The days are warming, which means more of us will spend time on our porches sipping beverages. Since we can't (read: probably shouldn't) drink cocktails from dawn until dusk every day, Lafayette-based soda company Swamp Pop (www.drinkswamppop.com) offers some alternatives with its Louisiana-themed, bubbly, nonalcoholic elixirs.
Using incredibly unscientific measurements, I evaluated three of the four charmingly named sodas produced by Swamp Pop (Jean Lafitte Ginger Ale, you're next) to determine which ones are refreshing and which deserve a pass.
Satsuma Fizz: The soda has a perky orange color and tastes like a lighter, crisper version of Sunkist — without the cloying aftertaste. Refreshing with almost floral notes, it would not only make a great porch swing drink but an excellent mixer.
Praline Cream Soda: Once you pop the top on this soda, the strong aroma of brown sugar and pecan is sure to entice the serious sweet tooth. (I would be hard pressed, however, to drink more than one bottle and I have a high sugar tolerance.) The soda is thick, rich and creamy, with a dessert-friendly quality that makes it a nice after-dinner drink. It also seems like it would make an excellent marinade for pork.
Noble Cane Soda: The standout of the bunch, this take on a traditional herbal cola adds one of Louisiana's most under-appreciated fruits: the fig. The Noble Cane Soda strikes the perfect balance between thirst-quenching and fruity, with honey undertones and a rustic, woodsy aftertaste. — SARAH BAIRD