December 17, 2010 | 7:13am
OK, it's really not elfin pee. It's tarragon soda. But we were swelled up with Christmas spirit and this drink we found at the Russian market was just so damn green that we couldn't pass it up. 'Tis the season for pine-colored items, right?
Its packaging was so attractive, what with the metallic elastic-tied paper cap cover and the tall, sleek glass bottle, that we expected it to be liquor. This assumption almost made us put it right back on the shelf when those flashbacks from undergrad came pouring in. (Midori melon shots...ugh.) But its $1.99 price tag made it worth investigating.
Honestly, we still had no idea what it was when we took it back to our test kitchen, but when we opened the top and heard that unmistakable "psshhtt" sound, we knew carbonation was in play... that, and the nutrition facts -- which were, thankfully, in English -- listed carbon dioxide as an ingredient, after water and sugar. But there was no other clue as to what the flavor was going to be. All we knew was the stuff smelled like licorice and Listerine combined.
Its essence is much less subtle but very, very sweet. Nearly nauseatingly so. Pretend you took a two-liter of seltzer water, poured in a few cups of sugar, and threaded two or three black Twizzlers into the opening at the top and let it sit for a few hours. That's what you'll taste. Don't expect anything overwhelmingly tarragon-ish. As a matter of fact, it was only after we noticed the small "Flavored Soft Drink 'TARHUN'" stamped on the back that we were able to get to the bottom of this mystery drink.
Thanks to the wonder that is Google, we found out what tarhun
is. (A soft drink from the former USSR, flavored with tarragon.)
Regardless of this beverage's lack of real herbal flavor, we predict this stuff could be a trendsetting drink sometime soon. Mixologists all over town have been using herbal infusions in their drinks for years now and it's only a matter of time before the soda market gets invaded full on.
In the meantime, as to who should drink this, we can only say perhaps teetotalers at holiday parties who want to entertain the masses by telling them they are drinking elf urine. That oughta be a pisser.
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