From peanut butter to pesto to popcorn, we’ve tried out tons of pantry staples for MyRecipes’ taste tests. So far, however, these taste tests haven’t veered into controversial territory. Well, that’s about to change, because after strict scientific testing, we have the final pronouncement on who makes the best cola.
Now by “strict” and “scientific,” we mean that our testers were offered a numbered shot glass full of each cola and then asked to write down their notes on a corresponding Post-It. The back of the Post-It revealed which soda the shot glass contained. Each soda had to be tested before any Post-Its could be flipped. After using this blind study method to test seven different cola brands available online and in stores, we think we’ve finally got an answer on which one is our favorite. Here’s our picks, from best to worst.
Coca-Cola ($2.29 for 2 Liters)
No, this test wasn’t rigged. Coke is just classic for a reason. The sugar in Coca-Cola is present, but not too sweet, and cola flavor is balanced with no aftertaste. If you’ve got the money to spend, name brand Coke is worth your time.
Signature Kitchens Cola ($1.93 for 2 Liters)
Our testers actually thought this was Coke when they first tried it. If you took the label off and brought it to a party, the shape of the bottle would be the only thing to give it away. Definitely worth the buy if you frequent Safeway.
Best Cane Sugar Soda
Blue Sky Cola ($3.99 for 6 cans)
Technically, this has less grams of sugar than Coke (31 versus 39), but you wouldn't know it just by tasting it. The sweetness, if you’re not used to cane sugar, is almost overpowering. The cola flavor itself is delicious however. If cane sugar is a favorite of yours, then definitely reach for this brand.
Best Sugar-Free Soda
Virgil’s Zero Sugar Cola ($5.99 for 6 cans)
For this test, we aimed to include full sugar options. However, a couple of cola manufacturers that crossed our radar only made sugar-free options. .Virgil’s is one of those. There’s a slight, familiar “Diet Coke-like” taste to this one, but it doesn’t linger. If you’re looking for something that tastes almost like regular cola without the sugar, Virgil’s is a good option.
WATCH: Why McDonald's Coke Tastes Better
Not Our Favorites
Pepsi Cola ($1.79 for 2 Liters)
Pepsi tastes almost as obscenely sweet as Blue Sky does, but without the real sugar flavor and with an additional odd aftertaste that one usually associates with diet sodas. No disrespect to Pepsi fans, but it definitely didn’t beat Coke in our test.
Royal Crown Soda ($5.89 for 12 cans)
Our testers actually guessed that this was the Signature Kitchens brand. It’s never a compliment to be confused for a generic. Of course, RC is a regional favorite in some parts. Among our testers, however, it definitely neared the bottom of our rankings.
Zevia Zero Calorie Soda in Cola ($4.99 for 6 cans)
This soda is definitely cola. The taste is unmistakable, and not bad. But Zevia’s cola was also clear, a strange decision that made it stand out in the line up. We also wonder if it might have messed with our testers’ perceptions. Does it matter if caramel coloring is added to cola? Apparently, to some degree, it does. Zevia’s cola might have tasted like cola, but our testers still found it somewhat lacking without the dark cola look.
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