One of the hot trends that became very obvious as I ate my way through the New York Fancy Food Show was the range of choices in the adult cold beverage category. Companies are trying to lure adults away from soft drinks in various ways including promises of health benefits, flavors that are less sweet, or drinks that are simply fun. Here is the rundown of the drinks I sampled and enjoyed at the show.
Grown Up Soda - GUS markets itself as a new soda for grownups. The drinks have no artificial sweeteners, preservatives or caffeine; are carbonated, kosher and are made with real fruit juices and extracts. GUS's refreshing flavors are Star Ruby Grapefruit, Dry Valencia Orange, Extra Dry Ginger Ale, and Dry Meyer Lemon.
Wild Fruitz - The sparkling juices from this company contain 25 - 38% real fruit juice. They use all natural flavoring, cane sugar instead of white grape juice for sweetening, are kosher, pasteurized, and have no preservatives. The flavor list includes Apricot/Peach, Cranberry, Huckleberry/Blueberry, Lemonade, Orange/Mango, Raspberry and Watermelon.
Reed's Ginger Brew - These handcrafted drinks are brewed using old-fashioned techniques and natural flavorings such as ginger root and other spices. The company touts the fact that it is environmentally friendly both in its processing and packaging. Finally, ginger has become very popular as a health benefit, especially when it comes to controlling nausea and headaches.
Canada Pure - Canada Pure produces sparkling flavored spring waters that are low-carb, lower calorie than soft drinks, contain no artificial sweeteners, no caffeine, and boast 15% RDA Vitamin C. Among the available flavors are strawberry, peach, and lemon lime.
Flavororganics - Flavoroganics is not technically a beverage producer, but since they are promoting a do-it-yourself type of beverage, I'm including it here. This company produces Kosher-certified, organic flavored extracts and syrups. Among the many suggested usage for the syrups is adding them to seltzer to create your own yummy, custom soft drink. The syrup flavors are French Vanilla, Raspberry, Hazelnut, Caramel, Amaretto, and Irish Creme.
Bubble Tea - There was clearly a crowd around the wholesaler of bubble tea supplies. I couldn't wait for my first taste of those refreshing, funky drinks with the fat straw. Bubble tea is a sweetened, flavored, iced tea drink with large, chewy, tapioca pearls in it that you drink up through the straw. I had heard a lot about this drink and expected it to be pretty weird, but I was surprised at how much fun it really was.