explaining why these Kosher drinks were required. Here’s part of the explanation:
It is the policy of the Chicago Rabbinical Council not to grant Passover endorsement to any firm making products containing “kitniyos” (legumes) or derivatives of kitniyos such as corn syrup.
This is the policy of virtually all Kashruth organizations today and is based on the long-standing tradition that Ashkenazic Jews (Jews of Eastern European origin) do not use legumes on Passover.
So, for those new to the world of Kosher soft drinks, during the time of Passover (which I explain in more detail in our Kosher Coke review), Jews cannot have beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup. Thus, the both Coke and Pepsi do limited runs of their drinks using real sugar (most likely cane, but it doesn’t actually say on the ingredients).
Thus, as a beverage enthusiast, this is the time to snap up some of these drinks, since it’s one of the few times during the year where you can taste these soft drinks as they should be enjoyed!
These cans of Kosher Pepsi I picked up featured the controversial new Pepsi logo, which, I admit, looks pretty good on a can. However, if you look closely at the labels, you will note some differences.
The most obvious was the phrase “New York” found on the top brim of these cans. Pretty hard to miss. This batch of Kosher Pepsi was bottled by the Pepsi-Cola Bottling Company of New York… just like Kosher Caffeine Free Pepsi. In fact, I believe most of the Kosher inventories for the big carbonated soft drink producers come out of New York at this time of year, given the substantial Jewish population there.
So, as we we start upon Passover this week, see if you can track down some Kosher Pepsi and enjoy what this soft drink is like without all the syrupy yuckiness found in the common HFCS version. Once you try it the first time, you won’t believe you put up with the inferior version for so long!