Coke is it! Or is it?
Enter LaCroix’s NiCola LaCola: the sparkling water juggernaut’s attempt to replicate the addicting potion that has the world in its clutches, has a massive museum/shrine devoted to it, and is one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
How did LaCroix fare?
The internet has strong opinions about it. But we’ll share ours.
Fun fact: We avoided this flavor for foreverrrr because we don’t drink Coke, and don’t really have an affinity for Cola flavored soda in general. So soft drink fans, consider this your warning.
It is worth nothing that there are hordes of haters for this flavor, particularly by people that are well-versed in the sodacraft and who consider themselves downright Coke connoisseurs. (Including our parents, who actually worked for Coca-Cola in the 80s!)
But let’s be honest: people really love the sugar rush and the lingering sweet aftershock. And you will not find that with this “LaCola”. Therefore, we kinda love this one. All of the weird cola flavor mystique, none of the high fructose.
Also, the skinny, red, white and blue can of LaCola evokes some major French vibes for us, even though we’re pretty sure we’re supposed to feel patriotic. (Not quite sure what’s misfiring in our brains, because nothing says “America in the 21st century” like a sparkling water masquerading as Coke.)
On first crack, the nose on LaCola is definitely pure cola, particularly when cross-referenced with the Real Coke of the Iconic Glass Bottle and the Dark Mistress of Suburbia, Diet Coke.
All of the aromas here come from the same family, and if blind-folded, it would probably be pretty hard to distinguish the real thing.
But where does it go from here?
Not the direction you think it might go. Maybe this dates us here in the Bubbleverse, but this is pure, unadulterated cocoa Necco Wafer. Yes, this is an old-timey reference, but if you know the flavor, that is pretty much the only thing you can taste at first.
But it becomes more refined the longer it lingers in your mouth, evoking notes of cardamom, chocolate and licorice, while still retaining a Cola-coated hue. It’s a nice balance for those who want the caramel-y warmth without the sugar OD.
It exudes strong liquified tootsie roll vibes… in a good way? It’s lighter, less syrupy, and can conjure that nostalgia for timeless American candy classics, sweets that have no discernible or specific flavor.
“Cola” flavor is a catchall for an uber-flavor from the 19th century that included Kola Nut (the caffeine part), Citrus, Vanilla and Cinnamon. If you think about it, cola does taste like some rogue citrus got hot and heavy with some vanilla and cinnamon one night, while huffing rails of caffeinated tree nuts.
Ah, the good old days.
In summation, this stands on its own as a tasty “innocent” sparkling water, but won’t stand in as a substitute for the bubbling black gold that holds the modern world in a death grip. LaCroix’s foray into the world of cola has been extremely polarizing. (Colarizing?) But, we actually highly recommend this! Particularly if you don’t love cola flavor.
And while we’ll admit it’s no substitute for the real thing, maybe it’s time to set down that bottle anyway. Here’s a snippet from a 2015 Telegraph article on what happens to your body when you drink a Coke:
“Based on research by health writer Wade Meredith, it explains that a 330ml can of Coca Cola contains so much sugar, your body should vomit – but the phosphoric acid “cuts the flavor”, helping you keep the liquid down. After 40 minutes, your blood sugar has spiked, your pupils dilated, and your blood pressure has risen.”
And let’s not get started with what happens to your teeth.
Maybe “LaCola” isn’t looking so bad afterall!
"Carbonated Water, Naturally Essenced"