Sioux City: Prickly Pear

History: Sioux City is a soda brand all about havin’ a rootin’ tootin’ good time. The company really wants you to drink in that nostalgic feel. That’s why they put a heavy emphasis on the old west on their bottles. They’re proud of their packaging. They use embossing, with raised ceramic lettering directly on the bottle’s glass as opposed to paper labels. This won’t make the soda taste better, but it’s kind of like your girlfriend walking around in lingerie as opposed to mom jeans. The look matters. Sioux City is a brand of White Rock Beverages, a company that also produces Olde Brooklyn. The company produces seven flavors, none more exotic than the one we’re reviewing right here – prickly pear. Prickly pears are the red fruits that grow from the Opuntia cactus and can be found from Mexico to Texas to southern California. It’s one of the rarer soda flavors out there. It’s also the newest flavor in the Sioux City line. An interesting fact about Sioux City’s Prickly Pear soda: it’s naturally flavored by using cabbage. Don’t ask us how.

Where to get: Sioux City is widely distributed throughout the Midwest, but if ya kick your cowboy boots together and head to Amazon, you can get ‘yer fix too.

Nose: Jolly ranchers; candied watermelon.

Taste: This has a very pronounced, bold flavor. If you’ve ever had cherry Jolly Ranchers, this is almost a dead ringer for the same flavor. Prickly pear traditionally has a sweet flavor, with undertones of kiwi citrus. This is more of a candied, tart cherry flavor with some notes of watermelon. It’s very sweet, but in this soda, the sweetness really works with the flavor profiles. That tart crispness helps to distract from the sugar, yet balances perfectly with it. It could probably use a little more carbonation to bring out the watermelon and tart flavors, but this is a sweet, refreshing soda that delights the taste buds.

Finish: Light watermelon, faint kiwi that trails off back into a more mellow cherry Jolly Rancher flavor.

Rating: Unless you’re a weirdo an avid eater of prickly pear, this is something that’ll be new for you. It’s bold and flavorful, has a wonderful color, and doggone it, I like it. It’s cherry Jolly Rancher, candied watermelon taste pairs deliciously with subtle undertones of kiwi in the finish. This is a fun take on fruit soda that many companies won’t have the desire or resources to a take a risk on. We’re glad Sioux City did. Still, it’s a very sweet soda. Very sweet. If you drank a six pack of these in one night, you’d probably need an IV afterward. The watermelon flavor gives the soda a mild bite that helps undercut the sugariness, but it does taste a little syrupy at times. A little more carbonation would help cut that back. One or two of these will go a long way, but it’s certainly a road you should travel down at some point. Also pairs really well with vodka or rum and lemon juice. Have enough of those and you’ll forget all about the sugar.

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