Well, the Jewish holiday of Passover started on Sunday and lasts all week. If you were reading this blog last year then you know of the soda scavenger hunt that happens every year around this time by soda enthusiasts.
To recap, during the Jewish holiday of Passover, Coke and Pepsi will release kosher versions of their flagship products (Coke, Sprite, Pepsi, Diet Pepsi, Diet Coke). Part of the process includes having the soda manufacturing process approved and blessed by a rabbi. Another part of the process includes removing High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) from Coke, Pepsi and Sprite and using real sugar. In the late ’70s, Coke and Pepsi stopped using real sugar to sweeten their non-diet sodas and switched to HFCS because it was cheaper. For most soda enthusiasts, this changed the drink’s taste. Now, during Passover, for anyone going to look for it, you can find Coke, Pepsi and Sprite as they were made back in the ’70s with real cane or beet sugar (sucrose).
It’s fairly easy to find kosher Coke in my area. If they aren’t identified in a separate Kosher display, they are recognizable by their yellow caps with the Jewish Passover mark on top. Here’s what I found at my local supermarket in the Coke aisle (there was no separate Passover dispay):
You can see 4 bottles of Coke. They are all very similar. Actually, the water beads on the Coke labels are slightly different, but everything else is the same. The two bottles on the left are kosher Coke made with real sugar, identified by their bright yellow caps. The 2 bottles on the right are regular HFCS Coke, with the usual red caps. Check out the ingredients list from the yellow capped kosher Coke:
You can see it is sweetened with sucrose which is real sugar. With 2 liter bottles it’s really that easy to identify. With cans you have to search for the Passover mark on the fridgepack. I don’t think the ingredients list on the fridgepack will necessarily say it’s made with sucrose.
I’ve been doing this search for a few years now. The Coke is easy to find. I have yet to find Kosher Pepsi or Sprite. From what I’ve heard this year, Pepsi is using white caps with the passover mark on the top, but I’ve found nothing but the Pepsi Stuff blue caps on all the Pepsi 2 liters. I’ll have to look a little harder. Sprite should have a yellow cap just like Coke, but I have yet to find that one either.
When I bought kosher Coke last year, I also bought a 20oz of regular HFCS Coke to do a taste test. The difference in taste between the two is noticeable. Honestly, I have to say I prefer the HFCS Coke to kosher Coke, but that’s probably because I’m so used to the HFCS sweetener. I don’t normally drink non-diet sodas, but this is a fun little exercise to do each year…for me, at least.
While out searching for Kosher Coke and Pepsi, I did come across a new soda flavor that I think was just released on Monday. It’s called Sierra Mist Undercover Orange and it’s a promotional flavor for the movie Get Smart starring Steve Carell and Anne Hathaway. Check it out:
I also found the Sierra Mist Free Undercover Orange flavor. They are both pretty good. The orange flavor is very subtle. Almost as part of the aftertaste. Not bad. Not as good as Sierra Mist Cranberry Splash, but still good.
So it’s time to get on the stick, people! Get out there and get your kosher Coke and Pepsi before Passover is…well, over. And be on the lookout for Sierra Mist Undercover Orange, it’s worth a try!