Jones Soda, a new Halloween tradition…


By Shawn Robare



Of all the new Halloween product traditions popping up in the last few years (plastic electric jack-o-lanterns, two-foot high molded candy bowl statues, designer candy corn) my favorite so far has to be the yearly crop of new Jones Soda flavors, in particular the offerings in the small grenade-sized cans, though some of the larger bottle variety are cool as well. Jones has certainly made a name for themselves on the frontlines of the new flavor battle what with their insane Thanksgiving variety packs (gravy, peas, turkey, mashed potatoes, etc.), not to mention their other holiday offerings, but it’s with their Halloween selections that I really get excited.

Part of this is the awesome design on the cans, all of which feature a gnarly looking jack-o-lantern face and very pun-y flavor names, but it’s also the fact that for the most part the flavors are more drinkably friendly. Call me crazy, but if I’m gonna plunk down my money on soda, I’d at least like to drink it without having to resort to a ‘who can drink the whole can without puking’ contest. Turkey flavored soda is certainly not going to worm its way into my refreshing beverage selection list any time soon, but Spider Cider, the apple cider flavor Jones issued last year would.

I’ve been buying all of the new flavors for the last couple years, but for some reason I decided not to write about them last year, well except for a brief mention in my Target review. Each year there’s a slightly different line-up, and for the life of me I wish I could remember what was on the shelves two years ago. I know there was a Carmel Apple, as well as the Candy Corn, but I’m not sure what rounded out the list. Last year there were four different packs of small cans (including Candy Corn, Spider Cider, Gruesome Grape, and Berried Alive)…



…and two of the larger bottle varieties (including Lemon Drop Dead and Monster Mojito.)



For some reason I passed up on both Berried Alive and Gruesome Grape, as well as missing out on the larger bottles, opting instead for the weirder flavored cans. Luckily this year they reissued the Grape can and switched the Lemon Drop Dead from the bottles to the cans. The one flavor that I did buy and ended up loving was the Spider Cider…



Though it’s more of a basic flavor, it was really flavorful without being over powering, and honestly it’s one of the perfect flavors for the season. I had a can left over from last year at the back of the fridge, so I decided to take it out and crack it open so I could share what it looked like. It’s a bit disturbingly opaque, almost like actual apple cider. Though this is kind of weird for a soda, it certainly adds to its realism…



Here’s what was offered this year…

First off, there was yet another reissue of the Candy Corn flavor in the cans.



Though I love this because of its pure Halloweeniness, I’m not a big fan of the flavor. The soda itself is a really deep yellow, so infused with food coloring that it looks like it would make an awful stain if you were to get it on fabric or the carpet or something, a very distinct possibility after you take in a mouthful and invariably end up doing a spit-take. The main thing I noticed about the candy corn flavor was that it was more of an aftertaste, as the main flavor is just crazy sugary. Give it a second and the candy corn-ness sort of comes back up like a throw-up burp and then messes with your palette for a while. This year, for obvious reasons I opted not to waste any money on a new four-pack as the experiences I had prior will last me a lifetime.

Like I mentioned above, Jones decided to send their more adult bottled soda flavor Lemon Drop Dead to the minor leagues this year. I’m glad they did because now I can get a chance to try it, and in a much cooler looking can. I’m not sure if the flavor is exactly the same as there is a little ‘Sour’ logo before the name proper, but I’m not sure if this is to win over the hearts of the kids who will most likely be asking for these or not.



As far as the flavor goes, it’s really freaking sour, most of which hits you on the back end (sort of like the candy corn flavor of the other variety.) At first it tastes a lot like the recent Sierra Mist with extra lemon, but then it enters a whole new world of sour. Though I don’t see myself pouring a 32-ounce glass of this anytime soon, I could easily see this as making a great mixer for a cocktail.



I’m not sure if this is a new flavor (I think it might have been previously released in 2005), but Strawberry S’Lime is a nice addition, bringing in more color and a much subtler flavor to the offerings this year…



Though I think it tastes more like a regular Strawberry soda, if I’m reading the can correctly, it’s also supposed to have a hint of lime in it. I think I’m missing it because I more used to this flavor from places like Sonic, that use actual limejuice which is much more powerful in the flavor department. This Jones version seems pretty tame, especially in comparison to the Lemon Drop Dead flavor.  Regardless though, this actually helps to make it very pleasing to the palette…



Rounding out the canned varieties this season is the reissue of Gruesome Grape.



This is probably the most normal of the group, and therefore the most drinkable.



One of the things that makes these sodas so great is that they are formulated with real cane sugar instead of corn syrup, which is one little difference that really changes the flavor for me.

Also available this year (though I’ve yet to pick any up) are two new larger bottle varieties, Black Cat Licorice and Dread Licorice. I’m not a huge fan of the flavor of licorice, though I will eat it if it’s put in front of me. They’re also stocking the Monster Mojito again, so I might have to break down and try it this year…



Looking on the Jones website, I see that they have the previous year’s line-ups, and yes, Strawberry S’Lime was avaible in 2005

  • The Retropolitan

    I still haven’t found these anywhere in NYC. BUT I MUST! I can’t help but feel that I’ve been missing out on a great new Halloween tradition over the past few years…

  • Jay

    Shawn, thanks for the rundown. I only bought a few of these last year and actually wasn’t too impressed. The candy corn variety was pretty bad. I love candy corn but not in soda form. You’re exactly right about the cane sugar thing…Boylan’s Soda uses it and it makes a world of difference especially in the after effect in your mouth. It doesn’t feel like your teeth are covered in corn syrup. I too have the glasses you used. I actually have a huge collection of vintage comic and move glasses as gay as it sounds. I’m a vintage glasshole. Again, great article!

  • Dessa Girl

    i wish they had more halloween items here in manila. although people celebrate it more right now compared to the 80′s, we are still missing out on special halloween edition items like these..