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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 former web director—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. She now works at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

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