For a brand founded under the aegis of Coca-Cola, that lurching golem of high-fructose 20th century American imperialism, AHA has managed to consistently surprise us. Both with their slightly experimental flavor combinations, and (occasionally) with their subtlety.
Some of their offerings are exactly what you might expect from Coke: fully-saturated hyperfruits like their Lime + Watermelon. But others are unexpectedly complex, and while they never quite escape the neon glow of their parent company, they’ve managed to carve out a distinct and valued place in the bubbleverse.
While Loud & Extra may be embedded in AHA’s DNA, they still produce flavors that hint of thought and sophistication, two words we really don’t associate with Coke’s line-up of sodas.
AHA’s Strawberry Cucumber is one of the more subtle creations in the AHA line. Which we didn’t exactly see coming! Strawberry is generally a flavor that throws its weight around, while cucumber is a reticent little melon, most often found floating in a jar or languishing on our eyes in the bathtub.
When you first pop the can, the nose is pure Strawberry Shortcake, evoking both the dessert and the “unofficial princess” of Strawberryland. Faint whiffs of strawberry ice cream dance in the background.
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This isn’t the most sophisticated strawberry in Strawberryland, but it mercifully does not slay the palate the way that we feared might happen with an AHA. No, this is the adorable greeting card character herself.
Floating around your mouth in her darling pinafore and bonnet, infectious giggle infused in the can. All that’s missing is her cat Custard to turn this into a full episode.
Thankfully, Cucumber steps in to keep this from veering completely into Saturday Morning Cartoon Realness.
The cucumber is strong towards the end, emerging from the berry aftertaste and finishing with a cool, almost bitter cleansing note. It’s a really complex cucumber, from the little we can taste of it, and we want more!
But this is still the strawberry’s show. It’s got some sourness, some complexity, although the overarching vibe is fruit and sweetness, which makes sense, knowing whose offspring AHA is.
So if you’re looking for a more pronounced expression of the beloved gourd, this isn’t it. We recommend LaCroix’s Mure Pepino for a more herbal and subtle play, or Good & Gather’s Cucumber Mint for a full-on onslaught of herbal refreshment.
But if you’re mostly concerned with finding a solid strawberry sparkling water, we highly recommend this one. It outclasses Waterloo’s Strawberry, and the hint of cucumber brings a depth that makes this really refreshing.
We look forward to AHA’s next Strawberry Shortcake episode featuring recurring day player Huckleberry Pie and his strange encounter with Basil!
Carbonated Water, Natural Flavor