Staff Writer Rachael Medina
Rachael Medina is the senior content writer and operations manager for California.com. She was born and raised just outside the Mojave Desert in Southern California and moved to the redwood forests o…See full bio
Tantalizing lemon and ginger, nostalgic orange pop, and the classic flavors of cola and root beer evoke memories and unparalleled tastes that feel like home. It’s crazy how intertwined life experiences and flavors are, but perhaps it’s even more impressive when we can taste the notes we’ve loved forever without the guilt that usually comes with indulgent foods and beverages. Olipop artfully blends the traditional palates of soda with nourishing ingredients—including prebiotics and plant fiber—while leaving out GMOs and the surprising amount of sugar a can of soda typically delivers.
I might have been a little bit late hopping on this bandwagon—seeing as how the Oakland-based company Olipop launched its line of prebiotic fiber drinks a full year before I tried a can—but I am officially a fan. There’s something about the fizzy bubbles of soda and flavored water that I can’t get enough of (to the disappointment of my dentist), but I am not exactly what you’d call a joiner.
I was even reluctant to try highly Instagrammed flavored waters because of their hype—and, as a fan of bold flavors, most of them weren't for me. Unfortunately, this meant I was continuously reaching for other less healthy beverages and was stuck in a cycle of feeling guilty about what I was putting in my body and rationalizing my bad, sugar-filled decisions. To make things worse, thanks to an endless supply of Coke in the office, I adopted a not-so-healthy soda obsession. The noise of cracking open a can sends a refreshing tingle down my spine, and the fizzy bubbles that slightly tickle my lips instantly put me in a better mood—so much so that I’ve started referring to soda as “happy juice.” (Embarrassing, I know, but the stress is real, y’all.) So needless to say, I was apprehensive to try the retro soda–inspired Olipop, but I was also cautiously optimistic about the idea of a healthy and tasty soda alternative. Now, more than a year after my first sip, boy, am I glad I gave it a shot.
While I was drawn to this prebiotic drink because I have been trying to live a slightly healthier lifestyle this year, it really was the allure of Olipop’s packaging that first made me ignore my Amazon (and thus Whole Foods) aversion, drive to the store, and pick up these cans as soon as humanly possible. The fridge display was fully stocked with these incredibly photogenic cans, and I couldn’t stop myself from grabbing one of every flavor available before heading to the checkstand. And try as I might, I can’t stop thinking about the tasty flavors and imagining what Olipop’s newest sparkling tonics might taste like, so I find myself driving to the store time and time again to quench my craving. Here’s what I really think about drinking Olipop.
Cola: After rushing home and setting up an obligatory photoshoot, I busted open the Cinnamon Cola. It legit tasted like Christmas. The bright flavors of the apple and lime juices balanced out the deeply comforting Cassia cinnamon and cola extract for a mouthful of soda that I didn’t feel guilty about drinking. Nearly a year after my first can of Cinnamon Cola, I’m drawn to the Vintage Cola for a more obvious replacement for my Coke obsession. Complete with all the flavors of the holiday-esque Cinnamon Cola, this version is a daily staple with a nostalgic vibe that makes you want to stick two paper straws in it, call your sweetheart over, and share it like a milkshake.
Root Beer: Despite having only two grams of sugar, this flavor tastes incredibly sweet and will surely quell your sugar cravings. Complete with cassava root syrup, laced with organic natural root beer flavor, and offset with Himalayan pink salt, this drool-worthy flavor would pair perfectly with a scoop of Halo Top’s vanilla bean ice cream for a healthy version of a true childhood classic.
Strawberry Vanilla: While I don’t typically opt for fruity cream sodas, this flavor is surprisingly delightful. Made with strawberry juice concentrate and natural vanilla flavor extract, this beverage boasts bright tones and a creamy mouthfeel. This Olipop “soda” was the most surprising for me, creating a nostalgic haze for something I may have never tasted before—but will definitely reach for again.
Ginger Lemon: One sip of this tonic, and you’ll feel like you’re jumping into Lake Tahoe on a perfect summer morning. This refreshing beverage contains just the right amount of ginger and enough lemon to tingle your taste buds.
Composed of prebiotics, botanicals, plant fiber, and just three grams of naturally occurring sugar (replacing the astounding 39 grams of added sugar in traditional soda) and compliant with many of the top diet trends, this sparkling tonic could honestly replace my Coke habit. Unlike other bubbly beverages, Olipop doesn’t leave me wanting more or feeling like I have withdrawals from the sugary soda I crave—and, as an additional benefit, the drink promotes positive digestive and microbiome health.
So, all you really need to know about Olipop is: I ship it. And now the company does, too—to all of the contiguous states nationwide—so grab a can for yourself and one for each of your vegan, gluten-free, health-conscious, and Paleo friends.
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