Tasty Tasty Tamarind

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I’ve been a fan of tamarind flavored candies and drinks and foods for a long time. I grew up on Pelón Pelo Rico and other similar tamarind flavored candies from Mexico. I also love pad thai and was unsurprised when I learned one of the primary flavor components was tarmarind. So when I first saw Jarritos in my local grocery in Tamarindo flavor, I was ecstatic and a love affair soon followed. My friends mostly thought I was crazy and didn’t like the flavor at all but what do they know about good drinks (apologies Alton Brown).

On this particular day I was cruising the local 99 Cents Only store and came across this Barrilitos artificially flavored tamarind soda.  My curiosity was piqued, and the monetary risk was low.  Could science even remotely take a crack at recreating the flavor that I love?  I quickly scanned the ingredients to see if it was even safe for ingestion.

Ingredients: water, high fructose corn syrup, less than 0.5% of: citric acid, caramel color, artificial and natural flavors, potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate (to protect taste), modified food starch, coconut oil, sucrose acetate isobutyrate.

Well the contents could be better but probably wouldn’t kill me, so I grabbed a bottle and was headed home when I came across something else 20 paces down the aisle.  Boing! Tamarind with 100% natural pulp

Boing! definitely had my attention.  Not only was it a catchy name but it had 100% natural pulp and claimed “pasteurized enriched with vitamins”.

Ingredients: water, 12% tamarind pulp, sugar, citric acid, guar gum, pectina, natural coloring (caramel color class IV), 0,03% sodium benzoate, and 0,005% potassium sorbate as preservatives, vitamins A, B1 and C.

Not bad, in fact it looked much better.  I knew I had a comparison on my hands.  After getting home and chilling the drinks, it was time to start.

Barrilitos

I popped the cap off the Barrilitos and took a healthy swig.  It was light and lacked the body that Jarritos had.  The taste was tamarindy but it also reminded me of Mexican watermelon flavored candies, which taste like watermelon as much as grape candy tastes like grapes.  It had a slight chemical aftertaste and in the end I finished drinking it but wouldn’t buy it again.

Boing! Tamarind

Boing! Tamarind was a totally different ballgame. First I peeled off the little plastic wrapped straw that was labeled Clic with an arrow showing its operation. I had never seen an extendable straw like this and it brought me great joy pulling it to full length, ready for operation. This bad boy was almost 6in tall, a juice box on steroids. It weighed in at 500ml (16.9 fl. oz.), a full half liter. The real tamarind flavor was in my face and full bodied. It was sweet and thirst quenching with just the right amount of tang. There were earthy tones and a fantastic aftertaste. The real tamarind pulp was really shining through. Boing! Tamarind definitely deserves the exclamation point in the name!

Overall, if I had to come up with a slogan for each of these drinks, they would be as follows:

Barrilitos: It’s not awful…

Boing! Tamarind: It’s Tamarindtastic!

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