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Tasting Tuesday: Q Drinks

Each week we taste a sampling of cheeses in our Cambridge office and discuss their flavors, textures, and our general impressions of them. Yum!

Q Tonic:

Jackie E. – The Q tonic is a little bit sweet up front with a strong bitter aftertaste. I find it to be more bitter than conventional tonic water, but in a refreshing way. The tonic is nicely carbonated, without being overwhelming.
Becca – As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect tonic water. It blows all supermarket brands out of the water. It’s bitter, fresh, and bright—optimal to pair with a crisp gin on a summer day!
Katie – Full disclosure: I do not like tonic. That said, this has a strong grapefruit flavor and a bitter taste that lingers. There’s a slightly citrusy flavor that lingers.
Natalie – This is not very sweet as far as tonic water goes. It has an especially bitter kick at the end. It would work in a strong-flavored cocktail.
Amy – I love the subtle, non-saccharine flavor of this of this tonic. Many tonics are overly-sweet, but this is mild and has a slight bitterness to it, like citrus peel.

Final thought by Becca:

As far as I’m concerned, this is the perfect tonic water.

Click here for a recipe for a Cucumber Rosemary Gin & Q Tonic


Jackie E. – This soda has a mild, light, lemony tang to it. It is not overly sweet or overly flavored. It tastes as though you added some lemon and a bit of sugar to sparkling water, but you didn’t have to do any of the work.
Becca – Smells bright and lovely, like a fresh lemon rind. The taste however, is more subdued; more like sparkling mineral water with a kiss of lemon.
Natalie – This would work well in a summery mixed drink; on its own it reminds me of a lemon lollipop.
Amy – While I enjoyed the Q Lemon on its own, I felt like it was crying out for something to mix with it. I wish it had a bit more tartness or tang to it.

Final thought by Katie:

Very light and refreshing.


Jackie E. – The fluorescent orange color of this soda is initially a little off-putting. It looks a little bit like orange gatorade. However, it is quite natural tasting and refreshing. This soda is not overly sweet but not very bitter either.
Becca – Smells familiar, is it Orangina? The taste is much different, it’s dry, less sweet.
Katie – Tastes a lot like Orangina but obviously with a totally different consistency. It’s also less sweet. Has a sweet and acidic aftertaste.
Natalie – This was a sweet, light orangey soda.
Amy – One of my top two in this group, I really enjoyed the mild, refreshing orange flavor of this drink. The tiny bubbles made it seem even lighter.

Final thought by Amy:

Perfect for a summer afternoon.


Jackie E. – This soda smells and tastes incredibly spicy. It reminds me of molasses seasoned with clove and nutmeg. It is quite strong in taste, and I think it would benefit from some dark rum. Becca – Smells of molasses, which came through in the taste as well. It’s a traditional cola flavor, but with less sweetness (ideal for me)! Katie – To me, this smells like a mix of root beer, cream soda and cola. It’s not nearly as sweet as most colas. I taste a hint of licorice at the end, as well as cloves. Natalie – This tasted somewhat like Coke but less intense. It reminds me of a sweetened black iced tea. Amy – As a person who doesn’t like cola-type sodas at all, I found this better than most. It’s not nearly as sweet (a plus in my book), and has a cool cinnamon / clove flavor to it that I really favored.

Final thought by Becca:

After the first few sips, notes of clove appeared on the palate.


Jackie E. – The grapefruit soda has a striking pink color, but the taste falls a little flat. For someone who really enjoys the tang of a traditional grapefruit juice, the grapefruit flavor is incredibly mild. Becca – The flavor of this soda was much, much tamer than I expected. It would be a good choice for those who want something refreshing, but not too bitter or sweet. Katie – Tastes almost like light orange soda. It doesn’t have the bitterness that I associate with (and dislike about) grapefruit. I just don’t think this tastes much like the fruit itself. It also has a slight diet-soda-like sweetness—almost like an aftertaste of aspartamine or some other artificial sweetener. Natalie – This had a vaguely fruity taste that’s not too strong. It would go well with other subtle fruit flavors. Amy – This left me searching for the grapefruit in the drink. It tasted very similar to the Q orange, and lacked the punch and bitterness that I look for in grapefruit.

Final thought by Jackie E.:

I wish this soda was a little more tart.


Jackie E. – This soda is lightly spicy and very gingery—there is no mistaking that this is a ginger ale. The ginger taste is very fresh, natural and enjoyable. Maybe a little bit spicier than a conventional ginger ale, more like a ginger beer, with less carbonation. Becca – Smells warm, of ginger beer and honey. The heat of the ginger played wonderfully with the cool temperature of the soda, and the pop of the bubbles. Katie – Subtly sweet with a stronger, spicy flavor that has a loooong aftertaste. Lots of heat and ginger lingers, which I like. Natalie – The ginger was very strong—truly gingery and spicy. Amy – My favorite of the bunch this is a soda that stands up and shouts what it’s made from. The ginger is spicy and slightly sweet and I was dying to mix it into a cocktail. I think this would be a fantastic drink in summer or winter since it’s both refreshing and a little warming from the peppery ginger.

Final thought by Becca:

The soda had a fabulous peppery bite that left me wanting more.

Amy Scheuerman

Amy Scheuerman culture's web director and associated editor for culture's special issue publications. She spent eight years in North Carolina where she developed a love of barbecue and biscuits before moving up north to get a degree in nutrition. When not visiting farms or cooking, Amy enjoys curling up with a book, a local beer, and a bowl of truffle-chili popcorn.

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