There are a lot of soda drinks out there that you know and love, like Pepsi, 7UP, Coca-Cola, etc. But every once in a while, you discover some drinks so unique that they stick with you. For me, that one such drink was Tamarind Soda.
This carbonated soda drink has all the freshness and fizz of a regular soda combined with a tart, zesty flavor derived from this fruity pod-like pulp. It’s a favorite across different countries, all of whom have added their personal touch to the original recipe and made it distinct to their cultures.
Because of its unconventional nature, not many people know about Tamarind Soda, where it came from, and where they can find it. Well, here’s your chance to learn more about this delicious beverage!
What was the first Tamarind Soda?
Although details about the first ever Tamarind Soda worldwide are ambiguous, the first ever Tamarind Soda in Mexico was invented in the 1950s by Don Francisco Hill.
Don was the founder of Jarritos, a famous Mexican soda drink brand. In 1950, he made the first beverage for the company: a coffee-flavored soda. Soon afterward, he started experimenting with fruit flavors instead. He ended up successfully extracting the pulp from Tamarind pods. He then began using it as a soda, creating the first Tamarind Soda in Mexico.
The soda drink became popular quickly, especially after being sold in 400 ml bottles instead of the Mexican standard of 370 ml, offering more soda for less money. As more Jarritos flavors were invented and their fame grew in Mexico, the sodas officially made their way to the United States in 1989.
What is Tamarind?
Tamarind is a pod-like tropical fruit that comes from the Tamarind tree. It is indigenous to Africa but found in tropical and subtropical regions worldwide like India, Thailand, Pakistan, etc.
The pods contain seeds that have a fibrous pulp. It’s this paste-like pulp that brings out the tangy flavor Tamarind is known to have. It has a lot of benefits which is why it’s used in both the culinary and medicinal world.
The pulp is used in many different cuisines all over the world, especially in South and Southeast Asia, Mexico, and the Middle East. One of the most common ways Tamarind is used in dishes is as a sauce or a chutney for that sour, zesty flavor. It is also incorporated into Indian, Thai, and Pakistani dishes like curries and spicy foods to bring out more flavor.
Besides the pulp, the Tamarind seeds themselves are also edible. Although less preferred than the pulp, the seeds are used in places like the Caribbean, where they are roasted and eaten as a snack. As well as enjoyed as a refreshing cold beverage, drank commonly daily around the world.
Moreover, the health benefits of Tamarind are also numerous. The pulp is rich in antioxidants which boost the immune system and helps fight against health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. It also has coolant properties that help reduce fevers and regulate body temperature.
What does Tamarind Soda taste like?
Tamarind Soda is the perfect mix between sweet and sour. The sugary fizz complements the tang from the Tamarind in the drink, making it very refreshing in the summer.
The soda has a brownish color similar to a Tamarind pulp. It also contains citric acid, which is not overpowering. Overall, the soda has a sweet, earthy aftertaste because of the Tamarind. For me, this combination of sugary tang mixed with slight carbonation makes it the perfect soda drink.
What are the ingredients in Tamarind Soda?
The main ingredients found in Tamarind Soda are carbonated water, sugar, natural tamarind flavor, citric acid, caramel color, and sodium benzoate as a preservative.
Tamarind Soda differs from other soda drinks for a few reasons. Firstly, soda contains a lot less carbonation than most others like Coca-Cola, Mountain Dew, etc. Secondly, it has less sugar in comparison, which is a bonus as it makes you less susceptible to health conditions like diabetes and obesity.
Like all soda drinks, Tamarind Soda contains the preservative Sodium Benzoate. In small quantities, preservatives such as this are safe. But ingesting too much of them can lead to additional health problems, according to recent studies.
What brands make a Tamarind Soda?
The most well-known brand to make Tamarind Soda is Jarritos, but brands like Goya Foods have also made this flavored soda drink.
Jarritos may be famous for its Tamarind Soda, but it also has other fruit-flavored carbonated drinks. Today, you can find Jarritos Tamarind Soda in countries like Mexico and the U.S, where you can order them online from their website.
Meanwhile, Goya’s sweet and tangy Tamarind Soda offering is not just a refreshing delight on its own but is often incorporated into a variety of cocktails and juices. As a bonus, it is gluten-free as well!
Although there are brands that make Tamarind sodas, the drink itself is made in many different forms across various cultures worldwide. In addition, it is used in many alcoholic beverages like punch, gin, and tonic, etc.
Tamarind is also used in a drink called Agua de Tamarindo (or Tamarindo drink). It is a Mexican drink with three main ingredients: Tamarind, water, and sugar. It’s a refreshing drink that street vendors and outdoor markets sell, especially in the summer, to help keep you cool. Sometimes sugar is replaced by honey to make it healthier and more energizing.
It’s evident that among so many fruit-flavored soda drinks out there, Tamarind Soda is a hidden gem. Unlike the standard sweet and carbonated element, it has a tart, sugary taste that distinguishes it from the other drinks.
Fizzy drinks are deservedly popular, but if you’re looking for something light and refreshing all at once, then I suggest giving Tamarind Soda a try. Jarritos is particularly well-known in this regard, with its Tamarind Soda available in countries like Mexico and the U.S.
With its unique taste that is bound to leave you with an experience, you won’t soon forget, you definitely can’t go wrong with Tamarind Soda.