Whilst on a recent day-trip back to a former hometown of mine, I happened to stop in at a shop specializing in goods – mostly edible – from the British Isles. I wasn’t especially inclined to get anything until, in the cooler, I saw a brightly colored can of soda – a soda I’d never had before, and didn’t even know existed.
For $1.50 (though rather more than the native price of 49p; at present exchange rate that would be about 63¢), on a hot summer day as this was, the prospect was too tempting to resist. I bought a can and drank whiles sitting outside in the shade. The result is this review. From A.G. Barr plc, it’s the Great British Pop, Tizer!
(NOTE: I made notes while drinking the soda, and this review is constructed from them. Please excuse any faults with the review resulting from its genesis.)
Opening the can, I’m getting a mild citrus/melon scent.
First sip: it’s quite sweet. Fruity, but with a vegetal edge (I sound like I’m describing a wine).
I really can’t pin down just what the flavor of this is supposed to be. Wikipedia describes it as being “red-coloured”, so I might as well call it “red-flavoured.”
The can lists black carrot and safflower as flavorings. I can’t distinguish those from everything else that’s going on in my mouth just now, but it’s worth noting.
I should say, it’s not unpleasant, it’s just that I don’t know quite what I’m supposed to be tasting, which interferes with my enjoyment.
There’s a sort of oily/syrupy feel in the back of my throat that reminds me of Fresca. And now I have something like a point of reference to start analyzing it from.
Again, it’s very sweet. The can says it has just under 13 grams of sugar; assuming that a gram is a gram is a gram, that’s really quite low (Coca-Cola, in a 12 oz can – about the same size as this one – has 39 grams). So either there’s some conversion I’m not doing, or the formulation of Tizer has resulted in a very sweet drink that, somehow, is less horrifically bad for you than most mainstream American sodas.
I should say, the taste of Tizer is not unlike a soda “suicide”; for those who don’t know, that’s when you go to a soda fountain and put a little of each soda into your cup, the result being a combination of flavors that confound the taste buds, albeit sometimes deliciously.
That gives the elusive flavor of Tizer a certain familiarity. And that’s always a good thing.
Looking in the mouth of the can (it’s now mostly empty) I can see the color of the drink; it’s about the shade of cranberry juice.
A little bit of this, to be honest, goes a ways. I’m not the biggest fan of fruit sodas to begin with, and that combined with the sweetness makes this just a bit cloying after a while. But your mileage may vary.
I do like this can, though. Nice and colorful. Almost a 90s throwback. I don’t really collect cans and bottles the way I used to, but had I room I would definitely keep this.
I should add that Tizer has an interesting history. First produced in Manchester in 1924 (the name comes from “Tizer the Appetizer”), it’s undergone quite a few changes and variations over the years, which are detailed on its Wikipedia page. (I love that, for a time, it was sold under the super-90s name “T!zer.”)
It also, for some time, had a mascot know as “Ed the Head”, who looked kind of like a Gen-X reimagining of the Kool-Aid Man:
Weren’t the 90s great?
Anyhow, to sum up: if I had to describe Tizer in concrete terms, I’d say it’s kind of like a less-citric Fresca. If that sounds appealing, by all means go for it. For me, it was a decent enough drink, but again, a bit too sweet for my liking. (And I, for one, would simply describe it as “red.”)
A.G. Barr plc also produces Irn-Bru, which I’ve had, but apparently did not review. (I will review it properly at some point, though I recall not being especially fond of it.)