By Nick Manteris · 0 Comments · Leave a Comment
The marketing department at HBO apparently decided that True Blood is popular enough and they need to branch out and start selling products. They started with the usual shirts, mugs and posters and eventually determined that the world needs an actual Tru Blood beverage. (I’m sure they already had the infrastructure to manufacture the bottles for the show and developing a liquid to fill them was nothing more than an afterthought.)
When the drink was unveiled earlier this year at ComicCon, writer/director Alan Ball said, “Now, obviously, we couldn’t make synthetic blood for human consumption, so what we did is we put together a nice little mixture of a kind of delightful Château Lafite Rothschild …Cabernet with …with some actual blood from hemophiliac European royalty …a little vodka, a little vicodin, a little viagra …and ecstasy. Unfortunately, it’s completely illegal.” One can only imagine how foul that combination would actually be: wine, blood, vodka and three different pills – one of which I know for a fact is among the worst tastes on the planet – but, regrettably, I’m sure that I would rather consume the mythical version of this drink.
Orange soda isn’t really a novel concept, but blood orange soda is a bit more unusual and it fits the theme rather well. The execution, however, leaves a lot to be desired. The ingredients start out okay: Carbonated Water, Cane Sugar (the consensus is correct in believing that natural sugar sodas taste better), Citric Acid, Natural Flavors – and then they get a little more chemical sounding: Potassium Citrate, Carmine Coloring (oh wait…that’s made from bugs, not chemicals), Potassium Sorbate – but then they go and screw everything up with: Sucralose – an unnecessary component in an otherwise okay beverage. Why would you want to add fake sugar to something that already contains sugar? The remaining ingredients are: Sodium Citrate, Sodium Benzoate, Caffeine, Niacin (Vitamin B3), Caramel Coloring, Red 40, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Vitamin B6, Cyanocobalamin (Vitamin B12), Folic Acid, Gum Accacia, Ester Gum – but it’s really pointless once the beverage has been ruined.
The taste is very similar to SweeTarts, but there is a sickly sweet quality that makes the concoction undrinkable. I love SweeTarts (or at least I did…before they screwed up two or three of the flavors – oops, digressing again), but there’s a perfectly good reason why SickleeSweeTarts are not being sold in the candy aisle of your local convenient store. The ironic part is that – even though I don’t really care for orange soda – I would semi-regularly drink this particular blood orange soda if the diet chemicals were removed. It really doesn’t need to be as sweet as they make it and, as I’ve said, there is really no reason to add artificial sweeteners to something that already contains sugar.
The other factor that will ultimately decide the fate of this product is price. They could get it in stores and charge half of the current price and it would still be more expensive than just about everything except for energy drinks and alcohol. The HBO store price is currently $16.00 for four bottles, but then they charge $5.95 for shipping and – oh wait! – there’s an extra $3.00 shipping surcharge. That brings the total to almost six dollars and a quarter (per bottle!) when most of the drinks in an overpriced corner store are about one-fourth that amount.
So, to sum things up, fix the taste, get the price to a reasonable amount and we might be able to work something out, HBO. I’ll even help you guys out with some free advice: Stop paying for Splenda, it makes your already too sweet drink taste disgusting and cost more.