History: Craft soda is hot right now. You know what the hottest trend in craft soda is right now? Craft soda… syrup. That’s right, do it yourself! Don’t be a slave to the confines of the man and his portions on taste! Just add some seltzer water and poof! Drink More Good by Jason Schuler started in 2012 to “make this world a better place.” A Bold statement. But one that has a noble explanation. The company has partnered with generosity.org in an effort to help make clean water more accessible across the world through sustainable water wells. In 2014, Drink More Good raised over $14,000 toward the cause. And that’s great. But you’re more interested in what goes in your mouth. And in this case, it ain’t water. Well, actually, it mostly is. Drink More Good makes three different soda syrups. Perhaps the most unique is the one we sample today: Cassia Kream. It’s sort of a hybrid cola/cream soda, leaning more toward the former. Schuler is proud of his creation. He says, “When colas were made with real ingredients, you would have found coriander, star anise, lavender, citrus, and roasted kola nut in a lot of those recipes. I started my spice blend here, then added cinnamon and vanilla.” So there’s a lot going on in this baby. Schuler’s Drink More Good was a 2014 finalist for the Martha Stewart American Made Awards. He adds, “We’re bringing soda back to what it was. Everything you’re tasting is a real herb or spice that’s been crushed by me in an eight inch mortar and pestle” (in his retail spice shop).
Where to get: Drink More Good is sold online through the company’s web site. Bottles can be purchased individually or as a three-pack.
Nose: Raw, organic honey; anise.
Taste: Lavender flower; honey; cane sugar; mild anise; cinnamon and vanilla. There’s a very distinctive organic honey taste to this. It’s very pleasant and refreshing, almost relaxing. The only thing is… there’s no honey in Cassia Kream. So what we’re really tasting is cane sugar being transformed by the spices in the syrup and how they blend with the seltzer water. Lavender is very apparent and soothing. Cinnamon and anise come in next, though the anise isn’t too overwhelming like in some root beers. Often, this almost tastes like a sweet herbal tea with the addition creamy vanilla. It has a very distinctive flavor and the use of spices here are mesmerizing to the tongue. There’s even the faintest hint of lingering orange throughout the body of the drink. A relaxing honey taste is what rises above everything else. If you told me this didn’t actually have honey in it without showing me the ingredients, I wouldn’t believe you.
Finish: Less honey and more cane sugar that fades into mellow cinnamon and anise star. All of this is carried along by a wave of underlying vanilla and citrus that accentuate the flavors they’re carrying.
Rating: Cassia Kream isn’t your every day cola, but in the world of craft soda, every day cola is a thing of the past. Schuler’s starting point of traditional cola and label of “kream” have landed him elsewhere in a foreign, yet flavorful paradise of herbs and sweetness. It’s kind of like when you’re on Tinder and swipe the wrong person, but it works out in your favor. Trust me, this rarely happens. I would know; I’m often on the wrong end of it. But rare wonders do happen and Drink More Good has created a rare wonder. Cassia Kream does not taste like cola. It does not taste like cream soda. It’s truly on its own island of originality. Think flavors and not necessarily ingredients – this tastes of sweet honey and spices to form a highly drinkable herbal tea-like soda with undertones of vanilla. That’s the best description I can give for something that truly needs to be experienced to understand. Notes of cinnamon, citrus and anise are all apparent throughout the body of the soda, while a rich raw honey taste brings it all home. Wild, earthy and full of flavor. If you were anti soda-syrup before reading this, I hope we’ve at least opened you to the possibility. Drink More Good, you should.