Tag Archives: soda

31 Days of Junk: Skeleteens Love Potion No. 69 (#20)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Finally, a Skeleteens soda that doesn’t scorch my innards! It’s even, dare I say…refreshing? A quick look at the ingredients list explains why: this one doesn’t contain jalapeno oil. Hallelujah!

The ingredient list is still pretty wild and chockfull of weird herbs that I wouldn’t be able to pronounce right on the first go ’round. And while the wild ingredients didn’t really make sense with the other two sodas I tried, here they sort of do: I think this particular soft drink is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. At least, that’s what the scrawlings on the side of the label would lead me to believe. (Specifically, “arousing carbonated drink.”)

Well, I’ve drunk half the bottle, and I’m not aroused, but I do think it’s the best Skeleteens soda I’ve tried, so perhaps it’s making me feel lovey-dovey.

The soda has a really pretty amethyst color to it and a subtle floral flavor. There’s a bit of grape popsicle or watered-down cough medicine in the smell, too. It’s not overly sweet—just right, in fact. And nicely carbonated—won’t burn a hole through your tongue.

One of the ingredients is dillweed, and believe it or not, it was the first thing I tasted with my initial sip. Like a pickle, minus the sour saltiness. Just a little grassiness, somewhere in the distance there.

Overall all, a winner from The Skeleteens!

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31 Days of Junk: Skeleteens Brain Wash (#16)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Last week I wrote about another Skeleteens soda, “Black Lemonade”. I’d tried it once in my youth, and now, over 20 years later, I was able to track it down for this #31DaysOfJunk thing I’m currently in the midst of. In fact, I tracked down all of the Skeleteens sodas I owned back then, including “Love Potion #69” and “Brain Wash”, which I’m drinking as I type this.

I wouldn’t say I’m a “craft soda” kind of person, but I wouldn’t say I’m not, either. I just don’t drink soda, so I’m sort of out of my element when it comes to fancy, micro-operation sodas. I am, however, into microbrews and craft beers so I understand the “appreciation of the product”, which I think is probably a similar approach to both craft soda and craft brews.

To me, a soda should be refreshing, thirst-quenching, and able to be slugged down in three massive gulps. I assume this is probably how most non-craft beer drinkers approach craft beer: how cheap is it, how fast can I drink it, and how drunk will it get me?

So when I try “Brain Wash”, and find it strange and spicy on my palate, and can’t immediately guzzle it down, and have to sip it, I just apply my microbrew-appreciator logic to the situation; I realize that this soda wasn’t meant to be quickly consumed or have recognizable flavors. It’s meant to be admired, enjoyed, valued—the same way I would enjoy a craft beer.

At least, I think that’s what is going on. To be honest, these sodas are way too spicy for my sensitive lil’ tum. Even sipping them leaves me with brief heartburn. After all, Brain Wash contains jalapeno oil. (No, really.) There’s a whole bunch of other herbs in the soda, most of which I’ve never heard of. What they’re supposed to do, I’m not sure. Wash my brain, apparently.

This drink comes in both a red and a blue version, and while I’m not entirely sure what the difference is, I happened to have the red version, and it’s a lovely ruby color that I’ve never seen in a soda before. I like colorful sodas; brown and clear are so boring. Gimme blue, pink, yellow, ruby. If I’m going to destroy my teeth and my pancreas, at least let me marvel at some beautiful hues while doing so!

31 Days of Junk: Skeleteens Black Lemonade (#10)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Sometime in my youth, I discovered The Skeleteens line of sodas. It was at our local Spencer’s Gifts (at the mall, of course) where I found their soft drinks; drinks with names like “Love Potion #69”, “Brainwash”, and “Black Lemonade”. With their jagged, hand-written lettering, and labels adorned with illustrated skeleton parts, I couldn’t pass them up. I was, after all, almost 13-years-old—the magic age for this type of shit.

There they sat, in my room, up on a shelf, displayed for all visitors to see, right alongside a Michael Myers mask, a lava lamp, a pair of drumsticks, and a few bowling pins I’d spraypainted silver. What can I say, I was a weird kid.

Years later (and I do mean years), I decided, for whatever reason, to finally crack them open and try them. Curiosity had gotten the best of me. I wanted to keep the bottles, but I didn’t want to waste the (possibly spoiled) soda, so I took a swig from each bottle. What can I say, I was a weird kid.

Flash forward literally 20 years. I am walking through The Farmers Market in Los Angeles when, to my utter astonishment, I see a bottle of The Skeleteens Black Lemonade through the window of a soda shop; up on a shelf, gathering dust, like the one I had all those years ago. Suddenly, I was 13 again, and the memories of these sodas I’d long forgotten came flooding back. I had to have them again.

I miraculously found all three of them—Love Potion #69, Brainwash, and Black Lemonade—at the liquor store BevMo, of all places. I couldn’t believe these things still existed, let alone were still being produced!

Here’s the craziest part: the first sip of Black Lemonade brought it all back. I totally remember how it tasted! Holy lord, do I remember. It’s like time stopped for two decades, and suddenly I was in my bedroom in Southern Illinois again, sipping the expired black swill.

It’s super lemony on the nose, almost like a bathroom air freshener. And super tart and tangy in the mouth; the kind that pinches you under the jawline. Plus it burns when you swallow it. Seriously, it burns, like you’re drinking jalapeno juice or something. But then, I don’t know what else you’d expect from a drink called Black Lemonade, featuring a skull and crossbones on its label.

Perhaps the thing that makes this line of sodas stand out is their ingredients. Black Lemonade features, “…an herbal blend consisting of Siberian, American and Korean Ginseng, African Capsicum, Brazilian Guarana, Ginkgo Biloba, Kola Nut, Echinacea, Clove, Sage, Skullcap (Mad Dog Weed), Kava Kava”. I distinctly remember being afraid of those ingredients when I drank from the bottles so many years ago, and to be honest, I’m a little leery now.

Here’s to your health!

31 Days of Junk: Jones Soda “Blood Orange” (#8)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

I don’t remember how old I was when I and my friends discovered Jones Soda—14 or 15, probably—but I do remember what an impact it had on us as a group. At the time, our punk rock inklings were starting to mineralize; our obsession with art, and counter-culture, and whatever it was we thought was the meaning of life (skateboarding and watching movies), all coming together, coalescing to create who we were as young people and future adults. And suddenly, we had the perfect beverage which embodied all of that and more: Jones Soda.

Artsy photographs, a different one on each bottle, instead of a repetitive boring logo? Photos which could be submitted by anyone—even us? It was a game-changer. We’d had enough of Coca-Cola! We were through with Mug Root Beer. No more Surge! We wanted Jones Soda! And have Jones Soda, we did: we drank the stuff religiously, shelling out our allowances for over-priced 4-packs of the stuff.

It’s how I imagine Gen Xers felt when OK Soda came out.

I mention all of this because I probably haven’t had Jones Soda since then—so 20 years, give or take. (Good lord, where does the time go?) Wait, I take it back: last year, I did have a sip of some of their Thanksgiving-flavored sodas at a party. (Which were from the year 2005; we were drinking sodas that were 12-years-old.) All of this is to say: I haven’t had a proper, unexpired Jones Soda in a very long time.

I also haven’t had a blood orange in a very long time either, so I’m not sure if the flavor of this Halloweeny treat is spot-on. But it’s definitely orangey. Much like the soda I drank last week for #31DaysOfJunk, this one also tastes like a melted popsicle. That’s my biggest takeaway: Jones Soda Blood Orange tastes like a melted orange popsicle. So, y’know, good and sugary.

It has a brilliant, almost glowing, orange color to it. Downright iridescent! I will still take this over Surge any day of the week.

31 Days of Junk: “Revenge of Slashback Video” The Soda (#3)

Last October (2017), I made it a goal to drink 31 different beers—a new one each day—by the end of the month. Incredibly, I was successful in my attempt, which I dubbed #31FallBeers (look it up on any form of social media!) This year, I wanted to try something similar, but there were two important changes I needed to make. Firstly, I wanted to be able to expound more, so I decided against social media blurbs in favor of long-form posts on my site. Second: it needed to be much, much cheaper than drinking 31 different beers. The result? #31DaysOfJunk. Strap in and hold on tight, and please enjoy this month-long odyssey into the sugary, fatty belly of the autumnal beast.

Last September, Blumhouse’s Ryan Turek and Bearded Lady’s Mystic Museum, an oddity shop in Burbank, CA, teamed up to bring Slashback Video—an ode to the mom & pop video shop of yore, specifically their worshipped horror aisles—to screaming, vivid life. It was a massive success, and I was lucky enough to be there opening night. Let me assure you, the second I stepped through the threshold, I was suddenly 8-years-old again—zapped back to the small Midwestern video shops I’d frequent with my parents, and the horror aisles I’d spend the whole time exploring.

Like every great horror film from the ’80s, Slashback needed a sequel, and it got one this year, once again in September. This time, the exhibit had expanded to include laser discs and video games, enhancing its perma-nostalgia vibe.

Quirkily enough, they also released a soda! As I’d been planning to do #31DaysOfJunk for the last few months, I immediately jumped at the chance to include a sugary soft drink based around this museum show I’d enjoyed so much.

The neon yellow color of the soda made me think it would taste like Mountain Dew, obviously. And while the first sniff of the drink had “generic citrus soda” written all over, the taste is something totally different. I’d go as far as to say, “impossible to pinpoint”. Honeydew? That can’t be right, can it? Or like cream soda from another planet. Ultimately, I decided it mostly tasted like one of these popsicles. Remember those? It tastes exactly like how I remember those popsicles tasting.

Super sweet, low carbonation, and to be honest, my tongue is kinda numb after drinking it. Basically, the perfect drink for a Friday night in October of ’89, while laying on your stomach on the living room floor in front of the TV, seeing Halloween II for the first time, edited for content, commercials and all.