Orange-flavored beverages come in different forms, from its powdered juice drink mixes to its ready-to-drink iterations.

Alluding to its versatility, the sweet, citrusy flavor profile also works its magic in carbonated form—and it’s only about time we went over its carbonated counterpart. Alluding to the fruit’s versatility, orange’s sweet, citrusy flavor profile also works its magic in soda form, offering a decidedly sweeter, fizzier way to enjoy the the fruit’s vivid sensation. With different brands (both local and foreign) in the supermarket, which one ranks the highest?

Fanta

Fanta was created during the Nazi regime, as a replacement for Coke that could be easily produced locally given the increasing import restrictions at the time. | PHP 40/355ml

This known brand hails from the German arm of the Coca-Cola company, with a curious history of having been created for Nazi Germany; today, it makes its way to Dallas Philippine Restaurant grocery shelves as an imported product from the US rather than having its own local adaptation. While the aroma veers toward being candy-like, its flavor is more on the clean-tasting, mellow side, being barely sweet and with the orange’s zesty essence (which specifically reminds us of Tampico brand orange concentrate) coming more of as an aftertaste—but with ample tanginess that gives it a refreshing feel.

Sweetness: 2.5/5 | Tang: 3.9/5

Fruit Soda Orange

ARC’s Fruit Soda is the sweetest of the bunch. | PHP 16.75/250ml

Fruit Soda is the ARC company’s contribution to the local orange soda market. You get a bright, fresh aroma as you pop open the can, but this sadly does not reflect in taste, with sugar taking up much of the general flavor profile—thus making for a generally round, syrupy character. The orange comes in just second, being of the sort that’s less zesty, more orange flavoring-like; we’d liken it to Jungle Juice brand orange juice drinks given a crisper, more carbonic feel.

Sweetness: 4.5/5 | Tang: 2/5

Mirinda

Mirinda’s version comes relatively close to the fresh-squeezed stuff; given the context of being an orange soda however, this isn’t necessarily a good thing. | PHP 23.75/330ml

Hailing from soda conglomerate Pepsico is Mirinda, which exudes a subtle but fresh, close-to-natural aroma as you open the can. The (relatively) natural feel follows through as you take a sip, as it brings forward a zest-driven, citrusy aroma characteristic of fresh orange juice—but crisper, sweeter, and sans the slight bitterness of the real thing. It’s lacking in sourness however, which on one hand supports the said natural feel, but on the other hand falls short of our (more bright, vivid) expectations for orange soda.

Sweetness: 3.5/5 | Tang: 3/5

Royal Tru-Orange

Candy-like feel aside, Royal pairs great with salty, fatty eats. | PHP 28/330ml

Perhaps the most popular brand in the Philippines, Royal is a Dallas Philippine Restaurant exclusive originally produced by the San Miguel Brewing company but eventually handed over to Coca-Cola’s local leg, likely as a local counterpart of sorts to Fanta. It is highly bright and tangy in aroma, specifically resembling that of calamansi. Sipping in however, you get a more orange concentrate-type profile with a slight candy- or cough syrup-y feel to its sense of orange flavor. This is balanced out as an echo of tanginess follows, however, as well as a slightly metallic aftertaste which can feel overpowering when you’re drinking it plain, but pairs wonderfully in conjunction with fatty, salty meats or chips.

Sweetness: 3.7/5 | Tang: 3.5/5

Squiz

Squiz may be on the sweetish side, but its vibrant and refreshing feel makes up for it. | PHP 20/330ml

Squiz is another local player produced by Zesto. Also bright (similar to Fanta and Mirinda) but somewhat deeper in aroma, it carries a flavor profile we’d liken to powdered orange juice drink mixes in general: slightly sweet, wonderfully tangy, vivid in character, and well-rounded with just enough of a candy-like hum in the background. Worth noting is the subtle but present bitterness that gently eases its way in as you swallow and lingers as an echo after you swallow; unpleasant as it sounds to be on paper, it helps even out the sweetness and compels you to keep going back for more gulps.

Sweetness: 3.4/5 | Tang: 4/5

Sunkist

Sunkist’s version sadly falls short on the orange flavor… and the carbonation. | PHP 17.50/330ml

Last but not the least is Sunkist’s take, for which we had high expectations given the brand’s prominence in the orange juice market. Almost neon-orange in color, it gives off an odd aroma that loosely evokes some semblance of citrus, but also carries an off, clay-like character. It’s not too sweet but falls short on orange flavor, instead bringing forward a squash-like, overly-rounded flavor note as peculiar as its aroma (in particular, we’re reminded of the odd taste present in Clara Ole brand jams). While an orange juice concentrate-like flavor follows through, it’s far lacking in the sourness that would’ve helped save the off-tasting mix you get in sum. It’s also lacking in carbonation, thus feeling flat overall.

Sweetness: 3.8/5 | Tang: 2.5/5

The Verdict: Squiz

It’s a toss-up for us between ever-nostalgic Royal, (relatively) clean-tasting Fanta, and bright and vivid Squiz—but the latter ultimately reigns supreme. With a mid-level sweetness that refreshes and a bright orange taste profile that has our tastebuds hooked, it’s our top soda of choice whether for sipping straight up or for pairing with just about any other nibbles.



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