While the craft cocktail movement continues to elevate the general population’s collective palate, the sugary appeal of fizzy soda pop will never die. Which is why a few very smart companies started boozing it up a few years back, producing six-pack after six-pack of spiked sodas that taste a lot like (or, in some cases, even better than) their alcohol-free counterparts. When all you want is something sweet and spritzy, and you can’t be bothered to stir up your own cola cocktail, pick up one of these great spiked sodas.
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Small Town Brewery’s “Not Your Father’s” line of boozed up sodas elevated the spiked soda market the second it hit the shelves, with its classic root beer being the clear standout. Dark, caramel-tinged and lightly spiced, it’s the perfect dessert poured over ice or topped with ice cream for a boozy float. The rest of the lineup isn’t anything to sneeze at, either: Their spiked ginger ale is bright and easy-drinking with a tart finish. The vanilla cream ale tastes just like Christmas. And their newest addition, the Mountain Ale (we’ll let you guess what popular soda it’s a take on), is a slam dunk. With just the right neon yellow hue and a zesty citrus flavor, it was the office-favorite in our taste test.
If Small Town’s root beer is for the Mug fans, Coney Island’s hard take on the spiced soda is for those who pledge their allegiance to A&W. Rich and mellow with a spicy, sarsaparilla finish, it’s a hearty sipper that’s great slugged straight from the bottle. Their orange cream ale is surprisingly complex, with notes of baking spices along with the expected vanilla and citrus. And their Lemon Lime Twist is like Sprite or 7UP with a nutmeg-vanilla kick.
With their boldly boastful name, it’s a good thing Best Damn Brewing Co. puts out some seriously good spiked sodas. Their cream soda has a more “grownup flavor” than most of the alcopops on this list, with a malty backbone that supports the butterscotch sweetness. The brewery’s root beer is also worth picking up; aged on vanilla beans, it’s ultra rich and creamy.
A subset of Saranac Brewing, Jed’s lineup includes a root beer, orange cream ale and a black cherry cream soda. The root beer is fresh and bright, thanks to the inclusion of anise and birch oil, while the orange cream tastes like a liquified orange creamsicle. The black cherry is boldly fruity with a mildly medicinal flavor that is not at all unwelcome. If you like Negronis and are looking for a sweeter, spritzier sipper, try this one.