Why is Mexican soda so good?

Mexican soda has developed a cult following in recent years. The sodas are made with cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup, which gives them a fuller, richer flavor. The iconic glass bottles and bright labels give Mexican sodas an old-fashioned appeal. And many people find the flavors, like tamarind, guava, and lime, to be more interesting and complex than typical cola or lemon-lime sodas.

The use of cane sugar makes a big difference

One of the biggest differences between Mexican sodas and standard American sodas is the use of cane sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (HFCS). HFCS is cheaper to produce and transport than cane sugar, which is why most mass-market American sodas contain it. But many soda aficionados claim the taste of HFCS is inferior to cane sugar.

Cane sugar has a more nuanced, well-rounded sweetness compared to the one-dimensional sweetness of HFCS. The depth of flavor you get from cane sugar allows more of the soda’s other flavors to shine through. With HFCS, the main taste is just sweetness. Cane sugar also provides a smoother, less syrupy mouthfeel.

Many people who try Mexican sodas for the first time are astounded at how much better they taste compared to the HFCS-sweetened sodas they’re used to. The pure cane sugar makes flavors taste cleaner and more crisp. You can really taste the fizziness. It’s easy to see why Mexican sodas have developed such a cult following among people looking for a superior soda-drinking experience.

The glass bottles add to the retro appeal

Nearly all Mexican sodas come in glass bottles rather than plastic or aluminum cans. This serves both a practical and aesthetic purpose.

On the practical side, glass helps keep the soda fresher by preventing the flavors from deteriorating over time. Plastic and aluminum allow more air to seep in, which can diminish the taste. With glass, the flavors stay intact.

Aesthetically, the glass bottles give Mexican sodas an old-fashioned, retro look and feel. It enhances the sense of authenticity and artisanship. The embossed logos and text on the glass are also pleasing design details.

Drinking soda from a glass bottle simply feels special. It provides a more satisfying drinking experience. Like the cane sugar, the glass bottles help transport you back to an earlier era when soda felt like more of a treat.

Unique and exotic flavors

While Mexicans enjoy popular flavors like cola, orange, and lemon-lime, they also embrace more exotic flavors that are rare or nonexistent in the American soda market.

Flavors like tamarind, guava, strawberry, pineapple, mango, coconut, watermelon, and lime are very common in Mexican sodas. These tropical fruit flavors provide an explosion of refreshment. They tend to be a bit less sweet than American sodas, allowing the fruit flavors to shine.

Sodas flavored with chili peppers and spices are also popular. These give the sodas a subtle heat along with unique savory notes. Flavors like chili-pineapple and chili-mandarin will wake up your taste buds.

The variety of flavors gives Mexican sodas a sense of fun. Even familiar flavors like cola and orange taste different than what you’re used to, often with a fruitier profile. There’s an excitement in trying sodas with flavors you’ve never experienced before.

Why Mexican soda flavors are so good

What makes the flavors of Mexican soda so delectable compared to mainstream American brands? Here are a few reasons:

  • Use of fresh, natural ingredients like cane sugar, fruit juices, spices, and herbs
  • Bright, vibrant flavors that pop rather than fall flat
  • Complex flavor balancing sweet, tart, spicy, and savory notes
  • Less cloying sweetness that allows other flavors to shine
  • Exciting tropical fruit and spice flavors rarely found in American sodas
  • Unique flavor combinations like pineapple-chili or tamarind-chamoy
  • No artificial flavors, preservatives, or high fructose corn syrup

The fresh, natural ingredients and authentic Mexican flavor profiles are what make these sodas so delicious compared to bland, artificial-tasting mainstream American brands. When you taste a Mexican soda, you can tell it’s made with care using real cane sugar, fruit, and spices.

The soda industry in Mexico

Mexicans consume more soda per capita than residents of any other country. Here are some facts about the soda industry in Mexico:

  • Mexicans drink around 166 liters of soda per person per year.
  • The top-selling sodas are Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Mirinda, and Fanta.
  • Mexico is the world’s largest consumer of Coca-Cola products.
  • There are over 200 bottling plants in Mexico producing soda.
  • Many traditional sodas are still made with cane sugar, especially at smaller, regional bottling plants.
  • In addition to the major brands, there are many smaller traditional soda companies throughout Mexico.
  • Jarritos, made by Productos Refrescos, is a popular Mexican soda brand known for flavors like tamarind, guava, and mandarin.

As these facts show, soda is deeply ingrained in Mexican culture. The abundance of sodas sweetened with cane sugar provides a tasty treat that Mexicans have embraced.

The nostalgia and festiveness of Mexican soda

Drinking Mexican sodas evokes feelings of nostalgia, tradition, and celebration. The retro look of the bottles and handcrafted flavors provide a tangible connection to the past. Traditional sodas like Jarritos have been made the same way for decades. Each sip is like a little time capsule transporting you to a simpler era.

Mexicans associate soda with festiveness and sharing good times with family and friends. Sodas are a staple at birthday parties, holidays, weddings, and other occasions. The brightly colored labels and effervescence impart a sense of joy and fun.

The shared experience of passing around ice cold glass bottles of soda helps strengthen social bonds. Likewise, the ephemeral fizziness encourages being present in the moment together. For many Mexicans, drinking soda is an opportunity for escapism and nostalgic pleasure.

Availability of Mexican soda in the US

While Mexican soda has long been available in the southwestern US near the border, its popularity has spread across North America thanks to increased distribution:

  • Jarritos, Boing, and other Mexican sodas are now readily available at major grocery chains like Kroger, Safeway, Publix, and Trader Joe’s.
  • Mexican specialty markets and tiendas carry an abundance of sodas from Mexico.
  • Online retailers allow easy access for people unable to find Mexican sodas locally.
  • Mexican restaurants and food trucks typically carry sodas like Coke in glass bottles made with cane sugar.
  • Craft soda shops and stores focused on Mexican food often sell Mexican sodas.

The increased availability has allowed more Americans to discover the joys of Mexican sodas. As demand grows, stores are dedicating more shelf space. Trying authentic Mexican soda is now easier than ever.

Popular Mexican soda brands and flavors

Here are some of the most popular Mexican soda brands and their signature flavors:

Brand Known for flavors like…
Jarritos Tamarind, mandarin, guava, pineapple, fruit punch
MexiCoke Cola (made with cane sugar)
Boing Mango, guava, tamarind, fruit punch
Sidral Mundet Apple
Sangria Sangria (fruity soda)
Red Cola Cola with a cherry-berry twist

These are just a few of the many delicious Mexican sodas worth trying. Part of the fun is discovering new flavors beyond the usual cola and lemon-lime options.

How Mexican soda provides culinary nostalgia

For Americans used to HFCS-laden sodas, drinking Mexican sodas sweetened with cane sugar provides nostalgia for how soda used to taste:

  • Reminds people of childhood soda experiences with more pure, nuanced sweetness
  • Evokes memories of soda fountains and buying glass-bottled sodas from the ice cream truck
  • Feel like drinking a “real” soda made carefully with quality ingredients
  • Enjoying soda in glass bottles feels familiar and comforting
  • Unique flavors become reminders of specific moments, places, or people
  • Provides continuity with the past – a respite from ever-changing modern drinks

Mexican sodas tap into nostalgia while also providing excitement through new flavors. They bring back a sense of innocence and discovery while tantalizing your taste buds with the exotic. Each sip satisfies both your longing for the familiar and your desire for novelty.

Mexico’s craft soda movement

While Mexicans have always had an affinity for soda, there is now a burgeoning craft soda movement focused on inventing new flavors with high quality ingredients. Craft sodas are being produced by independent bottlers throughout Mexico.

Craft sodas use natural flavors and old-fashioned techniques to create flavor experiences you can’t find in the mass-produced brands. They tend to emphasize fresh fruit, herbs, spices, and flowers in their unique flavor combinations. Quality and authenticity are paramount.

Craft soda startups are tapping into Mexico’s culinary traditions to create sodas that provide a taste of place. They incorporate ingredients like tamarind, guava, mango, cucumber, and chili peppers. Some are made using recipes passed down for generations. The craft soda boom is adding to the incredible variety of Mexican sodas available.

How geography influences Mexican soda flavors

Mexico’s diverse terrain and climate impact the fruits, vegetables, and spices used to flavor sodas in different regions:

  • Tropical coastal areas – Fruity sodas showcasing mango, pineapple, guava, coconut, and lime
  • Arid northern regions – Sodas flavored with cactus fruit, agave, and berries like juniper
  • Temperate central highlands – Apple, hibiscus, and plum flavored sodas using local produce
  • Yucatan peninsula – Sodas flavored with habanero chili peppers, sweet oranges, and annatto spice

The diversity of microclimates and terroir make Mexican sodas the epitome of “drinking local.” Regional soda brands highlight the indigenous fruits, vegetables, and spices of that area. Trying sodas from different parts of Mexico provides a flavor tour of the country.

Differences between Mexican and American soda cultures

There are some key differences between soda cultures in Mexico versus the US:

  • Mexico still uses cane sugar while the US switched to HFCS
  • Mexicans embrace more exotic fruit flavors like tamarind, guava, and mango
  • Mexican sodas come in a variety of unique glass bottle shapes while American sodas are usually in cans
  • Soda feels more like an everyday treat/indulgence in Mexico instead of just another beverage
  • Mexicans consume much more soda per capita than Americans
  • Mexican sodas are more about pure flavors while American sodas focus on branding
  • Fruit-flavored sodas are popular in Mexico whereas cola and lemon-lime dominate in America

These cultural differences developed over many decades and make Mexican and American soda preferences uniquely their own. But the growing popularity of Mexican soda in the US shows an appreciation for Mexico’s soda traditions.

How Mexican sodas provide authentic cultural experiences

For those seeking authentic Mexican food and drink experiences, Mexican sodas provide a tasty cultural immersion. Reasons they feel truly Mexican:

  • Use of cane sugar instead of HFCS
  • Iconic glass bottle and label designs
  • Traditional flavors like tamarind, guava, and mango
  • Feeling of festiveness and celebration Mexican culture is known for
  • Opportunity to try lesser known fruits like zapote, nanche, and pitaya
  • Drinking Jarritos, MexiCoke, Boing makes you feel transported to Mexico
  • Chance to experience flavors rarely found in American sodas

Soda is such an integral part of Mexican life that drinking Mexican brands gives a sense of cultural connectedness. The flavors, bottles, andOverall, Mexican sodas provide a delicious taste of authentic Mexican culture.


Mexican soda has amassed a cult following for good reason. The use of flavorful, refreshing cane sugar sets it apart from the high fructose corn syrup used in most American sodas. Exciting tropical fruit flavors like tamarind and guava offer an explosion of refreshment. The festive glass bottles provide vintage appeal and evoke nostalgia. For Americans used to industrial sodas, Mexican brands provide an exhilarating new experience. There’s a feeling of hype and discovery with each uniquely flavored Mexican soda. It’s a tasty treat for the tastebuds and the eyes.

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