On June 24, an elite group of Starbucks stores will test run the chain's new trio of handmade sodas. We got a chance to try the Lemon Ale, Golden Ginger Ale, and Spiced Root Beer at a special sneak peek before those (mostly Southern) locations get their mitts on them.
The first thing to know is that the sodas are all made on Starbucks' new Fizzio machine, which is like a sleek cappuccino maker with significantly more piston action. The Fizzio will allow you to order a soda with extra fizz, or add fizz to the teas or Refreshers for $0.50 more. It gets agitated pretty easily, so don't make it angry:
Now that you've seen the hardware, onto the refreshments...
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Taste: The most citrusy, Summery soda of the bunch, this guy is understandably front-loaded with lemon flavors, but also has distinct notes of apricot. Starbucks further claims it has hints of lime and ginger -- we sorta got the ginger, not so much the lime. Regardless, if you've ever stalked out a local fruit stand beginning at midnight on Memorial Day, this is your go-to pick. Score: 6 out of 10
Golden Ginger Ale
Taste: The GG Ale (note: do not confuse this soda with punk legend GG Allin) isn't messing around. Bursting with real ginger flavors, this is less Canada Dry or Schweppes' cousin and more the OG ginger ale you'd get at a '50s soda fountain. Score: 8 out of 10
Spiced Root Beer
Taste: If we had spare gold stars lying around, we'd give one to this interesting spin on the sarsaparilla nectar of the gods. Essentially, Starbucks dumped their chai spice mix into a batch of root beer, shook it up, and produced this cinnamon-and-clove carbonation sensation. It's not quite the root beer you're used to, so it's bound to have its haters, but we're definitely not one of them. Score: 9 out of 10
Kristin Hunt is a food/drink staff writer for Thrillist, and often treats herself to a root beer on Fridays. Follow her at @kristin_hunt.