I’m not exactly certain how I ended up on the alcoholic soda beat, but here I am. Over the past year or so I’ve become increasingly interested in boozy sodas. Previously something you had to make yourself (I’m the queen of the rum and coke), now your local beer aisle is chock full of drinks meant to taste like your favorite sodas, but get you a little buzzed as well.
Ginger Ale and Root Beer are the most common flavors. I’ve tried a ton of those, and found some serious hits as well as some epic misses. When Blitz-Weinhard reached out to me about its Henry’s Orange soda, I had to try it. Alcoholic orange soda? Now there’s something different.
Blitz-Weinhard got its start in Portland in 1856 as Henry Weinhard’s. It’s changed hands a few times throughout the years, and is currently owned by SAB Miller. It became part of the company in 1999 when Stroh, which owned the brewery at the time, sold its operations.
Henry’s is currently made at a Miller facility, so yes, it is technically “big soda.” They make a ginger ale, the orange soda, and soon will be releasing an alcoholic black cherry version. I was intrigued with the orange option so I opted to give it a try. The result? Not bad.
Admittedly, I’m not typically one to reach for an orange soda…ever. That said, this actually tastes pretty good. Unlike some other soda attempts like Best Damn Root Beer (aka the worst thing I’ve ever attempted to consume), Henry’s actually smells and tastes pretty amazing.
Pouring it out of the bottle you’re immediately hit with a citrus smell reminiscent of a Sunkist. In fact, if I didn’t pour it out of the bottle myself I would swear it wasn’t alcoholic. Take your first sip, and you’d swear your’re drinking a regular soda rather than a boozy one. Henry’s makes its sodas with cane sugar rather artificial stuff, which I think honestly makes a difference here. It tastes like I’m drinking a nice craft soda rather than something that’s just trying to mask the flavor of poorly-made malt liquor. This stuff is really good.
Henry’s Hard Orange clocks in at 4.2%. I suspect the sugar would get to me before the alcohol did, so this could be a decent choice when you’re headed to the pool or beach and want something cold and alcoholic, but maybe not a beer.
If you’ve gotten on the alcoholic soda train, definitely give this one a try. It’s tasty, and a bonus of being owned by such a large company: it’s available almost everywhere.
City: Milwaukee, WI
Style: Hard Soda