Pepsi Japan has a long line of insane seasonal flavors–this past summer’s Caribbean Gold Pepsi and last winter’s Mont Blanc Pepsi are just two recent offerings. So tasty, and yet so ridiculous! A clever marketing ploy on the part of Suntory, the flavors are usually more for the novelty than anything else–and it certainly does get people talking (myself included, obviously.)
Now, Strawberry Milk may seem like a bizarre soda flavor, especially for Winter. Strawberries are usually considered a summer fruit in the US, but here in Japan they’re actually often associated with winter and early spring.
Usually grown in greenhouses, strawberries are one of the most important ingredients in the ubiquitous Christmas cake, a strange and spongy descendant of strawberry shortcake that everyone seems convinced is the traditional Western holiday dessert. My coworkers were shocked when I told them that it wasn’t a part of our Christmas rituals!
Strawberry Au Lait (or Strawberry Olé as it is sometimes hilariously romanized) is also fairly popular here, so a soda version isn’t that far of a stretch. Well, ok, Strawberry Milk soda might be a little odd–there aren’t a lot of strawberry sodas out there to begin with, and milk sounds like a pretty wacky flavor for your fizzy drink. Cream sodas are common enough though, and the milkiness falls squarely in that category.
The bottle is super cute, much like a toddler wearing a giant strawberry costume. Polka dots! A leafy green Kermit the Frog collar! Add a slightly metallic hue and you’ve got nothing less than adorable.
But how does it taste? In a word, fabulous.
Now, I’ll be honest–it’s candy sweet, and bears little resemblance to the fruit it was named after. If you hate artificial strawberry flavoring, you will hate this soda.
But for me, it’s nicely balanced with the creaminess and the artificial flavoring isn’t overpowering. Sean was content with a single sip of mine (he might have mentioned that even the scent was too strong for him…) but I will definitely be buying more of this crazy concoction.
There aren’t enough strawberry sodas on the market (are there any?) and I for one, wish this could become part of the regular Pepsi line up. But as is always the way, in a few short weeks it will be relegated to the bargain bins, and then it will disappear forever, leaving nothing but memories of its creamy, fruity goodness.
So get it while it lasts!