Guest reviewer and vintage soda enthusiast George Tsakiridis returns with another review.
Thirsty for a Virgil’s Black Cherry Cream Soda? Well, let’s find out, as we look at another glass-bottled soft drink available from Old 52 General Store.
Looking at the Virgil’s website you will see that Virgil’s is a subsidiary of Reed’s, who’s ginger ale we reviewed previously on BevReview. One look through the site and you will see that these guys are serious about their beverages. They describe the black cherry cream soda as thus: “Virgil’s Black Cherry Cream Soda is a classic cream soda recipe made naturally using the finest cherry flavor, vanilla beans and unrefined cane sugar. We searched the world for the perfect black cherry cream taste. We hope you will find this to be the best black cherry cream soda you have ever tasted.”
The bottle is pretty standard with paper labels. The artwork is solid, however, with a large bearded man serving children what we assume are non-alcoholic drinks. I notice the words “Micro Brewed” on the front, which is typically a good sign, I would think. The tagline on the back part of the label reads “Made Naturally, for the Black Cherry Cream Soda Connoisseur.” Between the label and the website, you can see it is not just an ordinary cherry cream soda.
The ingredient list reads as follows: “Purified carbonated water, unbleached cane sugar, caramelized unrefined cane sugar, vanilla extract, black cherry flavor, natural flavors.” It also states itself to be gluten free, which shouldn’t be a surprise, but in the world of food and drink, it is amazing how many things contain gluten. The bottle contains 160 calories and 42 grams of sugars.
Now we move to the main event – the look, leading to the taste! The color is that of a cough syrup red, very much like Faygo Rock & Rye. This shouldn’t be too surprising for a cherry cream soda. I am fairly excited to taste this given the natural ingredient list. I twist the cap, and oh yeah, that is an excellent cherry-cream scent wafting from the bottle. I taste it, and yes! It is reminiscent of some of the good natural pop I had when I was a child. The carbonation is definitely present, and feels like a smaller bubble pattern. The taste is not quite as sweet and dessert-like as Faygo Rock & Rye, but I think the cherry is easier to notice, especially in the aftertaste. I think it would go better with food than Faygo.
Overall, it is a fairly natural cherry-cream choice and seems to have some good possibilities for food pairings. Given that I recently reviewed a similar drink in the Faygo Rock & Rye, the comparisons are inevitable. Virgil’s I believe is the better alternative, with fewer calories and no chemicals that I can see. Faygo, however, seems sweeter and more of a “dessert” if you will, but Virgil’s would be better with a meal. In the end, if there can be only one (apologies to Highlander), I would go with Virgil’s.
Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of Old 52 General Store